18-08-13 © 2013 . All rights reserved.

18 Aug ’13

The last evening on our North Korea trip, it seems like the whole group is going wild. In the grilled duck restaurant along one of Pyongyang boulevards, bottles of beer and shochu are opened and drunk in a North-Korean rhythm: fast and furious. Some of us head to the Diplomats Club, where, despite the name, we only spot a lot of tourists wanting to sing karaoke and drink. Easy when it’s one euro for a large bottle of beer and western songs on the playbook of the karaoke machine. We are talking about “Born in the USA” and that kind of songs. Let’s say that for some of our team mates the last evening in North Korea was memorable. At least for the part they remember.

Some hours later, around six in the morning, the security check at the Pyongyang Airport goes smoother than in most western countries. Even a bottle of water gets easily through the check. Good ridden they probably think. Sayonara, see you next time. It’s kind of in a haze that we sit in a fairly new airplane of Koryo Air with final destination Beijing. Most people sleep, some half in a coma, other talk about what they saw and experienced. “What did you think of it?” “Would you come back?” “Was it what you expected?”

I saw a country that is changing. Not rapidly but steadily. There are more cars in the streets, more new buildings are popping up, girls are wearing high heels and westerns clothes, tourists can bring their cell phones inside the country and buy local SIM-cards, guides have internet and are instagramming live,…. This doesn’t mean that the regime and political situation is changing, but at least some change means progress. Hopefully this progress will also benefit the North Koreans in a positive way. The DPRK is a fantastic country but without closed borders it probably would make the world a better place.

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