Getting Around

North Korean Buses

First things first, you won’t get to used public transport as a tourist. The moment you cross the North Korean border you are guided, escorted, advised and… protected. I traveled by train from Beijing to Dandong, and next day I took a train from Dandong, a bordering city to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. A prearranged coach was already waiting to take us straight to the hotel. That is it.  No wandering around train or bus stations by non-Koreans. While strolling down the streets to visit prearranged attractions you could take a few photos of public transport, if allowed.

This modern looking trolleybus just broke down, or the electricity malfunctioned, I was not sure. Passengers inside it patiently waiting for whoever was available and allowed to fix it.
The trolleybus was packed with commuters while the drivers and maintenance team tried to rectify the problem in a partisan way, by all means possible and available at that time. When you hear those stories about limited electricity in North Korea one wonders why not buses using gas or fuel?
These modern buses were doing a fine job taking commuters to work and schools.
If you look at these commuters what is striking about their attire? Men are dressed plain and simple in greyish colors, while women quite often were wearing fashionable and colorful skirts and dresses.
Close encounter of trolleybus kind
We all daydreaming or contemplating about something, aren’t we? The North Korean here are going on about their business but what they could be thinking about now when see a tourist bus with all these Westerners staring at them like in the freak show?
I could read people’s faces I would say the driver here is smiling and probably thinking “ohh not again! Another bunch of freaks” While the little girl is wondering why we are taking pictures of an ordinary bus.
What is going on here? I wondered who was giving a reprimand to who. Judging by the uniform, the guy in greyish clothing must have been in trouble. I am sure it was not a speeding ticket, too.
This is a true scale of traffic outside Pyongyang. This coach was heading towards the Exhibition Hall 50 miles away. This road could easily serve as a tarmac for landing aircraft. During our 3 hour journey, three cars went past is going the opposite direction. The roads and streets in the capital were smooth and dusted but once you left Pyongyang the coach had to decrease the speed. Bumpy road that was.

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