15 Sep '11, 5pm

travel guide North Korea cruise trip triggers offbeat moments: The tour guides - tasked with keeping their guest...

travel guide North Korea cruise trip triggers offbeat moments: The tour guides - tasked with keeping their guest...

RASON, North Korea: A senior official suddenly belts out opera on the deck of a rickety cruise ship, waitresses shimmy at an impromptu dance party below. It's the good life, North Korea style. The unexpected, unguarded moments were as offbeat as the trip itself - a cruise on an ageing boat for a group of Chinese tour operators and foreign journalists on a rare visit to a notoriously secretive nation. The first song from Hwang Chol-Nam, the dapper vice-mayor of Rason who was co-hosting the trip, came as the ship ploughed through rough seas one night and he gazed out over the waves from the deck. It was, predictably, to the glory of leader Kim Jong-Il, who rules the isolated country with an iron grip. "That's my favourite song," he said. But then the tuneful deputy mayor let loose with a song by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, another favourite. Journalists are normally banned...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/travel/view/115333...

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