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Old 03-28-2018, 07:52 AM   #1

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We'll understand if you're feeling a bit like a kid who's just been set loose at a carnival. But be sure not to miss the official Cafe Press store of the DPRK. Not only are there t shirts, but most of them are entitled "Propaganda," and then numbered, a la George Foreman's kids.

There is also a FAQ, full of facts about North Korea, but in question form. Nearly all of the answers are some variation on "Who told you that? THEY LIE."

Have we mentioned that the default language of this site is English? And on the older version of the site, Korean is not even listed as a language option?

Because the main point of the site is to get you to join their fan club: the Korean Friendship Association!

You get a membership card and everything! Just send your information, 50 Euros and a photocopy of your passport, and you can participate in activities that are roughly the same as things you did in your Justin Timberlake fan club.

OK, so the Kumgangsan Tourist Region isn't a massive money maker, but there is kayaking. There are also no ATMs, no taking pictures on the bus, no looking like you might go towards a military area, no touching or pointing at any monuments for Kim Jong il's dad, no referring to North Korea as North Korea and you must "respect the culture of the [North] Koreans" working there, which we're pretty sure is code for "shoplifters of [North] Koreans will be prosecuted."

You laugh, but a woman was shot there last summer for breaking a rule, so let that be a lesson to you for whining about camp mess hall duty.

And then there's the Meeting Hall for Separated Families.

One of North Korea's hobbies is kidnapping South Koreans. Another hobby is not letting people leave North Korea. We think now might be a good time to get North Korea into knitting.

Anyway, the Meeting Hall for Separated Families is billed as a resort amenity wherein once a year, the relatives of South Koreans trapped in North Korea can visit with their kidnapped kin.

OK, so we've got our own traumatizing version of Disney World. How else can we convince people that a repressed totalitarian regime can still be an awesome vacation spot? With the most awesome hotel in the world! And we'll make it look like a comic book supervillain headquarters!

It was 1987, the capitalist world was wearing pastel blazers without irony, and the North Koreans were thinking that maybe they could soak up some of those excess riches via tourism. Or maybe North Korea just wanted to look fabulous in time for the Seoul Olympics. Whatever the reason, they decided they would build THE GREATEST HOTEL EVER. and do it in a way that only a totalitarian police state can!

Unfortunately, like most virgins of things, North Korea went in only with knowledge they'd seen on TV, had to stop before the project was even close to finished and now just pretends it never happened. Breaking ground in 1987, the Ryugyong Hotel, at one point, would have been the tallest hotel in the world. There were going to be seven revolving restaurants at the top. Considering the quality of construction of the project, it seemed inevitable that at least one of them would go spinning off into the horizon like a Frisbee.

The wholesale authentic jerseys hotel, the distinctive shape cheap nfl jerseys of which utterly dominated the skyline, was often Photoshopped out of pictures. Tour guides and many officials sheepishly ignored it, having collectively decided that this cheap cowboy jersey is going to be the one thing about their country they are going to be embarrassed about.

Last year, Orascom Telecom, an Eypgtian telecommunications company, agreed to pick up the bill to at least make the hotel look finished, because they are setting up North Korea's first 3G network (of which there will be likely one user) and are using the structure as a signal tower.

Meanwhile the "hotel" has a 2012 completion date, at which point we expect they will announce that it is simply "too popular to take open reservations."The Giant Invasion Tunnel That Doesn't Exist

Nevertheless, North Korea is like that sticky kid who won't stop touching South Korea in pre school, so the landmines are pretty much the only thing standing between South Korea and South Korea not being much fun anymore.

So, pretend that you're North Korea: an aggressive state with a million landmine restraining order against you, but you really, really want to get back with South Korea. You've already ruled out the comically large slingshot. So you decide to tunnel underneath the DMZ.

But then you get caught. Plus, they find a banner in the tunnel that says "Down with American Imperialists," so you can't blame it on crab people.

The "Axis of Evil" speech was a coming out party for the cartoonishly evil North Korea. However, "silly amounts of oppressive" is rarely a selling point for a country that, as we mentioned, needs friends. And they don't need just any friends: North Korea needs the type of friends who will let them raid the fridge even though they've spent all their money on booze.

So, North Korea cleaned house, dusted off their best suits, and invited Junchiro Koizumi, the prime minister of Japan, over to begin diplomatic relations (ie, a "you give us food for free" program) for the very first time. But Japan wasn't just going to give it up for free. North Korea was going to have to make a grand gesture, stand outside Japan's hotel window, raise a boom box over their heads and blast.

Not pictured: human rights violations.

Touched by this gracious act of friendship, Junchiro asked the obvious question of where the captives were now. North Korea had not actually planned for that.

At first, they hastily produced eight sketchy death certificates and pronounced the matter to be closed. This was a problem for Japan, as North Korea had owned up to kidnapping 13 people. Eventually, North Korea begrudgingly agreed to let the five living captive Japanese go back to Japan, but only if they promise to come back.

But by this point, Junchiro and the captives were safely back in Japan, so they didn't have to do anything that the crazy men with the clown masks and machetes were asking.
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