North Korean capital has a night life - minus the dazzleSeptember 12th, 2010 - 3:40 pm ICT by IANS
Pyongyang, Sep 12 (IANS) Life in Pyongyang, capital city of North Korea, is boisterous and fun-filled even as the country is threatened with military action from the West due to its nuclear programme, reports Xinhua.
Screams from roller coaster rides, karaoke and clink of beer glasses at night clubs seem to be quite a picture of metropolitan areas like New York, Tokyo or Beijing.
Well, make no mistake. This is what actually happens at night in Pyongyang.
Though without dazzling neon signs, the hustle and bustle of discos or the notorious red-light districts, night life in Pyongyang is not cloaked in silence.
Built in the 1980s in Pyongyang’s Moranbong area, the Kaeson Youth Park used to operate only a handful of simple rides and was open to the public only during the daytime and on holidays. With a restoration being done by authorities, tourists can now have fun, even at night, with an Italy-made “jumping machine”, pirate ship and roller coaster being rated at the top by visitors.
There are also video-game lounges, where children were seen shooting flying saucers and racing cars.
“Over 5,000 people visited the park every night. And it is a good place for people to be relaxed after a day’s work,” Kim Hyok, the park’s director, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
While a visit to the park is not free of charge, it does not cost that much either.
An adult ticket costs 20 won (21 cents) and one for a child 10 won. And it costs about 250 won or $2.65 to take part in all the facilities. For foreigners, however, the ticket costs one euro ($1.27).
Even though electricity is in short supply in North Korea, authorities have specially laid two cables to guarantee regular service to the park.
Karaoke - popularly known in Pyongyang as “film-accompanied music” - is another popular night time entertainment.
Even the country’s leader, Kim Jong Il, has supported popularising karaoke as he says it was a good way to make the lives of all people varied and rich.
In many restaurants in the capital city, karaoke as well as popular music is played for the pleasure of customers. To liven things up, waitresses are also trained to sing.
Beer bars and pubs are also reporting huge turnouts as night falls upon Pyongyang.
Bars are seen filled with laughter, cheers, and the aroma of tasty homemade beer.
The Qingxing beer house, Pyongyang’s largest bar, opened in April this year with a capacity of 1,000 people.
While retired people and housewives are seen in the daytime, government officials, public servants and workers would arrive after office hours.
Interestingly, the beer bar prepares only tables for customers and provides no chairs. Drinkers have to stand, while waiters serve beverages in carts.
During summer, the beer bar receives an estimated 3,500 to 4,000 customers per day.
Meanwhile, in a bid to attract more female customers, the Taedong Beer Brewhouse, which produces beer in a Pyongyang surburb, was preparing a fruity flavour.
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