On smoking weed in north korea – the bohemian good ways to make money blog

With an exchange rate of roughly ₩1,450 to £1 (or ₩900 to $1), the notes were numbered into the thousands. Different denominations bore the face of president kim il-sung, an image of the president’s birthplace at mangyongdae-guyok, the arch of triumph in pyongyang and, on the ₩200 banknote, a likeness of the mythical flying horse, chollima.

Carrying roughly one quarter of a million won between us, we headed down to the market. Up until a few years ago, rason’s market was off-limits to tourists for a long time; a friend in the company told me the closure followed good ways to make money an incident in which a chinese tourist was pickpocketed. He had reported the theft to his embassy, and pushed for recompense from the north korean tourism industry. As a result of the international drama which followed, north korea decided it would be simpler not to let good ways to make money foreigners enter the market at all.

The market was a sprawling maze of wooden tables, overflowing with everything from fruit to hand tools. Immediately upon our entrance, a wave seemed to move through the crowd as several good ways to make money hundred pairs of eyes turned to assess the intrusion. If the streets of pyongyang and other north korean cities good ways to make money may appear empty, even desolate at times, this place was the exact opposite… and I was struck by the sense of having stumbled good ways to make money across that fabled thing which seems so hopelessly impossible to good ways to make money find: the ‘real’ north korea.

As our group separated, moved through the stalls and began to mingle with the good ways to make money bemused locals, our korean guides floated about us like owls on speed. In situations like these, there is much scope for speculating the punishment that would good ways to make money await them (and according to some, by association, their families) were they to lose sight of their western wards. Luckily for them however, we didn’t exactly blend in.

It was interesting to see the range of reactions that good ways to make money our presence elicited from the unsuspecting people of north korea. Some gasped in shock, covering their mouths and nudging their friends to look at good ways to make money us; children waved, giggled, shouted “hello” and then ran away; vendors called and beckoned us to browse their wares. Everywhere I looked there was a movement of heads turning good ways to make money quickly away – everybody here wanted a good look at the strangers, but most wouldn’t hold our gaze.

One elderly man in a tired military uniform followed us good ways to make money through the market, scowling from a distance. Several times I felt tiny hands patting at my trouser good ways to make money pockets, then turned, to see dirty-faced children peering out from the crowds. On one occasion I was confronted by an actual beggar; it’s still the first and only time I’ve seen a north korean ask a foreigner for money, and something which the DPRK leadership does its absolute best good ways to make money to stamp out.

Things were to get a whole lot stranger though, as we approached the covered stalls at the heart of good ways to make money the market. While the outer yard had been stocked with fruits, vegetables and all manner of seafood, rason’s indoor market is a repository for every kind of good ways to make money bric-a-brac you could care to think of… and most of it imported from china. Shoes, toys, make-up, cigarette lighters and DIY tools that look around 40 years good ways to make money old; clothing, military uniforms (which we were forbidden from buying), spices, chocolates, soft drinks, dried noodles, bottled spirits, beer and a whole aisle lined with mounds of dry, hand-picked tobacco.

No one seemed to have a problem with us buying good ways to make money the stuff, and so we decided to put it to the ultimate good ways to make money test: purchasing papers from another stall before rolling up and lighting good ways to make money comically oversized joints right there in the middle of the good ways to make money crowded market. Bizarre as the situation was, it seemed a reasonably safe move… and with several hundred people already staring at us, we weren’t likely to feel any more paranoid than we already good ways to make money were.

At another stall we bought live spider crabs for our good ways to make money dinner, before leaving the market to continue the grand tour of good ways to make money rason – with just one difference. From this point onwards, every time our group was walking on the street, sat in a park or being shown around some monument good ways to make money or other, there would be at least two fat joints being passed good ways to make money around.

That night we settled down for a meal at a good ways to make money private dining room in the kum yong company restaurant. It’s one of rason’s tourist-friendly eateries, by which I mean that the service and surroundings had good ways to make money been so carefully and thoroughly westernised, as to give little or no impression of how real good ways to make money locals live. I guess the same could be said for five-star restaurants the world over, though.

In the corner of the room, a small television set was doing all it could to good ways to make money keep us abreast of important current affairs. The news presenter – an impassioned middle-aged woman with immaculate hair – was talking about a potential attack from south korea, about US manoeuvres on the korean peninsula. Suddenly I remembered that I was in a country threatening good ways to make money to launch nuclear warheads against its neighbours, and that the whole world was holding its breath to good ways to make money see what the next days would bring.

We were sat around drinking beers in a hotel bar, just across the town square from our own lodgings. Here the waitresses were taking it in turns to sing good ways to make money for us, clutching cheap chinese microphones as they performed note-perfect renditions of one (party-approved) karaoke classic after another. Many of these songs had once been written to celebrate good ways to make money the anniversary of a military victory… while each of the north korean leaders is given their good ways to make money own orchestral theme (check out the song of general kim jong-un, for example).

I sat next to mr kim, who, dressed in his usual dark suit and glasses, looked every part the intelligence officer. He was snacking on strips of dried fish to accompany good ways to make money his beer, and he offered me some. By way of a polite gesture I offered him a good ways to make money joint in return, very much expecting him to refuse it. Instead he smiled, winked, and put his arm round my shoulder as he started good ways to make money puffing away on the fat paper cone.

Things got even more bizarre when the russians arrived – a group of dock workers from the vladivostok region, currently on leave in rason and keen to get some good ways to make money alcohol inside them. One of my last memories of the evening is of good ways to make money knocking back large tumblers of korean vodka with a walking good ways to make money stereotype of a man; he had the arms and chest of a bear, a square head topped with a white crew cut and good ways to make money a well manicured ‘uncle joe’ moustache… as well as a superhuman thirst for vodka.

Under the current government, it becomes more difficult to know the full extent of good ways to make money the plant’s cultivation and use in contemporary north korea. When I first published this article, I made the seemingly logical assumption that cannabis was legal good ways to make money in the country; usually if tour guides let you do a thing, it implies that it’s not a problem. (my conclusion was also influenced by a number of widespread good ways to make money articles, including this piece on VICE news, which had previously insisted that cannabis use was legal in good ways to make money the DPRK.)

I was wrong about that, though. Experts have since commented that the recreational use of cannabis good ways to make money is absolutely illegal in north korea, and not being any kind of expert on the country good ways to make money myself, I’m very happy to believe them. My assumption as to the legality of weed in north good ways to make money korea was retracted just a few weeks after this article good ways to make money was first published, back in 2013. I have chosen to keep the article online, as a true account of my experience in rason market good ways to make money – but I have long-since removed any conclusions or assumptions that go beyond the good ways to make money available evidence of my senses. This is what happened, but I’d rather leave it to experts to tell you what good ways to make money it means.

It seems likely though, that the product we bought was some kind of ditch-weed, or feral hemp – which wikipedia defines as “wild-growing cannabis generally descended from industrial hemp plants previously cultivated good ways to make money for fibre, with low or negligible amounts of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).” tour operators working in the country have also confirmed that good ways to make money such plants can be bought in rason.

The bohemian blog is bigger than it looks. In fact, there’s a whole restricted area hidden away behind the public good ways to make money pages… a space where patrons of the site can access exclusive good ways to make money content, book previews and private image galleries. It’s called the exclusion zone. Just sponsor me the equivalent of a cup of coffee good ways to make money for each new article I post, and I’ll send you the password. Check out my page on patreon to find out more good ways to make money about the perks of getting involved.

I honestly wish I knew. I suppose a lot of this depends on your definition good ways to make money of “average”. Certainly, there are a lot of people who lead relatively pleasant good ways to make money lives in the DPRK – I believe that pyongyang probably isn’t a bad place to live, in some ways, and for some people. I think we all know people who are content to good ways to make money work hard, and enjoy their limited holidays somewhere local with friends and good ways to make money family. Anyone who was content to live on simple pleasures, was happy obeying fairly draconian laws and had no ambition good ways to make money to travel or question orders – and these people do exist – well, chances are, they might be genuinely happy living in north korea.

However, this says nothing about the millions of people living in good ways to make money areas with less developed infrastructure, with poorer housing, limited heath care and without the comforts afforded by a good ways to make money relatively well developed city such as pyongyang. And even in the best cases, people must still be very aware of the freedoms they good ways to make money can never have (travel, for instance). Particularly as tourism to the DPRK increases, I can only see this sense of disillusionment growing.

Definitely one of the more interesting perspectives on somebody’s travels that I’ve read in my time, and certainly refreshing to hear it from an unbiased and good ways to make money civil perspective… not to mention that my opinion of their political structure good ways to make money has improved reasonably, evidently their system has the same number of pros and good ways to make money cons as any other, though arguably in different areas. I might even make a point to those who listen good ways to make money to american media by saying that the freedoms that matter good ways to make money are restricted the same everywhere, we just THINK we have more because they let us good ways to make money follow mind-numbing pop culture and have facebook accounts? (though try posting certain political content and you’ll be shut down just as fast, without the legal penalties if you’re lucky) vote obama or romney or any other likely candidate, who cares as they’ll both support the same war crimes in the middle good ways to make money east, specifically palestine and syria? Kind of on par with a dictatorship when you think good ways to make money about it, just with the illusion of free choice to keep the good ways to make money people happy instead of legal cannabis, maybe? Anyway enough with the comparisons because it’s the unique subject and writing style that brought me good ways to make money here and that made me follow your FB page, keep it coming I say!

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