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North Korea Land

North Korea Land

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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Pyongyang skyline. Source: Pricey hide caption

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Source: Pricey

In a game of rapid response word association, when presented with "North Korea," two things, and two things only, come to mind: nuclear weapons, and dictatorship. Well, now, maybe four things — Kim Jong Il and cerebral hemorrhage. But that's about the extent of my knowledge of the Asian country. Last month, Yale collegiate Jerry Guo traveled to Pyongyang "with a group of Chinese tourists who had come to witness the kitschy architecture, personality worship and over-the-top propaganda machine first-hand." But what he discovered was quite unexpected — yes, travel there is limited and tourists are carefully watched by the state police; but, to his surprise, he also found pockets of capitalism in the capital city that made it seem like "Anytown, USA." He wrote about his experiences in a piece called, "My Excellent North Korean Adventure" for Sunday's Washington Post, and he joins us today to share. If you've visited North Korea, what did you find there? Any surprises?