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The Vice Guide to Travel: North Korea

VBS had been working on trying to gain access to North Korea. It had been months when they first began fraternizing with various North Korean representatives, when the North Koreans eventually decided that they would take in no more than 16 journalists to chronicle the Arirang mass Games in Pyongyang. A few days before the take-in was to happen, the North Koreans suddenly disallowed the entry of the journalist. A few days later, they changed their minds, but would only the people involved entry as mere tourists. Violators of this rule would be sent to prison. Horribly confused, the VBS crew reluctantly agreed and pushed through with the plans, regardless of apprehensions.

Prior to entry, the VBS crew met the Korean Consulate at an airport in Northern China. They were then escorted to restaurant, after being relieved of all their money and passports. They were greeted with women singing what sounded like nationalistic North Korean songs. Amidst the chaos, the other members of another tour group seemed to have walked away. Exhausted from the trip, the VBS crew opted to rest up in their respective rooms only to be rebuked by a man who claimed to represent the LA times. The VBS crew was warned that all the North Koreans were actually special police and not complying would mean not getting back their VISAs. With no alternative discourse, the VBS crew decided let loose and partake on what was prepared. They drank, got up on stage, and sang with the secret police girls. To their relief, they received back their VISAs the following day, although a number of other people did not get theirs, marking the start of the inevitably unsettling and strange undertaking they had unwittingly got themselves into.

Penetrating North Korea proved to be one of the most difficult and strangest undertakings that VBS has ever endeavoured in.

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