China and the DPRK: Day 7- Road Trippin’ in the DPRK.

We went on two long bus rides out into the countryside on the only night that we slept away from Pyongyang. I thought I may as well show the shots that I took out of the bus window as we were bumping our way there.

The season was coming into Spring. You would have noticed that in Pyongyang the blossoms were out on the street trees. Here, life seems a bit more utilitarian, with every flat piece of land being dug and ploughed for planting.

Matt was saying that in this area, corn was the staple food crop.

Looking up this side street you can see a group of workers/soldiers gathered. Wherever we went there were huge numbers of soldiers working on the roads. Seriously, they needed to. Sometimes even the main roads were in terrible disrepair. I felt sorry for the cyclists we’d pass, as our bus was lurching from pothole to pothole and nicking up all kinds of dust over them.

So many people working with spades. We saw tractors, but not very often. It appears that the DPRK relies on manpower to feed themselves.

I find his expression interesting.

This woman has the stylish Pyongyang skirt, but she’s teamed it with sensible stockings and shoes. Everyone was wearing parkas.

I love this shot. I showed it to Liz at work who exclaimed, “It looks like something out of WWII!” So many pushbikes, only one car and all of the men dressed in their drab clothes…

I wonder if this is a bit of free enterprise at work? They look as if they might be selling fruit from their bikes.

This is when we were pulling into Pyongsong, where we’d see the school and have lunch at a hotel.

This is a typical street scene from Pyongsong, the town about an hour away from Pyongyang, where we visited a primary school. Here, it’s clearly permissible for women to wear trousers, which you can well understand after you’ve passed through the countryside where many of them would come from. The propaganda posters are dotted around the streets here as well.

The woman in the background is cleaning the street outside her building. We saw this a lot in the cities – there was never any litter or rubbish floating around. It was all spotless.

This is the first portable sign that I noticed. I wonder how often they change the signs on this corner?

When you compare the photo above this one, I can’t remember a time when there’s been more wheeled traffic on the footpath than on the road…

This was taken outside the restaurant we went to for lunch. She was the shortest woman I think I’ve ever seen. The ‘puddle’ behind her was in the middle of the street.

She doesn’t look all that pleased about getting a dink.

Look at the open drain at the side of the kiosk.  You could do yourself an injury if you weren’t looking where you were walking!

Kids going home for lunch.

Our first view of the lake on the way into the mountains. We saw people panning for gold further along the river.

He’s got his shovel handy!

Coming straight after the Candy Festival as they did, these scenes from the bus window were fascinating. I couldn’t convey the lurches and bumps that the bus was going through as we went along certain patches of the road – sometimes I wondered if we’d lose a wheel. We passed by group after group of soldiers and other workers all shovelling things by the side of the road, either working in the fields or on the roadway itself. Hundreds of people, mostly men, doing manual labour as we slowly drove past them.

One magical thing I saw: a herd of goats with their goatherd sitting under a tree with them. Talk about a scene from human history! I wish I had’ve had my phone ready, but you can’t take pictures all the time.


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