Another video, also from the Children’s Palace in Pyongyang. This one is of a band playing the song “Thunder on Jong-Il Peak”, possibly my favourite of the DPRK’s musical contributions:
To make up for the continuing lack of a DPRK travelogue, I present this video, filmed at one of Pyongyang’s “Children’s Palaces” on our last full day in Pyongyang:
Winter in Beijing is deceptively cold. An absolute minimum of about -10 Celsius may not sound too bad to true cold-weather veterans, but it discounts the effect of the gale-force Siberian winds I encounter riding to and from my university; by some quirk of meteorology, I run into headwinds in both directions. I’m not sure if the psychological factor of knowing the wind has just blown in from Krasnoyarsk by way of Ulaanbaatar plays any part in it, but it does feel colder than should reasonably be expected.
The dodgy centralised heating system in my apartment over which I have absolutely no control doesn’t help, though it adds an element of surprise to my daily routine. It neatly encompasses all that is wrong with the idea of a command economy, providing either precisely the wrong service at precisely the wrong time, or going into Stakhanovite heating overdrive and turning my apartment into a blast furnace, even with all windows open, on the coldest days of winter.
In the face of the cold and astonishingly monochromatic winter, it helps to remember that there are beautiful times and places in this city. While going through some older files today, I rediscovered a small video I took last October while riding around the Houhai area. Nothing much, just a pleasant reminder of greener times.
On Chinese New Year’s Eve, I was fortunate to be invited to stay at the home of a Chinese friend of mine in Eastern Beijing. In preparation for the holiday, his family had bought a veritable arsenal of fireworks, which we all proceeded to set alight with little regard for personal safety. I shot two videos, which nicely capture the feeling of the evening.
The first shows another friend dropping a rather large explosive the wrong way down the firing tube. Listen for the “Aiyo!” shortly after the first explosion, an exclamation filled with the certainty of impending disaster.
Video 1 (11.5MB MPEG)
The second was taken several hours later, at one minute before midnight, when the whole city seemed to be exploding.
Video 2 (15.4MB MPEG)
The videos are large, but I have been unable to satisfactorily compress them. If there is enough demand, I will try again.
Related photos at Imagethief.
Update: There is not enough demand.