What’s it like to live and work in one of the most mysterious countries in the world? A new book shines a spotlight on the working day in Pyongyang, North Korea. Here are a few of my favorite points, as reproduced by the Guardian:
Apartment life is a challenge.
"Those who live on higher floors may have to set out for work or school a little earlier than those lower down. Due to chronic power cuts, many elevators work only intermittently, if at all. Many buildings are between 20 and 40 storeys tall – there are stories of old people who have never been able to leave. Even in the better blocks elevators can be sporadic and so people just don't take the chance. Families make great efforts to relocate older relatives on lower floors, but this is difficult and a bribe is sometimes required."
Electricity requires coordination.
"Every day people liaise with their neighbors about the electricity situation. A large proportion of Pyongyang operates an 'alternative suspension of electricity supply' system, meaning that when buildings on one side of the street are blacked out, the other side of the street gets power. When the alternation time arrives there is a mad rush of children as they head for their friends' apartments across the road."