Bus' Wrong Turn Reveals Real North Korea
Reporters get a look at grimy reality normally hidden on staged presentations
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 12, 2012 2:21 PM CDT
Updated Apr 15, 2012 7:00 PM CDT
North Koreans are seen at a residential compound in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday.   (Ng Han Guan)

(Newser) – The press bus took a wrong turn. And suddenly, everything changed in the official showcase of North Korean achievement. Dust swirled down deeply potholed streets, past crumbling concrete apartment buildings. Old people trudged along the sidewalk, while two men in wheelchairs waited at a bus stop. There were stores with no lights, and side roads so battered they were more dirt than pavement. "Perhaps this is an incorrect road?" mumbled one of the North Korean officials tasked with restricting reporters.

The bus riders got a rare look at the grim, run-down reality North Korea fastidiously hides from the press. The journalists stared. And outside the bus, the North Koreans who never expected to be seen stared back. Cameras madly clicked, as the bus turned for its intended destination: a spotlessly clean, brightly-lit, and nearly empty music information building, the site of one of Kim Jong Il's last public appearances. "I hope that the journalists present here report only the absolute truth," said the official, her voice trembling, "about how much our people miss our comrade Kim Jong Il."

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 40 comments
Apr 15, 2012 9:44 PM CDT
Amazing. What this report claims is the dark underbelly of North Korea is exactly the kind of third world trash the illegal invaders from the south have been bringing to the US for years.
Apr 15, 2012 9:05 PM CDT
This is like Russia, or Ukraine, heh :) Not all, but common; concrete panel human hives and yards like it was just bombed. Except the curtains on windows; something threating is in its absense. Maybe, Big Brother uses helicopters to voyuer? I was disappointed, I expected to see the real trash when clicked on headline.
Apr 13, 2012 8:16 PM CDT
There was no one around because they are all in the labor camps. Those are the only places with food (rats).