Monday, April 18, 2022

Travel the World - North Korea

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...

North Korea

Located in East Asia, North Korea's three bordering countries are China, Russia, and South Korea.

North Korea covers a land area of 47,399 square miles.

Contrary to common belief, North Korea does not run a communist system. Although it’s believed that they follow the Marxism-Leninism doctrine. The ideology of communism was abolished in the 1950s, since then, North Korea has been practicing the Juche idea, a continuation of the teaching of Marx and Lenin. The connotation of the Juche idea is autonomy, self-reliance, and independence. It is an adoption of socialist self-reliance. Over time, the mention of communism started getting wiped from the constitution of North Korea, and in 2009, it eventually disappeared altogether.

North Korea has strict border controls. The Demilitarized Zone, which is 148 miles in length, is the most heavily guarded and militarized area in the world.

North Korea is rich in mineral resources. This includes ore deposits, high-grade iron, lignite coal, copper, lead, silver, phosphate rock, gold, and tungsten.

At an elevation of 9,003 feet, Mount Paektu (or White Head Mountain) is the highest mountain peak in North Korea.

While it’s not the most powerful military force in the world, experts say that the North Korean army is definitely the largest with more than 1.2 million soldiers. 

Military service is mandatory for both men and women, with the men serving for ten years and women until at least age 23.

There is only one candidate to vote for in the North Korean elections, which take place every five years.

North Koreans must abide by one of 28 approved haircuts. Unmarried women must have short hair, but married woman have many more options. The hair of young men should be less than 2 inches long, older men can go as long as 2¾ inches.

Electric power largely shuts down at night in North Korea, and the homes that have electricity often receive only a few hours per day.

North Korea is only one of the few places where residents do not have to shell out anything for taxes. 

With seats for 150,000 people, the Rungrado Stadium in North Korea is without a doubt the biggest stadium in the world. Michigan Stadium comes at second place with over 40,000 seats less. 

North Korea has a "three generations of punishment" policy. If someone breaks the law, it’s not only that person who gets punished, but the whole family for three generations forward. 

People in North Korea don't know much about the rest of the world.

There are only three television channels in North Korea. Two of these channels only air during the weekend, and soap operas from South Korea are smuggled.

South Korean operas are very popular, and are illegally broadcasted or smuggled in. However, if the regime finds out about it, the penalty could be as harsh as death.

North Korea is among the most beautiful countries in the world, with sublime landscapes, culture, and exquisite animals. About 70% of the country is covered by forests that provide a natural habitat for several species of plants and animals. 

The White-Naped Crane inhabits the grassy marshes, reed beds, and wet meadows of the broad river valleys. The bird has a gray body, a white and greyish neck, pinkish legs, and a white head with red patches around the eyes. The migratory birds are found around the demilitarized zone where they assemble before heading to Japan to join other hooded cranes.

Although the Asiatic Black Bear is considered threatened in South Korea, the North Korean population is relatively stable.

The lynx inhabits the montane forest of North Korea. It avoids human contact and mostly hunts at night.

The Siberian musk deer inhabits the montane forest across Northeast Asia. Its small size allows it to hide and run faster than most predators. Although the animal has fangs, it is herbivorous and feeds on lichens, leaves, pine needles, and bark.

It is against the law to wear jeans in North Korea.

The families of children must pay for all of their school expenses in North Korea. School children need to provide their own chairs and desks. They even have to pay for their heating. Students even plow the fields for the government. Because of this, some parents like to keep their kids at home. They need to bribe the teachers for that, too.

North Koreans cannot be named after their leaders. If someone is already named as that of the leader, before the accession of power, the name must be quickly changed. 

It is only legal to listen to music if it has been approved by the government.

Government permission is required to own a computer in North Korea.

The greatest health risk of North Korea is hunger.

About 12 million North Koreans suffer from poverty and lack of basic human needs.

Rice is a staple crop in North Korea.

North Korea is one of the top countries in the world that export fishery products. Aside from seafood, North Korea also exports monuments.

Rollerblading is popular in North Korea, especially in its capital.

In North Korea, Christmas is not a big event or celebration. However, they do have an event on December 24th, and it’s the birthday of Kim Jong-Il’s mom. Also, Valentine’s Day is not a special holiday. However, February 16 is an important day. It’s called, “The General’s Birthday”.

Healthcare is free in North Korea.

North Korean workers enjoy virtually no free time. They have to work six days a week, with the seventh day spent doing ‘enforced’ voluntary work.

Tourists to North Korea (there are only about 6,000 annually) need permission to speak to locals. The locals will likely run away if a tourist attempts to take their pictures.

Bicycles in North Korea are registered just like cars and have license plates.

Only military and government officials can own motor vehicles.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about North Korea... Tourists to North Korea (there are only about 6,000 annually) need permission to speak to locals. The locals will likely run away if a tourist attempts to take their pictures.

My friend Becca suggested I add this card to the current challenge on the Heart's Quest Challenge blog - Love Theme #2 - which can be found HERE.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Die Sets: Unity Moments Between Moments stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers and Your Next Stamp Cheeky Monkey stamped with Memento Lady Bug Ink

Paper: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Real Red CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: Unity Scallops & Rectangles

Embellishments: Taylored Expressions Drip Drop


Becca Sadler, owner and manager of HQCB and FQCB said...

Yea! Your card image meets the 2 required criteria of the current Love Theme #2 challenge at HQCB!!--have a heart or the word love AND a female figure. It's our time to show some love for a female friend or relative. Your card is bold and very cheery with the deep reds. And your choice of image works perfectly for your world travel feature!! Thanks for linking to HQCB!!!--Becca/owner

kiwimeskreations said...

Thanks for your 'visit' to North Korea - such a sad country when you consider how mineral rich they are.
Love how you have taken that fact about tourists and photography and turn it into this fabulous card Jeanette

Lynn McAuley said...

Learned so much from this post, Jeanette, and I love this sensational card.