Thursday, April 22, 2010

A tour in North Korea (Part III)

North Korean Ice

Foreigners are banned to visit local shops, even a vendor stall that is just opposite a tourism attraction you visit. One day, I was really thirsty, so I asked a male tour guide in apprenticeship to buy ice cream in a roadside stall for us. A female tour guide told us he would be punished if his leader had discovered that he bought things for us. How much was the ice cream each in won? The tour guide refused to tell us.

The ice cream maybe was the most delicious one I had ever tasted--thick, savory, and slippery in mouth. North Koreans do not make false food. They do not have technologies to research out fodder additives for cow’s fast growing up. This is the first time I ate ice cream since the melamine-tainted milk was discovered in China. The taste of the ice cream was as good as that of the very expensive Luzon Mountain ice cream I had ever eaten in Philippine before.

Although we guessed each ice cream is worth several dimes of RMB, we still paid to the tour guide RMB 5 for each. There were 40 tourists on the bus. Totally RMB 200 was paid to him. How ecstatic the tour guide was!

The lives of people in Pyongyang are not too bad, but that of the people living in rural areas are terrible. North Korea is mountainous and lacks of arable land, so hard-working farmers without right tools and fertilizers are still not able to produce adequate crops for food. On the train to Pyongyang, I saw there are Army’s watchtowers in cornfields along the railway. These watchtowers are set up to prevent hungry farmers from stealing corn.