"The press bus took a wrong turn Thursday," or, Western journalism’s first real look at North Korea’s capital
While on a tour of Pyongyang, NK for the centennial of founder Kim Il Sun’s birth, AP journalists were given a rare opportunity to photograph something other than the elaborate, weird showcases they’re normally subjected to. The bus took a wrong turn and, for just a few minutes, took photojournalists somewhere new.
A cloud of brown dust swirled down deeply potholed streets, past concrete apartment buildings crumbling at the edges. Old people trudged along the sidewalk, some with handmade backpacks crafted from canvas bags. Two men in wheelchairs waited at a bus stop. There were stores with no lights, and side roads so battered they were more dirt than pavement.
But the biggest surprise was that it wasn’t that bad.
It’s not clear why the regime hides places like the dusty, potholed neighborhood, which is just a mile or so from the center of town, across the trolley tracks and just off Tongil Street.
It doesn’t look like a war zone, or even like a particularly rough New York City neighborhood. Many streets in New Delhi, the capital of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, look far more battered and far poorer.
FJP: What a sort of nice, unexpectedly humane look at the country.