Enter North Korea was one of the weirdest processes VBS has carried and debate.
Authors: After going back and forth with their representatives for months, finally said they were going to allow 16 journalists into the country to cover the Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang.
Then, ten days before we were going, he said: No, anyone can enter. Then he said, OK, OK, you can come. But only as tourists. We had no idea of what is supposed to mean. They already knew we were journalists, and there if you get caught being a journalist when you’re supposed to be a tourist you go to jail.
We do not like jail. And we’re willing to bet that I’d hate jail in North Korea. But we went. The first stage of the trip was a flight into northern China.
At the airport, the North Korean consulate took our passports and all our money, then took us to a restaurant. We were sitting there with our tour group, and suddenly all the other diners left and the women went out and began singing nationalist songs in North Korea.
We were thinking, Look, we were on a plane for 20 hours. We’re jet-lag. Can we go to bed? but this guy with our group who was from Los Angeles Times, he said: Everyone here besides us is secret police. If we do not act excited, then we will not get your visa.
So he got drunk and took the stage and sang songs with the girls. The next day we got the visa. A lot of people who had gone with them is not achieved. That was our first indication of what a trip just weird, weird that they were embarking on.