Women rock out 'Pyongyang Style' at restaurant

By Matt Hodges ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-04-20 15:52:46

After speaking to several waitresses, who get one day off a week, both notions seemed a bit far-fetched. They said they like to visit the city's parks when they're not working. One said she can only go home after completing her three-year contract.

Women rock out 'Pyongyang Style' at restaurant

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Women rock out 'Pyongyang Style' at restaurant

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The decor-floor-to-ceiling wall mirrors and former Soviet-style chandeliers-lent a pall of decadence. It felt as though for every element of artifice, we were compensated with glimpses of something deeper and more real.

But whereas restaurants in Pyongyang are often obliged to display reverential images of their leaders, the closest on offer was a brief image of founding father Kim Il-sung on a flatscreen TV during a karaoke song. The irony of it being a Samsung TV seemed lost on the waitresses, who sported identical make-up and braided ponytails.

"Oh we have lots of Samsung TVs in Pyongyang," said one in fluent Chinese as she poured industrial-size shots of soju, the distilled liquor that defines life south of the inter-Korean border. "Do they have them in South Korea? I don't know."

Like many reporters' trips to Pyongyang, the experience left me feeling surprised at the unexpected warmth of the people when they let their guards down, but disappointed at what little they reveal of their thoughts.

I left with that Rocky track still in my head, wondering if Pyongyang locals play it on their Samsung stereos at public events, or on counterfeit Beats by Dre headphones before going to bed.


Pyongyang Koryo restaurant in Shanghai

Tongmao Hotel branch

357 Songlin Lu (Road), Pudong New Area, Shanghai.


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