Published November 2020 on YouTube

435: Going to North Korea: Part One | Stereo Sunday

1. Introduction

Gabriel and Jordan discuss their experiences traveling to North Korea and what the country was actually like. They share their insights on the country and its people.+

2. North Korea Insights

North Korea Experiences:Jordan and Gabe share their unique experiences traveling to North Korea multiple times before the US banned travel to the country. They discuss the restrictions and unusual aspects of the country, as well as the better access they gained through multiple visits.+
Traveling North Korea:Jordan and Gabriel discuss their experiences traveling through North Korea, one of the least visited countries in the world. They share insights on the country's tourism industry, safety concerns, and unique cultural differences.+

3. North Korea Insights

North Korea Travel:Gabriel and Jordan discuss their experience traveling to North Korea and how it is possible to visit legally through licensed travel agencies. They share their initial ignorance about the country and how eye-opening the trip was.+
North Korea's Bizarre Reality:Jordan and Gabe share their experience of visiting North Korea and how it was far more bizarre than any news stories could ever have explained. They also address the conflict of supporting a country with a questionable regime by visiting.+
Visiting North Korea:Gabriel and Jordan discuss the ethics of being a tourist in North Korea. Gabriel argues that being a tourist in North Korea is not tacit support of the regime as long as your intention is to learn and understand, rather than to cozy up to the government.Show transcript +

4. North Korea Travel Insights

North Korea Travel Tips:Jordan and Gabriel discuss their experiences traveling to North Korea and the strict rules and customs they had to follow. They share tips on what to expect during the orientation session and what items to avoid bringing to the country.+
North Korea's Rules:Gabriel and Jordan discuss their experiences in North Korea, highlighting how clear the country's rules are and how difficult it is to get in trouble if you follow them. However, if you do get in trouble, the punishment is often disproportionate to the crime.+
Foreigners in North Korea:Gabriel and Jordan discuss the restrictions and consequences of being a foreigner in North Korea, including limitations on reading materials and the severity of punishments for breaking rules. They also touch on the idea that some individuals who get in trouble may be looking for it.+

5. North Korea Arrival

North Korea Arrival:Jordan and Gabriel discuss their arrival in North Korea, including the customs process, security check, and the bizarre Yanggakdo Hotel. They also share stories about the strict rules around propaganda and how tourists are expected to behave.+
North Korean Hotel:Gabriel and Jordan describe their experience at the Yanggakdo Hotel in North Korea, including the strange airport, the isolated island location, and the overblown Stalinist amenities such as a revolving restaurant, karaoke lounge, and casino.+

6. Bizarre North Korea

Bizarre North Korea:Jordan and Gabriel share their strange experiences in North Korea, including a casino filled with smoke and a karaoke room missing the latter half of the alphabet. They also discuss the bizarre lighting situation in the Yanggakdo Hotel's spinning restaurant, where all the statues of leaders are illuminated 24/7, while the rest of the city goes dark at night.+
Off the Grid:Jordan and Gabriel discuss their experiences traveling to North Korea and the feeling of being off the grid. They talk about the government-appointed tour guides and their dual role of guiding tourists while also keeping an eye on them. The tour guides have a strict set of rules that they try to hide, but will enforce if crossed.+

7. Touring North Korea

Touring North Korea:Jordan and Gabriel discuss their experiences touring North Korea and the importance of respecting cultural differences and following rules while traveling in a foreign country. They share anecdotes of difficult tourists and the consequences of not following the rules set by the tour guides.+
Understanding North Korea:Gabriel and Jordan discuss their experiences in North Korea and the importance of approaching the country with openness and curiosity. They debunk the idea that North Korea is all fake and discuss the unique tourist experiences available in the country.+

8. North Korean Deception

Bizarre North Korea:Jordan and Gabriel discuss their experiences in North Korea, including the bizarre tourist tricks they used to see the real country. They also talk about the fake and artificial aspects of North Korean life, including the strange bookstore and the sprawling art factory.+
North Korean Deception:Gabriel and Jordan discuss the subtle ways in which North Korea deceives visitors, from fake ceramists to empty department stores. Jordan shares a disturbing experience in a museum bathroom that highlights the lack of basic infrastructure in the country.+

9. Life in North Korea

Life in North Korea:Jordan and Gabriel discuss the reality of life in North Korea, including the regime's control over information and the privilege of being able to travel outside the country. Despite the government's propaganda, some citizens are aware of the outside world and long for a more normal life.+
Mental Gymnastics:Jordan and Gabriel discuss the mental gymnastics North Koreans make to justify their inability to travel outside their country. They explore how the North Korean government controls its citizens and the subtext of communication in the country.+
Communication in North Korea:Gabriel shares a story from his trip to North Korea where he learned about the way people communicate in the country. He tells Jordan about a moment at the demilitarized zone where a Korean general shared a story about the North Koreans and Americans signing different flags after the armistice of the Korean War.+

10. North Korean Insights

Little Moments:Gabriel shares his experience of traveling in North Korea and how little moments of facial expressions or dismissive glances can reveal a lot about the country and its people. Jordan and Gabriel also discuss how they often misinterpret things due to the propaganda and misinformation in the country.+
North Korean Life:Jordan and Gabriel discuss why people go along with the North Korean government and the importance of listening to defectors to understand what life is really like in North Korea. They also invite Stereo app users to ask questions during their live show.+

11. Nuanced Realities

Iran's Nuanced Reality:Jordan shares his regret for not visiting Iran and discusses the biased journalism surrounding the country. He also mentions that most Iranians have a nuanced opinion of their government and theocracy, despite the negative portrayal in Western media.+
Life in Iran and North Korea:Jordan and Gabriel discuss their experiences in Iran and North Korea, highlighting the challenges and tragedies faced by the people in those countries. Gabriel shares his admiration for the kindness and intimacy of the North Korean people, despite their difficult circumstances. The conversation raises questions about the impact of government policies on the lives of citizens.+

12. North Korea's Shady Business

North Korea's Fake Buildings:Jordan and Gabriel discuss North Korea's infamous Ryugyong Hotel, a 110-story building that was never finished and is not structurally sound. Despite this, it was airbrushed into photos of Pyongyang and used as a symbol of the country's power.+
North Korea's Shady Business:Gabriel and Jordan discuss how North Korea makes money despite sanctions and its small GDP. They delve into the country's shady businesses such as weapons manufacturing and drug exports, and even reveal how North Korean diplomats self-fund their missions through illegal activities.+

13. Defector Stories

Defector Stories:Gabriel and Jordan discuss the challenges journalists face when verifying defector stories from North Korea. While some stories may be exaggerated or not entirely true, they believe that most are genuine and rich in detail.+
Free Societies:Jordan and Gabriel discuss the differences between free societies and closed ones, highlighting the safety and freedom of speech in the West. They also share a moment of potential danger while traveling in a closed society.+
North Korean Road Trip:Gabriel and Jordan recall a harrowing experience on a road trip in North Korea where they witnessed a fatal accident but were told to ignore it. The incident made them wonder about the dangers of being stranded in such a remote area.+

14. Outro

Jordan and Gabriel announce their upcoming live shows on the Stereo app, and provide links to the show notes and worksheets for the episode. They also mention their social media handles and free networking course.+