Sunday, October 14, 2007

At home in Pyongyang

The New York Times is reporting that the New York Philharmonic is considering touring to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. Odds are probably against playing there, but if they do end up visiting Kim Jong-il's bizarre and tragic little kingdom, the orchestra players might want to prepare themselves ahead of time by getting acquainted with the Pyongyang Metro.

I was definitely surprised to learn that a country which cannot feed itself has not only a nuclear program and a modest film industry (including outsourced subcontracted animation for such films as Disney's The Lion King and Pocahontas), but also a subway system. The extent and exact plans and timetables of the system are, however, state secrets. The best source of information is probably this webpage, one of those specialized sites in which the web shows its true potential.

And, as long as they're making travel plans, they ought to have a chat with Bobby Egan, the owner of Cubby's restaurant in Hackensack, New Jersey. He's apparently one of Pyongyang's chief cultural interpreters for all matters American.

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