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The North Koreans have pitched their humble country as a holiday destination for the Russian dollar. They’re promising the outdoors, party propaganda and subjugation of the working class. Could work.
Pyongyang. The Graceland of Olive Drab conformity, waterboarding, and state sponsored television. If you’re a self-aware Russian with a longing for the golden days of the cult of personality, then North Korea wants your roubles…or whatever it is they use for currency these days. Bronzed Putcoins?
Nevertheless, the uninformed lads of the North Korean Ministry of Travel and Leisure (citation needed) have knocked together a rather Soviet sounding package for the discerning party official, inclusive of mountain climbing, farm visiting and most importantly, not talking to the proletariat. Seriously. The website that advertised the 15-day trek, claims that long conversations with the locals are ‘not recommended’.
However, there is a slight pickle that exists, one that my fingers fail to retrieve it out of the jar. If we dance to the tune of a theoretical balalaika, and I’m the only son of an ex-KGB agent turned resources billionaire, looking to rebel against my parents and waste their money, a gap year in North Korea seems like a good idea. But if we consider the other options involved, it’d be like holidaying in Canberra. I mean you can, but why would you. Yes, there’s a mountain (sort of) and a lake (which is man-made) and there are gaudy monuments to a broken system of government, but…try harder, Yuri. I mean, if you really want to do things properly, get a job reloading Kalashnikovs in a Chechen backpacker bar, or take off to Tajikistan to write an 800-page book where a sad man looks out a frost covered window longing for the radish crop that was taken from him, publish it to acclaim, then disperse the proceeds of the book to the state.
Stepping slightly back into reality, I’m not entirely sure your average, modern-day Russian will go for it, as the current holidaying fad is the search for the exact opposite. I discovered this fact courtesy of the bulbous swaying fella I became holiday pals with Nha Trang. He was from Omsk, who sat drinking with me wearing a lovely melanoma/budgie smuggler two-piece past dinner time, who told me all about the tropical places he loves to visit, completely unaware that his testicle was visible for the entirety of our conversation.
Call me a rank traditionalist, but I’d prefer my communist throwback holidays to be a tropical fare. A couple of Banana Daiquiris and an overthrow of Fulgencio, por favor.