Oct 16 2009

North Korea: Good morning, Pyongyang!

by in Asia, North Korea

When you’re on vacation in North Korea, you don’t get to sleep in. And really, how could you, when there are so many Kim Il-Sung monuments to pay homage to and ill-maintained roller coasters to ride? Thus, your morning in North Korea typically begins with a wake-up call at 7am (and 7:05am, in case the lazy U.S. Imperialists just pick up the phone and then go back to sleep), breakfast at 7:30am, and on the bus by 8am.

Our first morning in North Korea I actually woke up a little early (shocking, I know), downed a canned “coffee milk”, and opened the window to let some fresh air in. I was still pretty amazed that you could open the windows, considering I was on the 33rd floor of the hotel. Even more amazing, however, was that the city was completely silent. There were no honking car horns, sirens, or any of the other sounds you would find in a city of 3.2 million people. Just silence…until 7am, when the sound of air raid sirens began to echo throughout the city. Great. My first morning in North Korea and we are apparently under attack. My parents are never going to let me hear the end of this.

But Pyongyang wasn’t under attack, of course. The air raid sirens there basically serve as a city-wide alarm clock to wake up the residents and let them know it’s time to get to work and school. I suppose it’s cheaper than issuing every household an alarm clock. They wouldn’t have the electricity to run them anyways.

The wailing of the air raid sirens was then followed by snappy revolutionary music and several announcements. Since I don’t speak Korean I hadn’t the slightest idea what they were saying, but I imagine it was something extolling the accomplishments of the Dear Leader and criticizing U.S. Imperialists. Just a guess.

Here are a few photos I took of Pyongyang covered in a thick, early morning mist.

Taedong River

Juche Tower

The incomplete Ryugyong Hotel

Schoolchildren practicing with flags

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3 Responses to North Korea: Good morning, Pyongyang!

  1. From amy:

    Wow. I stumbled upon your website and I have to say I am fascinated by North Korea. It’s amazing to look at these photos and imagine what it must be like there. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted on January 31, 2013 at 7:30 am #


  1. North Korea: Pyongyang at night | At Home In The Wasteland - October 28, 2009

    […] Several weeks ago I posted some daytime shots of the Pyongyang skyline. This is a similar view of Pyongyang, but at 1am in the morning. […]

  2. North Korea: Air raid sirens in Pyongyang | At Home In The Wasteland - November 8, 2009

    […] A few weeks ago I posted some photos of Pyongyang in the morning. Here are two videos of Pyongyang in the morning. In the first you can hear the air ride sirens echoing throughout the city followed by several announcements. In the second you will see North Koreans heading off to work as well as schoolchildren (maybe?) waving around some flags while music plays over the loudspeakers. […]

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