Pics from our visit to the new Kaeson Youth Park Fun Fair (the old Mangyongdae Fun Fair is closed – or looks like it is) on our Aug 2011 trip to North Korea.
Local North Koreans would wait hundreds in line for theses new modern rides. As visitors we paid in hard currency at a rate 35 x what the locals paid, at that price we got the privilege of jumping line and holding up the locals as we enjoyed as many repeat rides on the amusements as we wanted. We were told by our minders that the rides had all come from Italy – they were new and modern, and included old favorites such as bumper cars and the pirate ship swing ride, and new favorites like a lay down style roller coaster and the “vominator”.
Soldiers on rides at the new fun fair amusement park in Pyongyang, DPRK, North Korea.
North Korean soldiers and the pirate ship.
One of our favorite rides was the pirate ship swing. On this ride we got to sit snuggled up with random locals and shared laughter, looks of delight, amusement, and even terror with them.
North Korean man and child play a round on the bumper cars, Pyongyang, DPRK, North Korea.
Another one of our favorite amusements was the bumper cars. On this amusement we got to compete with locals, banging cars around with kids, dads, and even soldiers.
We certainly didn’t budget enough time for the Fun Fair. We were all exhausted from the day’s activities and had told our guides and minders that a 1/2 hour look around should do us – but two hours later and after multiple rounds on the amusements we were pressed for time. I don’t think any of us had realized how much of a blast the Fun Fair would be. I had herd about the test of strength games in the arcade room and although it was time for us to go back to the hotel I made sure we made a stop on the way out.
At one Euro per round I went arm to arm against the North Korean strong man at the Pyongyang Fun Fair. The game room also had an assortment of video games from the late 90s.
Two North Korean children hang off the horns of the test of strength bull.
North Korean woman test their aim on an old 90’s arcade shooter game.
In the end our Kaeson Youth Park Fun Fair escort served our group up a bill of over one hundred Euros. As I had seen elsewhere in North Korea, when hard currency is involved a fist full of dollars will get the job done, and our escort gladly accepted what we had with a smile. We never got to visit any of the old and decrepit fun fairs during our visit to North Korea. Some of the old fairs, such as the Mangyongdae, have games that feature the classic old US anti imperialist propaganda. Times are a changing and the most bizarre thing I saw at the new Kaeson Youth Park Fun Fair were booths serving up Mexican burritos.
Check out all my North Korea pics at my Flickr Photostream
- Mangyongdae, The Happiest Place in North Korea (neatorama.com)