A lot has been said about the quality of life in North Korea’s rural areas that it’s initially hard to tell which is real and which is fake. For sure, some of them seem too far-fetched to be true – or are they? During those rare times when we got to venture out of Pyongyang, I couldn’t help but look out of the bus window at every chance I got. Would I be able to see any evidence of the starvation, the prison camps, the nuclear facilities? Judging by what we saw by the road side, it was evident that things operated at a different rhythm here.
They say that a good way to gauge a country’s level of development is to take quick glance at its rural areas. The countryside of North Korea did afford us a few observations. For one, there were no animals to be seen. We did not see a single chicken, pig, goat or cow outside toiling the fields. Moreover, everything was done with human hand. There were barely any machines seen that could harvest the many road side plantations (likely to have been deliberately placed to show the country as self-sustaining) we saw along the way.