18 Surreal And Revealing Instagrams From North Korea

David Guttenfelder, photographer from the Associated Press, uploaded these bizarre glimpses of North Korea in real time to his Instagram account between January and April. posted on

1. Pyongyang, North Korea.

2. North Korean traffic policemen lacing up their skates before going ice-skating at a local skating rink.

3. A soldier reading at a desk at the Grand People’s Study House in Pyongyang.

4. An empty Pyongyang restaurant.

5. Two girls covering Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”

6. Smoke hanging in the air of a local coffee shop.

7. A man walking past a billboard advertising North Korea’s recently launched Unha-3 rocket in the lobby of a Pyongyang hotel.

8. A Pyongyang photo lab.

9. Synchronized swimming in a local pool.

10. North Korean children playing in Mansu Hill, a square in downtown Pyongyang dedicated to North Korea’s great leaders.

11. This photo of a North Korean tour guide is actually the first photo Guttenfelder was able to upload via 3G:

A North Korean guide uses a pointer at the start of a tour of an historic site. On Jan. 18, 2013, foreigners were allowed for the first time to bring mobile phones into North Korea. And this week the local service provider, Koryolink, is allowing foreigners to access the Internet on a data capable 3G connection on our mobile phones. In the past I could post geolocated phone photos to my Instagram feed by turning my online laptop into a hotspot to link my iPhone or iPod touch by wifi. But, today I’m posting this directly from my phone while riding in the back of a van in #Pyongyang. The window on to North Korea has opened another crack. Meanwhile, for Koreans here who will not have access to the same service, the window remains shut.

12. A karaoke room.

13. Two North Koreans playing pool at Hyangsan Hotel at the base of Mount Myohyang.

14. Rollerblading at a skating rink in Pyongyang.

15. North Koreans in winter gloves and coats using computers connected to the local internet at a massive library in Pyongyang called The Grand People’s Study House.

16. A popcorn vendor in the lobby of a grocery store.

17. Students attending English language class.

18. Caricatures of Japanese and American soldiers at a Pyongyang kindergarten that children pretend to shoot and bayonet.

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