If there was any question, it turns out that riding the Pyongyang Metro, North Korea is as surreal and eerie as pretty much everything else in the country.
The Pyongyang Metro, the city’s pride and joy, built in the 1970s and used by some 700,000 people daily, snakes under the capital on two lines at a depth of over 100 meters (328 feet), making it among the world’s deepest rail networks.
Even Puhoong and Yonggwang stations (built in 1987), comparatively the system’s most prominent and lavishly decorated, are moribund. Though there are extravagant murals and mosaics, with only every other bulb in the stations illuminated presumably to save power, it’s difficult to fully appreciate them. The actual platforms are darker than a cocktail bar.
Patriotic music plays in the Pyongyang Metro as passengers silently, meekly go about their business as ever-present security guards monitor their movements. Portraits of past leaders Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il in every car are in aesthetic conflict with the residual graffiti scratched into the windows from the cars’ past lives in East Germany.
Kudos to Jeffery Marlow, and congratulations are clearly in order for his giant balls, who shot this video at Yonggwang station. The photos are also worth a look.