The Day I Hit the Wall in North Korea

New York

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Chapter 15 Excerpt
THE DAY I HIT THE WALL

I didn’t remember selecting “Concrete Wall” from the list I’d been given when choosing activities for my customized itinerary. And a concrete wall certainly didn’t sound like something that would normally have piqued my interest (akin to choosing “watch paint dry”). But it was on our agenda for the day after the DMZ, and quite frankly it sounded better than some of the other shit I’d been dragged around to (can you say, Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum?), so it felt like a win.

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Next Stop: North Korean “Normal” People

New York

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CHAPTER EIGHT
Next Stop: Normal People

I was sitting on the Pyongyang Metro interrogating Older Handler. As usual, I was trying to get to the bottom of things.

ME: Who are these people on the subway?

OLDER HANDLER: To be honest, normal people.

This was how it would go. She would reply to my question with such absurd nonsense that I would either have to just suck it up and stop asking questions or prepare to dig in, and let the baby-talk roll. But getting past her rehearsed lies—no matter how reductive my questioning—was impossible. And this exchange was no different.

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