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Apparantly North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has died. http://edition.cnn.com/2011/12/18/world/asia/north-korea-leader-dead/?hpt=hp_t1


I actually think its a good thing. I have to assume his son is more pragmatic and will move towards some sort of normalization. The people are starving. However, some say its the military thats actually in charge. If so, then the threats will continue but nothing large scale.

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I always wished to travel to North Korea as a tourist.

I have always wanted to travel to Cuba as a tourist.

I did travel to East Germany before the wall came down.

I have been to North Vietnam before the influx of tourism and US recognition.


I just like to view how Communism screws things up so badly.




In Hanoi, stayed at one of the "modern" Communist hotels. Ten or eleven floors. And price for room went down the higher the floor. As when constructed in the 1970's there was no elevator/lift. When I stayed there there was an elevator installed but it didn't fit the opening correctly. There was a gap on each side of door. But the old price structure remained. Cheaper rooms the higher one goes. I got up early one morning and all of the employees were sleeping on the floor of the main dining room. Later that morning went down for breakfast in the smaller dining room. Ordered a Western style breakfast. Was told that breakfast had to be ordered one day ahead. There were a bunch of Koreans sitting having a big breakfast. I asked how they got their breakfast. Waitress stated that they had ordered breakfast "yesterday". The breakfast dining room did have coffee and juice. So that was the breakfast at that modern Communist hotel. Gotta love the Commies!

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Not much seems to have changed in Laos. I was there both before and after the reds took over. It looks more or less the same, except the Royal Lao flag has been replaced by the banner of the Laotian Communist Party. In Wiengchan the people ignore the government, though student protests for democracy were stomped on hard a few years ago.


A colleague from Vietnam told me that for a few years after the communists took over the South, they were very dogmatic. Everything was straight out of Marx, with members of the defeated regime being thrown into "re-education camps" for years. But then the government relaxed and officials became just as corrupt as in the rest of SE Asia. He said to me, "Remember how the mountains were covered with forests?" I said I certaily did. He repplied, "Not any more. The communist officials cut them down and sold the wood." His father was a forestry official, but there was nothing he could do to stop it.






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