Google’s Eric Schmidt arrives in North Korea. This is the “internet” he’ll find there….
What he will actually find is a North Korean nation-wide intranet
Computer room at the Nampo Chollima Steelworks.
Writer Neil Strauss is shown how the North Korean closed intranet works at the Grand People’s Study House.
Pizza in Pyongyang, North Korea – the story is old but the pictures are new and original.
Pizza in Pyongyang, North Korea – photo by Joseph A Ferris III
For millions of undernourished North Koreans, the notion of eating at a restaurant belongs strictly to the world of fantasy. And so there is only the grimmest humour in the news that, for the country’s ruling elite, Pyongyang’s dining options just got a little more impressive: the country now has its first-ever pizzeria.
An obsession with pizza stretching back at least 10 years prompted the isolated nation’s dictator, Kim Jong-il, to authorize North Korea’s first Italian restaurant, which opened in December, according to a pro-Pyongyang newspaper published in Japan. “General Kim Jong-il said that the people should also be allowed access to the world’s famous dishes,” the restaurant’s manager, Kim Sang-Soon, was quoted as saying in Choson Sinbo, a Tokyo-based newspaper seen as a mouthpiece for the regime.
Those dining at the restaurant are reportedly treated to pizza and pasta made with wheat flour, butter and cheese flown in from Italy. They are also presumably reaping the benefits of a years-long effort by Kim Jong-il to bring the perfect pizza to his famine-plagued totalitarian state.
In the late 1990s, he summoned a team of Italian pizza chefs to Pyongyang to instruct army officers. One of the chefs, Ermanno Furlanis, later recounted how the Italians underwent x-rays, brain scans and urine and blood sampling on arrival, before being sequestered in a marble palace. One of the officers Furlanis was training asked him to specify the precise distance at which olives should be spaced on a pizza, he recalled.
Neil Strauss with his authentic Italian pizza in Pyongyang, North Korea.
In Aug. 2011 Jordan Harbinger, Neil Strauss, Gabriel Mizrahi, and Joseph A Ferris III (me), recorded the first podcast ever from inside North Korea- check it out here! Then hear our reflections upon returning to the States – except for myself, I returned to Taiwan.
Arirang Mass Games, Pyongyang, DPRK, North Korea.
Think you are going to get the girl on your trip to North Korea? Well think again!
Cute times with the singing waitresses of Pyongyang.
Hey man, cool site and sounds like a never forgettable experience. One thing I gotta ask though. Is it possible to hook up with any chicks while you are there? I know you said you had a girl in Taiwan, but is it possible for a single dude to do something like that?
You never see any photos of North Koreans out having fun, or partying and wondered if something like that is acceptable. Then would it be acceptable if the guy was American. Know what I mean?
So I’m going to be totally honest here -
Many of the North Korean girls we came in contact with, such as waitresses and guides, were actually very flirtations – in an innocent way, and the girls are very cute – in a natural way…..but don’t get your hope up – there is NO chance of anything happening!
North Korea is the most racist country in the world – their pride in their racial purity is the secret to how the regime survives in the face of their poverty – when the going gets tough the leaders just resort to whipping up nationalistic outrage by showing footage of their ethnic brothers and sisters to the south fraternizing with the US occupation troops.
I went to North Korea with the world’s most famous pick up artist, Neil Strauss. Thing is Neil was on a vacation and not there as a journalist or a PUA, but he did bring along some of his “students” to help fill out our group so we could have an independent tour. The trip to North Korea was suppose to have nothing to do with “pickup” (even though my buddy Jordan is another big industry name) – so I found myself frustrated and even angry when some of the guys were focused on trying to get a North Korean girl – because it would be an epic accomplishment and to impress Neil- or they just didn’t know better.
Just go and enjoy the 1950′s style flirting, but don’t make a fool of yourself by asking the guides if “we can have a party at their house” or to “give me a little kiss” – that kind of shit just is NOT going to happen and makes the rest of us who are trying to be good westerners look bad.
That said, you might get lucky with a Chinese girl at the Casino or the massage parlor at the big hotel in Pyongyang, and you do have to fly out of Beijing – lots of fun to be had there – just check out Maggies bar!
I will invite my buddy Jordan to comment on the the topic here also.
Although the women are super cute in North Korea, I think we can pretty much forget about hooking up with locals. For one, contact with them is ULTRA-limited, and the only North Korean women you really interact with are the tour guides. We also met waitresses here and there, but the truth is, as Joe says below, North Korea is nearly fascist in nature. Does that mean they aren’t fascinated by Westerners? No. Does it mean they’d ever take the risk of making anything happen? Also no.
I spoke with a LOT of the tour company people (both the locals and English) very frankly about this and everyone was pretty clear that such a thing just isn’t worth the potential trouble. Even when guides were drinking with us at the hotel and the women were flirty, there were other people there to keep them in-check. Last but not least, even if all parties wanted something to happen, the logistics are impossible -no Koreans are allowed on the same hotel floors as tourists, and no tourists are allowed on the Korean hotel floors.
You get the idea…
More pics from my cute times dancing with the singing waitresses of Pyongyang
North Korea Shooting Range – Guns, Girls, and Beer – Photo by Joseph A Ferris III
In an online article at Mademan.com, Jordan Harbinger answers why North Korea is better than Vegas. Backing up this claim, Jordan points out such North Korean show stoppers as the Arirang Mass Games, massive propaganda statues, gasoline clam bakes, and my personal favorite, guns, girls, and beer at the Pyongyang shooting range.
Sure, the Gun Store in Vegas may have MP5s ready to rip up some paper targets downrange, but the shooting ranges in Pyongyang put that all to shame with cold beer and hot women in uniform reloading your weapon for you, then yelling at you in Korean to put down your beer while you fire for greater accuracy and safety or something.
Jordan Harbinger at the Pyongyang gun range.
When our North Korean guide asked us if we wanted to arrange a trip to the shooting range we said “Hell Yeah!” The shooting range turned out to be a type of North Korean men’s club, with young ladies in military style uniforms handling the guns, conducting the safety checks, and pouring the beers. This little side trip was not in the tour itinerary and there were some long faces from the other tourists at the hotel that night when we told our stories about this outing.
Neil Strauss at the Pyongyang, North Korea gun range.
Gabriel Mizrahi at the Pyongyang gun range.
Yesterday’s most viewed North Korea pic from my Flickr account – best selling author Neil Strauss, radio personality Jordan Harbinger, and the rest of our group chuckle over a model of a North Korean train depot at the Pyongyang Railway Museum – North Koreans really love their models and dioramas!
I don’t really take too many digital film clips, digital pictures is much more my thing, but I captured this little gem of a moment at the Pyongyang Railway Museum. In the clip below North Korean guide Ms. Yu, best selling author Neil Strauss, and radio and podcast personality Jordan Harbinger talk about “little Kim Jong-il”.
- Experts Suggest the CIA, Not Kim Jong-il, is Counterfeiting Dollars (tipggita32.wordpress.com)
An interesting picture of an Mt. Myohyang-san, North Korea, The North Korean waitresses quickly ensured there would be no other nosy sneaking unauthorized pictures by slamming the door on me.study sign I took while peeking into the kitchen of the tourist hotel at
Study signs are not the only resource for learning English available to Grand People’s Study House in Pyongyang, while in the smaller cities and towns the schoolchildren do the best they can with the English study books and the non native English speaking teachers available., the privileged few have approved western films and music available at the
But what better way to learn English than from a native speaker? Below our lovely North Korean guide Ms. Yu learns somefrom Jordan Harbinger.
Check out all my North Korea pics at my Flickr Photostream
Pictures from the Grand People’s Study House in Pyongyang:
Authorized western music is available to privileged Pyongyang residents at the Grand People’s Study House. Our guide proudly played us a CD recording of You picked a Fine Time to Leave me Lucille by Kenny Rogers.