Kim Il Sung mausoleum
Pyongyang Travel Blog› entry 7 of 8 › view all entries
September 2nd, 2007 – by: hauteboy
Today was our last full day in the DPRK, but just as busy as the previous two had been. This morning we would be visiting Kim Il-Sung's mausoleum, for which we had to be presentable. Shirt+tie for men and dress for the women. The mausoleum itself is huge gray granite/marble building with no windows, just a large picture of the Great Leader. It is always busy with locals who usually visit two or three times a year. When we arrived there was a long line of workers and women in brightly colored traditional dresses, pink, blue, green, etc. The other KT tour arrived as well, this was the American group, so they had managed to get in as well despite the Mass Games being canceled.
The next stop was the Revolutionary Martyr's Cemetery, more monuments to those killed during the Japanese occupation (WWII) or Korean war. There is as much anti-Japanese sentiment here as anti-Western. The cemetery was on the side of a hill with a huge staircase leading up through the graves to a huge stylized stone flag. Each gravesite had a stone pedestal with a lifesized bronze bust of the soldier. At the the top just under the flag was the grave of Kim Jong-Suk, mother of Kim Jong-Il. She was quite young when she died, only 37. After the cemetery we headed to the Arch of Triumph.. like the one in Paris, but just a bit bigger. It has the dates 1925 and 1945 (end of Japanese occupation).
From the Arch of Triumph we walked up past the stadium to Moranbong park where they have a local funfair. We got to see normal North Korean families out with their kids enjoying the day. They were eating ice cream, riding on rides, etc, and we were albe to get some great people photos here! Some people, even kids, shied away from the camera but others loved seeing themselves on the digital camera screen. Some of us rode on some bumper cars and a spindly looking roller coaster. They also had shooting games like a carnival, but these were different from what we would have at home.. the targets were angry looking caricatured Japanese and US soldiers!
Kim Il-Sung's birthplace was next, this was some distance out of town in a parklike setting. It had a reconstructed house where he was supposedly born.
Since this was our last night we went out to a restaurant to eat. It was already dark and the streets are so dim, surrounded by concrete apartment blocks. Anywhere else you would have thought this was a bad part of town from the lack of lights, but the whole city is like this. We ended up at a Korean barbeque restaurant, they had the grills in the middle of the table. Quite a yummy meal, mainly duck. After dinner we went back to the hotel, and went bowling in the basement of the hotel, they had three lanes. I guess it had been awhile since I'd bowled, I barely was able to break 100.
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