Last week I wrote about my return to the Pyongyang gun range and how I shot my own breakfast, today I am presenting a simple photo post showing the remaining pictures from that visit – the ones that don’t involve me killing something! You can find my post about my original 2011 visit to the gun range here.
Lovely Pyongyang gun range attendants.
I bought our North Korean guide Ms. Han a round of shots, she wasn’t the best marksman but I was thrilled that she at least gave it a try.
The Pyongyang gun range bar – my favorite bar is the world!
One of the best things about returning to North Korea was meeting up with the friends I made on my first visit. Below I get a hug from one of the singing waitresses that I danced with during the 2011 Ultimate Frisbee Tournament. I suppose I made a great impression during my first visit – that is one hell of a close hug, and I even got a kiss on the cheek when we made our goodbyes!
But of course I’m in trouble now, whenever my girlfriend is upset with me she points out these pictures and reminds me that “I know who your secret North Korean girlfriend is” and that “I know the real reason why you like going to North Korea” !
Well, I actually don’t know this girl’s name, but she is a real sweetheart, and if you ever pass through Pyongyang with a stop at the lamb BBQ restaurant on your itinerary, make sure to say hi to her for me – and be ready to dance!
Photo with my girl from 2011 Pyongyang Ultimate Frisbee Tournament.
Live entertainment at a North Korean state run restaurant in Dandong, China.
Traveling to Asia but don’t have enough time to visit North Korea? It’s possible to get a taste, literally, of North Korean culture at one of the many state run North Korean restaurants located in the East and Southeast Asian region. At the Pyongyang restaurant chain you can get amazing North Korean cuisine along with music and dance shows performed by actual North Korean waitresses.
These restaurants are reportedly run by the infamous Room 39, the North Korean bureau that is tasked with acquiring and laundering foreign hard currency and the distribution of foreign luxury goods to high party officials.
The Pyongyang restaurant is the perfect place to hang out at if you are looking to rub shoulders with North Korean spies and secret agents. All the waitresses are required to live on premises and are closely watched by state security agents – reportedly several branches in China were shut down after escape attempts. Clientele at branches close to the North Korean border are mainly curious Chinese and North Korean businessmen, while branches further afield focus on the South Korean businessman trade.
Wikipedia reports that the Pyongyang restaurant chain operates in the major cities close to the North Korean border along with locations in Beijing and Shanghai. Outside China you can enjoy the North Korean experience at a Pyongyang restaurant in Bangkok, Jakarta, Pattaya, Siem Reap, Vientiane, and Amsterdam.
Live entertainment at a North Korean state run restaurant in Dandong, China.
My good friend Jordan Harbinger, co-founder of The North Korea Blog, and I visited a North Korean state run restaurant during our visit to the Chinese/North Korean border city of Dandong. We stopped by the Lui Jing restaurant, and although what I write about above deals with the Pyongyang restaurant chain, we were assured that the Lui Jing restaurant was also North Korean state run and would provide the most authentic North Korean meal in the city. While in North Korea our meals were always adequate but seemingly dumbed down for our western palette. At the Dandong Lui Jing restaurant we were served up heaping dishes of the best Korean food I have ever had. We dug into a serving of Yook Hwe, a cold raw beef and raw egg dish that was fantastic, along with bulgogi BBQ (we ordered 2nds), and a gigantic fluffy shrimp and octopus omelet.
Taking photos is not allowed in most North Korean state run restaurants, so I never got pictures of our dishes, but when the floor show started the waitresses used sign language to indicate we could snap some shots – as shown in the pics above. The waitresses were totally perplexed by us, I’m guessing they don’t see too many western foreigners stopping by at the Dandong branch, but of course we charmed them with our limited Korean language skills and smiles, and had the entire waitress staff abuzz chatting about our every move. We visited two nights in a row and was granted the special privilege, despite a no photo policy, of taking Polaroids and sharing them with the girls there.
I just love the expression! This girl joined the convoy of groups and tour buses for the trip down to the DMZ on our first day, but after we never saw her again. How mysterious, just like her expression.
Performance at the Pyongyang Children’s Palace.
Commented on my Flickr – “I like this picture, there is a certain old fashioned style in the colors, the postures…..”
I took over 5,000 pictures in North Korea. The best pictures stood out immediately, many I couldn’t do anything with, and then there were those I discovered later – pictures initially overlooked in the huge file but somehow later to capture my eye and ultimately my heart. This picture is one of those. Initially missed but quickly to become a cherished favorite.
I agree with the above commenter, there is just something old fashioned about North Korea and this picture sums it up perfectly – that’s why I love this picture!
Two young girls walk home from the Pyongyang Children’s Palace.
- Children’s Palace Pyongyang, North Korea (americaninnorthkorea.com)
- Citizen Actors North Korea – Part 1 (americaninnorthkorea.com)
- Pyongyang Cleaning Stations (americaninnorthkorea.com)
- North Korean Mass Dance in Sepia and in Black and White (americaninnorthkorea.com)
North Korean girls perform mass gymnastics at the Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang, North Korea.
- Young Gymnasts of the Arirang Mass Games (josephferrispics.wordpress.com)
- Arirang Mass Games (josephferrispics.wordpress.com)
- The Arirang Festival Mass Games (americaninnorthkorea.com)
- The First Podcast From Inside North Korea (americaninnorthkorea.com)
- Eric Lafforgue’s North Korea (americaninnorthkorea.com)
Photo series of performances from the Pyongyang Children’s Palace, DPRK, North Korea.
A photo collection of the children of North Korea in black in white from my Aug. 2011 trip.
Starting the week off right with the sexy soldier girls of the North Korean Arirang Mass Games.
Young girls walk home after classes in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Think you are going to get the girl on your trip to North Korea? Well think again!
Cute times with the singing waitresses of Pyongyang.
Hey man, cool site and sounds like a never forgettable experience. One thing I gotta ask though. Is it possible to hook up with any chicks while you are there? I know you said you had a girl in Taiwan, but is it possible for a single dude to do something like that?
You never see any photos of North Koreans out having fun, or partying and wondered if something like that is acceptable. Then would it be acceptable if the guy was American. Know what I mean?
So I’m going to be totally honest here –
Many of the North Korean girls we came in contact with, such as waitresses and guides, were actually very flirtations – in an innocent way, and the girls are very cute – in a natural way…..but don’t get your hope up – there is NO chance of anything happening!
North Korea is the most racist country in the world – their pride in their racial purity is the secret to how the regime survives in the face of their poverty – when the going gets tough the leaders just resort to whipping up nationalistic outrage by showing footage of their ethnic brothers and sisters to the south fraternizing with the US occupation troops.
I went to North Korea with the world’s most famous pick up artist, Neil Strauss. Thing is Neil was on a vacation and not there as a journalist or a PUA, but he did bring along some of his “students” to help fill out our group so we could have an independent tour. The trip to North Korea was suppose to have nothing to do with “pickup” (even though my buddy Jordan is another big industry name) – so I found myself frustrated and even angry when some of the guys were focused on trying to get a North Korean girl – because it would be an epic accomplishment and to impress Neil- or they just didn’t know better.
Just go and enjoy the 1950′s style flirting, but don’t make a fool of yourself by asking the guides if “we can have a party at their house” or to “give me a little kiss” – that kind of shit just is NOT going to happen and makes the rest of us who are trying to be good westerners look bad.
That said, you might get lucky with a Chinese girl at the Casino or the massage parlor at the big hotel in Pyongyang, and you do have to fly out of Beijing – lots of fun to be had there – just check out Maggies bar!
I will invite my buddy Jordan to comment on the the topic here also.
Although the women are super cute in North Korea, I think we can pretty much forget about hooking up with locals. For one, contact with them is ULTRA-limited, and the only North Korean women you really interact with are the tour guides. We also met waitresses here and there, but the truth is, as Joe says below, North Korea is nearly fascist in nature. Does that mean they aren’t fascinated by Westerners? No. Does it mean they’d ever take the risk of making anything happen? Also no.
I spoke with a LOT of the tour company people (both the locals and English) very frankly about this and everyone was pretty clear that such a thing just isn’t worth the potential trouble. Even when guides were drinking with us at the hotel and the women were flirty, there were other people there to keep them in-check. Last but not least, even if all parties wanted something to happen, the logistics are impossible -no Koreans are allowed on the same hotel floors as tourists, and no tourists are allowed on the Korean hotel floors.
You get the idea…
More pics from my cute times dancing with the singing waitresses of Pyongyang
North Korea Shooting Range – Guns, Girls, and Beer – Photo by Joseph A Ferris III
In an online article at Mademan.com, Jordan Harbinger answers why North Korea is better than Vegas. Backing up this claim, Jordan points out such North Korean show stoppers as the Arirang Mass Games, massive propaganda statues, gasoline clam bakes, and my personal favorite, guns, girls, and beer at the Pyongyang shooting range.
Sure, the Gun Store in Vegas may have MP5s ready to rip up some paper targets downrange, but the shooting ranges in Pyongyang put that all to shame with cold beer and hot women in uniform reloading your weapon for you, then yelling at you in Korean to put down your beer while you fire for greater accuracy and safety or something.
Jordan Harbinger at the Pyongyang gun range.
When our North Korean guide asked us if we wanted to arrange a trip to the shooting range we said “Hell Yeah!” The shooting range turned out to be a type of North Korean men’s club, with young ladies in military style uniforms handling the guns, conducting the safety checks, and pouring the beers. This little side trip was not in the tour itinerary and there were some long faces from the other tourists at the hotel that night when we told our stories about this outing.
Neil Strauss at the Pyongyang, North Korea gun range.
Gabriel Mizrahi at the Pyongyang gun range.