Posts tagged “pics

Chernobyl – Young Pioneer Tours’ Eurasian Adventure

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Group picture at reactor #4, scene of the Chernobyl explosion and meltdown.

Today we toured nuclear reactors and the abandoned ghost town of Pripyat on Young Pioneer Tours’ Eurasian Adventure.

I’m quite behind on my blogging of the trip. Having assumed a team leader position on our Phillipines disaster relief effort, and co-leading this tour leaves me little spare time. After the Trans Siberian Express we spent one night in Moscow before spliting our group, myself leading 3 guys on an increadable visit to Belarus and rejoining the main group in Kiev.

Chernobyl was an amazing experience. We had a lot of luck with getting a local guide who was willing to streatch the rules and lead us into places not approved for general visits, such as one of the cooling towers and a countryside kindergarden.

I’m in a rush, have to take the group out tonight; will let the pics from today tell the story:

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Pripyat middle school.

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Abandoned cooling tower construction.

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Abandoned cooling tower construction.

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Abandoned cooling tower construction.

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Reactor #4, scene of the Chernobyl explosion and meltdown.

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Ghost town of Pripyat.

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Ghost town of Pripyat.

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Ghost town of Pripyat.

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Ghost town of Pripyat.

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Ghost town of Pripyat.

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Ghost town of Pripyat.

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Ghost town of Pripyat.

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Ghost town of Pripyat.

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Where In The World?

Where in the world is this? DPRK of course, but I find it striking that the below pics from the Rason seaside park could be of healthy and happy children at play in any random park in the first world – more visual testimony of how quickly North Korea is modernizing for the better.

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Photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Pyongyang Traffic Girls – Free Photo Book

Traffic

I made a PDF photo book about the Pyongyang traffic girls.

Right click and save to download for free – looks great when viewed on an iPad!


Feedback Time!

What has this blog taught you about North Korea?

Insights?  Shattered misconceptions?  Please leave a comment – thanks!

Pyongyang Children

Children at the Pyongyang Zoo – photo by Joseph A Ferris III

 

 


The Non Propaganda Kindergarten Environment

From past posts readers might be under the impression that North Korean kindergartens are overwhelmingly filled with political and military statues and art.  But there is a sweeter, more innocent side to DPRK kindergartens, aspects of which I would like to highlight in this photo post:

Chongjin Kindergarten North Korea

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Photos from Chongjin and Rason Kindergartens .


Hello Kitty In Rason, North Korea

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Young girl with a Hello Kitty sweatshirt in Rason, North Korea – photo by Joseph A Ferris III

Not the first time I have spotted Hello Kitty in North Korea.

 


Chongjin Kindergarten Performance

With all the colors and adorable costumes, the Chongjin City kindergarten performance is my favorite student’s show in North Korea.  Below are photos from my April 2013 Chongjin kindergarten visit:

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Military Fashion

If Looks Could Kill

Female soldier wearing high heels – photo by Joseph A Ferris III


Rason Special Economic Zone Textile Factory

Closed during the height of the spring 2013 tensions, the Kaesong Industrial Complex will probably never be a tourist attraction, even if reopened.  But if light industry is your thing, it is still possible to gain access and check out the behind the scenes action at various factories in the Rason Special Economic Zone.

Despite sanctions, one of the busiest factories I visited in Rason was the textile and garment plant.  During our visit my group was led to the 2nd floor production halls where we watched Chinese supervisors make rounds to oversee the quality of work of the local North Korean staff.

There were no children working at the plant, the work space was clean and well ventilated, and in the parking lot we witnessed the distribution of the worker’s monthly rations.  But for those who must have controversy and scandal when it comes to North Korean issues, I can report that the tags on the jackets being produced there claimed “Made in China”.

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Rason Garment Factory North Korea

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Rason Garment Factory North Korea

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Rason Garment Factory North Korea

Rason Garment Factory North Korea

Rason Garment Factory North Korea

Rason Garment Factory North Korea

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Rason Garment Factory North Korea

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Little North Korean Soldiers

North Koreans love to dress their children in mock military uniforms – below are pictures of boys in uniform proudly posing for my camera at the Pyongyang Rungna Dolphinarium fun fair.

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Back from the Extreme Northeast of North Korea

Chongjin, North Korea

Girls on roller skates in Chongjin City, North Korea. Get a sneak peak of my most recent trip via my latest uploads to Instagram.

I’m safely back in China after an amazing week in the rarely visited Northeast region of the DPRK. Of all my trips to North Korea this has been my favorite. Our locally based guides of the Chilbo San Tourism Company were full of enthusiasm and provided us access to sites and experiences which are inaccessible if coming up to the region with the Pyongyang based KITC company.

We were the first western tour group to cross the Tumen/Namyang border on a route to Chongjin only traveled by NGOs and Chinese tourists in the past. Our ride to Chongjin took us on secondary mountain roads never traveled by any westerners before when we found our route blocked by an overturned truck and were forced to make a 7 hour detour – this was not a typical DPRK tour.

During the course of the trip we hiked a mountain peak in a snowstorm, taught kids American football in a small random village (we were forced to stop due to a washed out road), played with locals in volleyball matches, visited a middle school never visited by any tourist before and taught English in the foreign language class, and had a ride on a fishing boat in the Eastern Sea of Korea – I even won a North Korean traditional wrestling tournament at the Mt. Chilbo Home Stay.

I’m going to be resting up for a few days in Yanji and Beijing before I turn around and head back into DPRK to lead a tour to the Rason Special Economic Zone.


Rollerblading Their Way to War

While the American media beats the war drums, and our citizens panic under a perceived nuclear missile threat, the citizens of Pyongyang, North Korea go on with their lives.

Rollerblading in Pyongyang, North Korea

Girls rollerblading on the banks of the Taedong River.

North Korean Boys in Pyongyang

Boys rollerblading near the Arch of Triumph.

Photos from my March 30th – April 6th 2013 trip to North Korea.


New Instagram Pics

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang traffic girl via Instagram.

For a quick look at my latest pics check out my Instagram feed.

Update: I’m here with CNN going on video in a few minutes.


American in North Korea on Instagram

I started playing with my photos on Instagram – you can follow me @josephferrisiii

Below are some of my favorite pics:

Spy Ship Pueblo North Korea Via Instagram

US spy ship Pueblo guide.

Pyongyang, North Korea Via Instagram

View of Pyongyang and Juche Tower.

Rural North Korea Via Instagram

Walking home in rural North Korea.

Pyongyang, North Korea Via Instagram

Kim Il-sung Square Pyongyang.

North Korean Mass Dancing Via Instagram

Mass dance held in Pyongyang.

Pyongyang Metro Via Instagram

Pyongyang subway signal girl.

Wonson Smile North Korea Via Instagram

Smile and peace sign in Wonsan, North Korea.


Mangyongdae Children’s Palace

The Mangyongdae Children’s Palace; a place for children of the privileged elite to spend time after school practicing sports, art, folk dance and music – and of course, show it all off with military like precision and forced smiles to groups of visiting foreign friends and tourists.

Mangyongdae Children's Palace

Young Pioneers sing a martial song during a special Kim Il-sung’s 100th birthday celebratory performance at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace. More pictures from this set linked below.

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Kids Being Kids!

Children at play and out enjoying a sunny spring Pyongyang morning at the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum.

Pyongyang Children

Pyongyang, North Korea Rollerblading

Pyongyang Roller Blading

Pyongyang Roller Blading

Pyongyang Roller Blading

Pyongyang Roller Blading

Pyongyang Roller Blading

Pyongyang Rollerblading

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Pyongyang Smiles

During preparations for my first trip to the DPRK I watched all of the online documentaries I could find, from dreary hit pieces on the DPRK Government to over sensationalized video travel guides, and common to them all was the depiction of a sad, colorless, and lifeless North Korea.  But by coming to the DPRK myself I experienced something different; I found Pyongyang to be a clean, bright, colorful, and orderly city, with a people that smile, laugh, and despite the language barrier, interact with foreigners with a shy curiosity.

Sharing my pictures of the DPRK and its people is what this blog is all about. I’m trying to present a different perspective compared to the impressions put out there by the main stream media.  I don’t deny that there are human rights violations, but there’s already plenty of material out there to explore on those issues. Instead I wish to pass on what I observed during my travels in the DPRK: that despite the hardships and pressures the North Korean people endure (whatever they may be), they remain a very human people, and just like us they love life and share the simple hopes and dreams common to all humanity.

The people of Pyongyang smile – below are pictures taken during the festivities and celebrations for 100th birthday of ‘Eternal President’ Kim Il-sung - all photos by Joseph A Ferris III

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

During the week of celebrations for the 100th birthday of ‘Eternal President’ Kim Il-sung, mass parades and celebratory gatherings were quite common.  These events were not normally open to foreigners, but often we got caught stuck in traffic jams as tens of thousands of people clogged the roads on their way home.  During these times our guides were gracious enough to let us interact with the people, here young boys wave and smile on their walk home.

Pyongyang Street Scene

Young girls laugh and smile while walking home from school.

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

Boys from a brigade of Young Pioneers enjoy an ice cream snack at a local park.

Pyongyang Roller Blading

Young girls smile while taking a break from an afternoon of rollerblading.

USS Pueblo Guide

Sharing a laugh with our guide on the USS Pueblo.

Pyongyang Subway

A cheerful Pyongyang Metro ticket attendant.

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

A festive spirit pervades the crowds at a mass gathering in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung square.

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

A festive spirit pervades the crowds at a mass gathering in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung square.


North Korean Children’s Nearly Unbelievable Performances

I am here to apologize for my lack attention to this blog as of late.  I have been super busy with my duties as Chief Mate during short oceanographic research expeditions, hectic in port ship maintenance periods, and now working a crazy cruise on a full ship with over 50 scientists and crew – with that many people aboard available satellite internet bandwidth is in low supply making even the most general web surfing an agonizing chore.

I have also been busy planning a fall trip to Iran, Armenia, and Lebanon, along with two and a half weeks in Tuscany, Sicily, and Malta with my family.

Since I have been too busy to get any serious writing done (relatively recent picture posts don’t count), please let me at least pass along a DPRK post by my friend Joshua Spodek:  North Korean Children’s Nearly Unbelievable Performances – insights on children’s performances at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace.

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

A young lady dances at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace – this photo got me an honorable mention by the moderator of the Lonely Planet Flickr Photo Challenge.


Working for a Bountiful Harvest in the North Korean Countryside

Rare photos of farmers in the North Korean countryside (between Hamhung and Wonsan) preparing fields and working for the upcoming planting season.

Pyongyang - Wonsan Countyside North Korea

Pyongyang - Wonsan Countyside North Korea

Pyongyang - Wonsan Countyside North Korea

Wonsan - Hamhung Countryside North Korea

Wonsan - Hamhung Countryside North Korea

Wonsan - Hamhung Countryside North Korea

Wonsan - Hamhung Countryside North Korea

Wonsan - Hamhung Countryside North Korea

Pyongyang - Wonsan Countyside North Korea

Pyongyang - Wonsan Countyside North Korea

Pyongyang - Wonsan Countyside North Korea

Wonsan - Pyongyang Countryside

Wonsan - Pyongyang Countryside

Please note that tourists are not generally permitted to take photos such as these due to the government’s fear that they could be used to portray the country in a negative manner. Our guides gracilcly permitted me to take photos of the “beautiful countryside”, which I post here with total respect and in appreciation for the DPRK rural way of life.

All photos by Joseph A Ferris III


North Korean Cell Phone Revolution

Cell phones may have arrived in North Korea, but apparently public service announcements teaching the dangers of texting and driving haven’t.

Hamhung City Square, DPRK, North Korea

Hamhung, North Korea - photo by Joseph A Ferris III


On the Road in North Korea – Departing Nampo

Nampo Countryside North Korea


Pyongyang Pop Gun – 2012

Back in the old days, North Korean citizens could vent their hate, frustrations, and propaganda whipped national fervor, by heading down to the local fun fair and testing their aim with a pop gun against posters and painting of the US boogieman soldiers and servicemen.  These days the anti US propaganda posters and paintings have all been taken down (at least where foreign tourists venture), but North Korean locals still enjoy going out to practice their aim at their local fun fair.

Pyongyang Street Games

Pyongyang, North Korea Games

Pyongyang Street Games

Pyongyang Street Games

2011 visit to the Pyongyang pop gun stand.


Pyongyang Traffic Girl Of The Month

I recently discovered that two of my pictures have the honor of being selected as the Pyongyang Traffic Girl Of The Month for May and June 2012 over at PyongyangTrafficGirls.com – it’s a fun little site that honors some of my favorite girls, check it out while my picture for June is still profiled up on their main page!

On the Streets of Pyongyang, DPRK

June 2012 Traffic Girl of the Month.

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

May 2012 Traffic Girl of the Month – photos by Joseph A Ferris III

And while messing around at PyongyangTrafficGirls.com I came across this absolutely precious kindergarten musical traffic safety skit.


Love North Korean Children – Humanitarian Charity Appeal

Dongbong Co-Operative Farm, Hamhung, North Korea

Dongbong Co-Operative Farm, Hamhung, North Korea- photo by Joseph A Ferris III

For those who have enjoyed this blog and are curious about how to make a donation that will directly benefit those in need in the DPRK please let me introduce the Love North Korean Children project.  

Run by Manna Mission of Europe, a U.K. registered charity organization, the main purpose of the Love North Korean Children project is to help impoverished children, often orphans, in the Najin-Sonbong area and other places (in Pyongyang and far away from the capital).  We are running bakeries for the supply of staple food.  That means to provide self-help, because we do not deliver bread to North Korea!  We deliver flour and employ staff in the country.  Therefore a strict monitoring is guaranteed.

  • Each bakery has a capacity of feeding 4,000-10,000 children and the staff.
  • We currently have 26 possible locations for bakeries and orphanages; the construction and opening of such facilities depends on the funds we receive in the future.
  • We reached an agreement with the North Korean government to get the estate for bakeries free of charge.  So all the money goes directly towards providing humanitarian assistance.  The flour is delivered from neighboring China to save transportation costs.

Photos from the 2010 bakery inspection tour.

This project is facilitated with the help of Koryo Tours, they give the following details about the project:

To date, the charity has built 4 bakeries. The first 3 (located just outside Pyongyang, Hyangsan and Rason) are fully running and provide 5000-6000 children with one steamed bread bun per day. The newest bakery in Sariwon is fully set up and aims to feed 5000 children every day but is currently unable to start production due to a lack of funds. Money is needed to purchase the flour to make the bread (this is bought in China) and also to buy the coal to stoke the fires. Please note that no money is actually taken into the country.

We would like to raise funds to support this bakery in Sariwon. We know that every single donation goes in full directly towards the project. The running costs for the bakery are approximately EUR 7000 per month and this provides 5000 children in the area with one steamed bun per day – this might seem a little amount to you but to them it makes a huge difference. It therefore costs as little as EUR 1.50 to feed one child for one month - and under EUR 20 to feed one child for one whole year.

Donations can be made directly to the Love North Korean Children project at their PayPal page, or via Koryo Tours at PayPal links on their charity info page.

Remember – as little as EUR 1.50 will feed one child for one month - and under EUR 20 will feed one child for one whole year!