Picture of the week: roller skating in Pyongyang

Roller skating in Pyongyang

Pyongyang is often perceived as a city in black and white, populated by automatons devoid of life. While the socialist architecture, somewhat regimented lifestyle and dim lights are real and contribute to this perception, there are still plenty of colors and life to be found. Families enjoy a day by the river or a picnic at the park. Kids love to fool around, and teenagers enjoy dressing in the latest available fashion. People, while distant at a first glance, are always happy to respond to smiles and waves, and foreigners can pretty easily join the locals for dances and celebrations. There is even the occasional traffic jam.

The city is evolving fast, and a recent blog sheds light on modern living in Pyongyang with a distinctively western flair. Of course, the blog, which some have labeled a propaganda tool, describes the lifestyle of a minority, but overall enhancements to infrastructure, advances in architecture, and improvements to leisure facilities and transportation benefit all. Beyond the buildings, beyond the regime, there are people, who, probably better than us westerners, can often find happiness and pleasure in the little things in life.