Here is the North Korean Tourism DVD clip of us wandering around Kim Il-Sung Square in Pyongyang and taking lots of photos.
Good news for any Americans looking to visit North Korea this year – the North Koreans have lifted restrictions on U.S. tourists. Like visitors from other Western countries, American tourists can now visit North Korea any time of the year, are no longer limited to visits of five days, and can take the train back to China for the return trip rather than fly Air Koryo. If you are interested in traveling there, get in contact with the guys over at Koryo Tours.
Great essay by Jonah Lehrer on the benefits of traveling and living abroad:
According to the researchers, the experience of another culture endows us with a valuable open-mindedness, making it easier to realize that a single thing can have multiple meanings. Consider the act of leaving food on the plate: in China, this is often seen as a compliment, a signal that the host has provided enough to eat. But in America the same act is a subtle insult, an indication that the food wasn’t good enough to finish.
Such cultural contrasts mean that seasoned travelers are alive to ambiguity, more willing to realize that there are different (and equally valid) ways of interpreting the world. This, in turn, allows them to expand the circumference of their “cognitive inputs,” as they refuse to settle for their first answers and initial guesses.
Prior to heading to North Korea, I spent a few days in Beijing. Here are photos from my visits to Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall (Juyongguan section), and the China North International Shooting Range. Separate posts for each of those once I finish writing about North Korea in five years or so.