Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The bad factor of North Korea

It's a while ago that I mused about Lonely Planet going too commercial, but no matter what direction they take, I'll always have tonnes of respect for founders Maureen and Tony Wheeler. The male half of LP has just published his Badlands book about his travels in countries that rated highly on his "Evil Meter". I just love the idea of this seemingly ordinary man (he looks like he could be my father) traipsing through nations that Bush listed on his Axis of Evil, plus a few more with bad human rights records or other threats.

And since I've been thinking about North Korea recently, it was interesting for me to read Tony Wheeler's comments about this "badland":
They've blown up aircraft, they counterfeit money, killed their own people by starving them to death ... what can you say? It's not a nice place. On the other hand it's probably the most fascinating place I've ever been to ... the best example I've seen of not believing what you've seen.
While I lived in Japan, I seriously contemplated taking one of those tours of North Korea (since you can't go any other way): but for the cost and the lack of "real" experiences, I ended up judging it not worth it. But I'm still insanely curious.

1 comment:

  1. I was surprised today to read an article on Reuters - http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSSEO2320620070711 - that explained North Korea's security agency has just order the shutdown of karaoke bars and internet cafes. It doesn't surprise me that they're closing them down - but I'm surprised to hear that North Korea ever had any internet cafes. Apparently they're mostly on the border with China and are used by merchants doing business, rather than ordinary North Koreans reading stuff that we consider normal, but still ...

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