James Griffin is a columnist for Canvas magazine.

James Griffin: North Korea anyone?

Feel like a visit to North Korea? Photo / AFP
Feel like a visit to North Korea? Photo / AFP

Hello New Zealand travellers and those who one day want to travel from New Zealand to places that aren't New Zealand! Are you looking for that idyllic travel destination that other travellers never go to, apart from New Zealand? Have you ever thought about North Korea and then thought "I must go there"?

Yes? No? The answer does not matter because we here at DPRK Travel are here to tell you that the time to think about North Korea has ended and the time to go to North Korea is now! Are you listening New Zealand, as we unfurl for you the fantastical realm that is the greatest country ever to have existed, ever?

For North Korea is a place where you can step back in time without stepping out of your door - and where, outside of Invercargill, is that possible? It is a magical land where, thanks to the benevolent powers from beyond the grave of Eternal President Kim Il-sung, time was magically stopped in the 1950s just after we won what you call the Korean War but which we call the Fatherland Liberation War That is Still Ongoing in the Liberation Phase But Victory for the True Korea is Just Around the Corner.

Everything that is wonderful about the 1950s you can experience first-hand with your very own hands in North Korea. Running water, sometimes, and almost uninterrupted electrical power are practically an every-day occurrence. Automobiles can from time to time be seen roaming the streets of Pyongyang, piloted by skilled North Korean expert drivers. All these wonders await the New Zealand tourist hordes.

In North Korea you can gaze on our many statues. We have best statues anywhere in the world. We have statues of not only Kim Il-sung but also of Kim Jong-il and, gasp in amazement, Kim Jong-un. All the statues you could ever hope for, in one country.


North Korea is an ancient country so if you like ruins then it is the country for you! Forget Greece. Forget Italy. Forget Egypt. Forget Hamilton. In North Korea we have so many ruins you will be spoilt for your choice of ruins. In North Korea you can even see ruins that are less than 25 years old and some of which are even still under construction.

Your happy, smiling tour guide will gleefully show you around the ruin of your choice and if you are lucky even show you where they and their extended family live in the ruins!

This is not to say North Korea does not have buildings. We are a modern country also and so have many buildings, the vast majority of which are still standing up.

Fans of architecture in the neo-Stalinist brutalism style will love North Korea! And if they don't love North Korea we have ways and techniques of making them love North Korea. Ha ha! That was a joke, by the way, and an example of the famous North Korean sense of humour. American propaganda portrays North Korea as a no fun zone but as with all Western propaganda this could not be further from the truth. In North Korea we laugh and have fun all the time and if people do not have enough fun they are sent on state-run courses to camps where they learn to have much more fun.

Examples of the sort of fun you can have in North Korea are joining in the favourite pastime of our people that is marching in formation. After a healthy long march you can join the people as they spontaneously stage mass karaoke singalongs to our world famous pop songs such as The Joy of Bumper Harvest Overflows Amidst the Song of Mechanisation, We Shall Hold Bayonets More Firmly and everyone's favourite The Dear General Uses Distance-Shrinking Magic. Fun times await you in North Korea, happy New Zealand visitor! So hurry to your booking place now, because getting to North Korea has never been more enticing. Simply ask visitors to our great open-armed nation like superstar basket-balling American Dennis Rodman for his unbiased opinion and he will tell you North Korea is the "best planet I ever visited" and the North Korean people are "dope ass little mutha****ers".

North Korea awaits every New Zealanders who have a visa to travel outside your own country. We wait poised to clasp you to our bosoms in an embrace unlike any you have ever felt before, firm and reassuring, like the arms of the Eternal President himself are squeezing you for all he is worth. For North Korea is one of those countries you can visit, dear New Zealanders, and once you come here maybe we will never let you go.

- NZ Herald

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James Griffin is a columnist for Canvas magazine.

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