I stumbled upon this blog Kuriositas which was featuring a great article about Mangyongdae fun fair in North Korea, one of the last amusement parks in North Korea. Needless to say, like most things in North Korea, Mangyongdae fun fair is a horrible place to have to visit even if it is the only one of its kind left in the Stalinist dictatorship. The article links to Paul_Ark‘s flickr photo stream which is filled with awesome North Korean pictures such as these:
The Daily Mail describes the rides as rusty and forlorn but the queues are remarkably short and the price of admission not that high as long as you are willing to put your life in the hands of the communist North Korean government. Let’s not forget, this is not the only premier tourist attraction in North Korea. After your jaunt on the Mangyongbong ferry cruise ship, you can head over to the Mangyongdae fun fair and ride attractions that were the height of Soviet technology circa 1975. Alex Hoban, a freelance journalist writing for the Daily Mail, said he was not even allowed near one roller coaster until some men had inspected it and hammered in a few nails here and there. While this is not out of place even in the more stringently regulated amusement park rides found elsewhere, the rust laden infrastructure of the roller coaster could do naught but fan fears of disaster. Though the park is only 12 kilometers from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, it is rarely crowded. Further, Alex Hoban was not allowed to leave the park until North Koreans showed up to bolster the park’s attendance in what can only be surmised to be a clumsy attempt at casting the illusion of popularity and merriment. To quote Alex Hoban:
“It’s a shame that North Koreans are treated by their rulers as basically being an expendable race of people. Before we were allowed on the ride, the cadres in charge sent a few terrified farmers on test runs like a shipment of human flour sacks. Luckily, they all came back in one piece, so they let us have a go.”
Truly sad when even a trip to the ‘fun fair’ turns out to be another means of needlessly risking one’s life all the while trying to live it.