The excessive increase in air prices for Mexico made me postpone that trip to the following year.
I then chose to ideally continue the journey of the previous year in the Trans-Siberian Trainreturning to China.
Experience has taught me that moving to more countries makes the travel period seem longer than it actually is. So I had to choose where to go.
There is a state that is always talked about badly and almost exclusively by hearsay.
The news that arrives is often invented because very few people really went there.
A traveler must see the world with his eyes.
Here, more than anywhere else, every preconceived image must be left at home.
The information speaks of less than 100 foreigners who come here, of which most are Russian or Chinese citizens.
This affected so much about my choice. I wanted to be one of the very few.
The journey was decided.
But was it feasible?
HOW TO GO
Despite what you might think, a trip to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea or DPKR, is among the easiest to organize. Just because there is nothing to organize.
It took only 3 days of e-mail with the authorized agency and some documents signed to have a visa (to be applied later to the embassy), airline tickets from Beijing, hotels, travel, access to the main places and all restaurants included.
Here, as in any other place, a traveler must respect the laws and traditions of the place. Among other things, the behaviors to respect are well explained in the sheets that you have to sign, accepting them. Criticizing them later is disrespectful and unfair.
PREJUDICES, PARAOCKS AND MADDY DISPUTES
Perhaps no state in the world is so little known personally but inversely criticized.
This shows that almost all the stories are the result of inventions, prejudices and slander dictated by ignorance and lobotized thought.
It was almost fun to think of anything heard about it and then see that reality was almost always the opposite.
THE FIRST CONTACT
The check-in for the Air Korio flight to Pyongyang is at an almost isolated gate of the Beijing airport.
People in a row are probably among the most curious in the world.
We look at each other, smiling, as if each of us felt part of a particular travel, different from all the others.
The interior of the Ilyushin Il-62 plane immediately brought the Soviets back to the 1960s but the crew and the menu served was certainly in line with the other airlines.
After about 2 hours of flight, I land in Pyongyang. I’m in North Korea.
Luggage in the hold is cleaned before being gently placed on the belt.
The various groups, based on the chosen agency and the language, are already trained and so all that remains is to reach their own guide.
The mobile phone must be left to the airport security that will seal it in an envelope releasing the corresponding number, to collect it at the time of departure. For some it could be a nightmare, for others, like me, a relief.
After the baggage check, I get into the 15-seat van that will take us long and wide these days.
Mr. Kim and Miss Ha will be our “personal” guides. They speak perfect English and immediately explain to us that they are our leaders and anything will have to be agreed with them.
The thing that leaves immediately surprised is the continuous reference to Korea, not North Korea. I ask why and the answer is even more surprising “for us Korea is one, we have nothing against our Southern brothers, we speak the same language and we have the same blood. The problem is the United States”.
I never thought I’d hear these words.