Grace Tu

Grace Tu

Saturday, November 6, 2010

North Korea Adventure – Part III: The thousand pots of artificial flowers outside the thousand windows. 北韓旅遊之三: 萬扇窗前的萬盆假花

In North Korea people need permission to everywhere. This probably makes sense for a country whose land is covered by military bases. For foreigners like us, the restriction of course, is even more rigorous. One of the most important tasks for the tour guides in North Korea is to show the foreigners the best of their country. This means even in Pyongyang, the biggest and most prosperous city in North Korea, the twenty of us would have to be followed by six tour guides all the time, just in case we accidentally saw something that does not reflect the best of them.

I have to wonder if every single scene we were able to see was carefully designed. In Pyongyang, we saw pots and pots of blooming flowers on every patio we’ve seen. It was not beautiful; it was extremely bizarre.

When we finally had a chance to take a close-up picture, we confirmed our suspicion that all the flowers were fake.

Were people ordered to place fake flowers on their patios? Or, do they just feel so strongly about showing us how beautiful their city is and choose to place those flowers voluntarily?

I honestly don’t know and I can’t make any assumptions. Who’d know how I’d think or feel or act if I were one of them?

What kind of power or believe it takes to create this kind of peculiar scene? Where else in the world can you see thousand pots of artificial flowers outside the thousand windows?





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