Blame Google Sites (and this two-column structure idea of mine) for limited functionality
We also met our handlers, two men from the Foreign Ministry, whom we gave code names. Unusually, both men had lived in the US, in addition to other countries, as embassy staffers.
It was hard to reconcile this with our notion of hermetically-sealed North Koreans: Did it mean they'd passed the ultimate loyalty test? That they were even more ideologically committed than most NKers? How on earth do they reconcile the differences they see between their experience abroad and what they'd always been told?
Our trip coincided with the "Respected Leader" Kim Jong Un's birthday. On that day, the little stalls that dotted the city and sold small sundries had long lines as they distributed treats.
When we asked how old Un had turned (29? 30?), we were told that "Koreans keep track of age differently" than we do. Alright, then.
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