“That’s the problem in North Korea: Whether it’s what you’re hearing or seeing, or not hearing or seeing, you’re always second-guessing who’s outsmarting whom.”
Writer and photographer Wendy Simmons shares a personal account of her vacation to one of the most reclusive nations on the planet, North Korea. During her journey she finds herself caught between an international crisis sparked by the release of the Sony Pictures film The Interview and accidentally crashing the “wedding” of a North Korean bride to be.
Life at the Koryo Hotel was like watching a Wes Anderson movie, only weirder, and I was the star. Like the dining room, the rest of the hotel was decked out in decades-old décor that in its heyday was at best, gaudy, chintzy, and ostentatious, and in present day was dated and faded. A little less dirt and a little more quirk, and you might have called the place kitschy, but the pervasive feeling of melancholy and doom that enveloped the hotel made that ship sail.
I'm in the bathroom in my hotel room at the Koryo. The TV is in the other room, so it's a little faint, but I'm pretty certain I hear the BBC broadcaster say that North Korea is threatening war against the U.S. over the forthcoming release of a Sony Pictures movie called The Interview, about two CIA spies killing Kim Jong-un, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen.
I dash into the other room to catch the story. Oh, this is good! THIS IS TOO GOOD! It's hilarious! The Supreme Leader of North Korea has promised “merciless retaliation” against America over a James Franco movie fewer than 24 hours after I've arrived!
Because my mom watches the morning news, there's little doubt in my mind she's just shit herself.