In the spring of 2012 I was able to visit the Nampo Tae’an Glass Factory, one of several Nampo area heavy industry sites briefly open to tourists at the time – currently only the Nampo Kangso Mineral Water Factory is advertised as available for visits, a site which is included on my Spring 2013 tours.
More modern than I expected (the plant was built in partnership with the Chinese and opened by Hu Jintao in 2005), inside we were able to get a close up view of working furnaces and sheet glass cutting machinery, as well as a look into their computerized production monitoring control room.
I expected to see communism in action, mass mobilization of the workers and all sorts of other cliches, and while I witnessed that sort of thing out in the fields and on countryside road construction projects, I was surprised to find the Nampo Tae’an Glass Factory eerily quiet. Massive propaganda paintings on the walls looked down over just a handful of quality control workers, but the plant was producing glass, and I left the site suitably impressed by the operation.
Close up view into the glass furnace.
They let us climb up on the machinery – so dangerous!
Freshly cut sheet glass.
Propaganda painting on the production room wall.
Lady in the quality control booth.
Nampo Tae’an Glass Factory local guide.
Southbound to Nampo on the 10 lane Youth Hero Highway.
Navigating small country roads on the way to the Nampo hot spring hotel.
A North Korean soldier with flowers passes by as we sightsee at the southern entrance to the Nampo West Sea Barrage – just another example of the humanity of the North Korean people rarely shown by the mainstream western media – photo by Joseph A Ferris III
Read more about this experience and many more like it at Joshua’s Spodek’s Blog.