Pyongyang: "The Alcatraz Of Fun"Earlier this week, Gawker explained how to infiltrate the magical fairy tale world of North Korea. (Hint: It's inside the wardrobe.) It turns out that this post was so service-y that an impressionable young college student immediately went out and did it! (Why else would he go there?) He even filed his report already for the Washington Post and guess what? North Korea is ... awesome!Yale senior Jerry Guo actually rode into town on the backs of some Chinese tourists and they all had a blast. Instead of goose stepping soldiers, they find a casino! Black market shopping! A statue of Kim Il Sung that everyone—including non-citizens—have to genuflect to! Their hotel is on an island known as the "Alcatraz of Fun." What's not to love? Sure, no one has seen the Dear Leader in weeks or has any idea if he's even awake. And yes, Jerry did get detained by the secret police for six hours and was also placed under surveillance simply for taking a picture, but you seriously have to see this place!
"We think it's all gulag and famine. The truth is that the DPRK I toured this summer is, in many ways, no different from countless other struggling fourth-world nations, with its share of haves and have-nots'''
Several parargaphs later, however, Jerry does have to make one small concession to the naysayers:
Of course, that good life is in limited supply. The U.N. World Food Program warned this month that the DPRK may be on the brink of a famine of a magnitude not seen since the mid-1990s (that one killed more than 1 million peasants).
See? Outside of the crippling, record-breaking famine, there's hardly any famine at all! My Excellent North Korean Adventure [WP]