12 Pictures That Show Just How Insane North Korea Is

But here are some images taken by a photographer named Eric Lafforgue, which he then smuggled out of the country, that should give you a much better idea of just how bizarre and crazy life in North Korea truly is.

Soldiers Engage in Manual Labor

There’s nothing wrong with doing a little manual labor, but given the militaristic reputation of North Korea, it’s extremely bizarre to see photos like this one of a soldier randomly toting wood.

Poor Children are Put to Work Early

Poverty is rampant in North Korea, and little kids like the ones above are put to work at an early age to help their families just try to scrape by.

Cars are So Rare that Kids Play in the Street

Amazingly, cars have never been very prevalent in North Korea, so it’s not unusual to see little kids just playing in the middle of a city street, unaware of the dangers that the steadily growing number of cars presents.

Soldiers Need to Hitchhike to Get Anywhere

Public transportation is basically nonexistent in North Korea, and you actually need a permit to travel around the country. It’s a pretty common sight to see actual, active soldiers needing to hitchhike just to get anywhere.

Showing Wealth is Strictly Forbidden

Apparently North Korea is equal opportunity when it comes to trying to hide both poverty and opulence. You’re not supposed to show off your wealth in North Korea, unless of course you’re Kim Jong Un.

You Can’t Show Hunger

With poverty comes hunger, and people in North Korea often struggle to find anything to eat. However, it’s not permitted to take any photos of people struggling with hunger, because apparently denial is a very popular thing with the government.

The Best Supermarkets are Off Limits to Most

And one of the reasons it can be so difficult to get any food is that the top supermarkets in Pyongyang, of which there are two, are only accessed by the elite (those same people who are not allowed to show off their wealth).

Citizens Can Sometimes be Seen Eating Grass

Yeah, we’re mining this whole “malnutrition” thing and pointing out that it gets so bad that, sometimes, you can see North Koreans picking fistfuls of grass to eat.

Computers Without Electricity

North Korea likes to show off the fact that they’ve got computers, but most of the time, there’s no electricity to actually power them.

The Lines for the Bus Are Insane

We mentioned earlier that public transportation is rare. So naturally, where it is available, the lines for the bus are absolutely, ridiculously, ludicrously long.

And the Buses Don’t Always Work

If you’re lucky enough to get on a bus, there’s a solid chance you’ll have to hop out and push when it inevitably breaks down.

Bathing Outdoors is Still Common

Most of us take a shower for granted, but it’s incredibly common in North Korea for people to need to head to the local body of water to wash up, which is something you’d never expect in the 21st century.

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