This is My Holiday
I had an issue at first identifying where the author was coming from exactly, as she gives her background and intention much later in the book. Moreover, her writing style can be rather That having been said, she's a terrific travel writer, capturing moments perfectly, especially impressive as she took as few notes as possible during her stay in case they fell into the wrong hands.
So, start out with the idea that she really wants to meet "real" North Koreans and be pa I had an issue at first identifying where the author was coming from exactly, as she gives her background and intention much later in the book. So, start out with the idea that she really wants to meet "real" North Koreans and be part of their lives as she has in so many other places; as one should realize in advance, this is Not Easy in North Korea, though she meets with about as much success as is realistically possible. Usually, I'd say that if one isn't getting into a book after a while, it likely won't improve a lot.
This story proves an exception. The saddest moment is her observation of a scene, "That looks live slave labor" with the handler agreeing via non-verbal communication; the funniest had to do with being Narration solidly in the very good - excellent range. Jun 22, Margaret Sankey rated it it was ok. North Korea and its surreal commitment to Potemkin displays is fascinating, but I can't help but cringe as Simmons enjoys baiting her handlers and being amused by the thought that she's "getting them in trouble".
You may despise the totalitarian state, but that's not cool. Apr 16, Mary rated it liked it. This travel memoir was a great idea, and I picked it up because I'm fascinated by mysterious North Korea - and an American woman's observations behind the veil seemed like an interesting read. Unfortunately, there was a kind of immaturity in the style - needing to argue sarcastically with the people who were showing her around and using a lot of profanity.
It's her interactions with the woman she calls Older Handler that seem to taint her story with a kind of edgy annoyance. She does have some f This travel memoir was a great idea, and I picked it up because I'm fascinated by mysterious North Korea - and an American woman's observations behind the veil seemed like an interesting read.
She does have some funny descriptions, her photos are interesting and the allusions to Lewis Carroll's Wonderland are great. Kudos to her for being brave enough to travel alone to a dangerous country and to share her observations. But I also couldn't help feeling nervous about what this book could mean to the people who were kind while showing her around.
Jul 14, Jackmccullough rated it really liked it. There are lots of countries I don't know anything about, and I bet you could say the same. Most of them, though, don't hold the fascination of North Korea, partly because of its geopolitical significance, partly because they make such an effort to keep the truth a secret.
For this reason, books about North Korea, rare though they are, will always attract my attention. If you've read Nothing to Envy or The Orphan Master's Son you have gotten a good view of the repression and violence the cult of There are lots of countries I don't know anything about, and I bet you could say the same.
If you've read Nothing to Envy or The Orphan Master's Son you have gotten a good view of the repression and violence the cult of Kim must use to maintain its thus far unbreakable hold on power. My Holiday in North Korea is a different take on it. The author, neither a North Korea expert nor a travel writer, describes herself as someone who loves to travel, and she booked herself on an individual ten-day tour of North Korea. Ten days booked solid with all the attractions the government wanted her to see, accompanied during all her waking hours with two handlers and a driver.
We don't see the prison camps, we don't see the starving peasants, we don't see the kidnapped Japanese. In fact, Simmons's gift is to show us the absurdity of NoKo's as she likes to put it efforts to put their best face forward, boasting of technological marvels and industrial productivity in visits, up to ten or more a day, to sites that are clearly intended to be the best North Korea has to offer, and yet lack such basic amenities as toilet paper and running water, and where burned-out light bulbs are left unchanged for days. And how is the facade maintained? The most common tactic adopted by the handlers and guides is simplicity itself: lie.
Lie when you make your presentations. Lie when you answer questions. Lie when things don't go according to plan. When the handlers run out of lies they switch to evasion. The humor in My Holiday in North Korea is derived mainly from the very absurdity of the lies, which even the handlers can't reasonably expect anyone to believe. A quotation will illustrate her narrative approach: "Glass case after glass case meant to showcase [North] Korea's engineering and manufacturing prowess displayed objects so mind-numbingly boring, anachronistic, and quotidian I truly felt like they were fucking with me.
Polyester brown pants with a matching brown shirt hung proudly in one case. Another case held a few cans of food, and another housed electronics so old, I honestly had to ask what some were one answer, "to make light shine on wall," did little to clarify. I kept having the same thought I'd had so many times before during my visit: Is this really the best they can do? If a stuffed animal behind glass is NoKo putting its best foot forward to impress foreigners, then they really need to rethink their strategy.
Understand, too, that in this same hall of manufacturing masterpieces, there is no running water in the bathroom. Jan 26, Kelsey Myers rated it it was amazing. Just like the country itself, as the title implies, this book perfectly captures that paradoxical nature that is North Korea. In one page it's both depressing and inspiring, heartbreaking and hilarious.
Wendy Simmons herself is the perfect narrator as she is equal parts cheeky smart-ass and astute observer. Those looking for political or historical information on the country won't find much here since even Simmon's guides didn't really seem to know , but this is a fascinating recounting of one Just like the country itself, as the title implies, this book perfectly captures that paradoxical nature that is North Korea. Those looking for political or historical information on the country won't find much here since even Simmon's guides didn't really seem to know , but this is a fascinating recounting of one woman's journey into an insane country.
Dec 03, Sarah rated it liked it Shelves: read-in , nonfiction. As a lover of ruins and hidden-away places of all kinds, I am obviously fascinated with North Korea. Not a lot of depth or context but I enjoyed it. Jun 30, Lalo Dagach rated it it was amazing Shelves: north-korea. I was not sure what to expect from this book, as Wendy Simmons is not an expert on North Korea, and had only visited the country for just over a week. But surprisingly the book turned out to be a must read for anyone interested in the DPRK or anyone who is fascinated by totalitarianism.
It is not a book of history, or politics, nor a firsthand account of life inside North Korea. It is a foreigner's experience of a government constructed, Truman Show-esque, introduction to Pyongyang. Wendy's desc I was not sure what to expect from this book, as Wendy Simmons is not an expert on North Korea, and had only visited the country for just over a week. Wendy's describes how some things seen in Pyongyang are obvious illusions for the benefit of tourism, and therefore anything or everything could be an illusion. Crowds spontaneously appearing at deserted amusement parks.
Subway travelers that seems to be in perfect military alignment. Wendy draws a perfect parallel with Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland', as she's goes down a rabbit hole of psychological and emotional gaslighting. One could think of this book as, not an "outside the box, looking in", but an "outside the box, only shown the gift-wrapping and never looking inside. Jan 02, Miri rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction , female-authors , korea.
I almost didn't take this home, irritated with it for seeming flippant about a subject that is not in any way amusing particularly after I'd just finished accounts by Jang Jin-sung and Suki Kim that were emotional and difficult to read. I flipped through to see the photos, of which there are many, and ended up checking it out just in case. I'm glad I did. Thankfully, Wendy Simmons deserves more credit than I was giving her; while there is humor in the book, it's the dark kind that we employ wh I almost didn't take this home, irritated with it for seeming flippant about a subject that is not in any way amusing particularly after I'd just finished accounts by Jang Jin-sung and Suki Kim that were emotional and difficult to read.
Thankfully, Wendy Simmons deserves more credit than I was giving her; while there is humor in the book, it's the dark kind that we employ when we need help accepting an unacceptable situation. Her memoir uses Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland as a framework, and the quotes that accompany each chapter and photo are surprisingly, upsettingly appropriate. It's an excellent, detailed personal account of what an American tourist experiences in North Korea. Here's the weirdest thing about reading this book when I did: Having lived in the United States for the past two years, I was already familiar with the experience Simmons underwent.
Not that of having been to North Korea, and obviously that situation is many times more concentrated than our own. But that of reality unraveling, words being used regardless of their meaning, things being called "facts" that are one hundred percent not factual, people denying things they said only moments before, on video. Looking around, reading the news, hearing people speak, and having to repeatedly question whether something that can clearly not be happening, but is in fact happening, is actually happening.
We have had only two years of it, but there are more coming, and in reading this book I was seeing where this could go if we don't stop it. It's pretty fucking unsettling. Jun 01, Joshua Kail rated it it was amazing. How does one write honestly about a place when everything about it is part of an elaborate play put on just for you?
This is the challenge Wendy Simmons faced in writing about her trip to North Korea. By combining her award winning photographic skills, history as an experience solo traveler, and her natural wit, Ms. Simmons conquered this challenge in an amusing and insightful way. With the help of Lewis Carol My Holiday in North Korea takes the reader deeper through the looking glass than ever b How does one write honestly about a place when everything about it is part of an elaborate play put on just for you?
With the help of Lewis Carol My Holiday in North Korea takes the reader deeper through the looking glass than ever before into the mysteries of the country. At times you will feel, just as Ms. Simmons did, unsure as to what was real and what was ruse. You will feel her frustrations, and find her humor, You will walk away from the book with a deeper understanding of the region and new perspective of the ongoing political escalations from North Korea in the news.
What makes My Holiday different than any other travelogue on the country is that the focus above all else is on the people of the country as individuals. This is not a book on political commentary or a highlight of evil, this is a book showing the stories and struggles of real people. Simmons is able to bring a sense of humanity to a place so often affiliated with rhetoric. She highlights those common bond similarities which make us all the same, from the teen boy playing it cool, to her handler's dreams of running a cafe.
I listened to the Audible version of this book and it was amazing. Had it not been for her prolific use of the f-word, I would have given this book five stars. I honestly don't see how that language enhanced the book, but it's her book, so there it is. Her descriptions of everything she saw, heard, and suspected kept me riveted. While I've not done as much traveling as the author has, I've done quite a lot and I share her love of and reasons for it.
Most of us will never make our way to NoKo I l I listened to the Audible version of this book and it was amazing. Most of us will never make our way to NoKo I love that moniker so experiencing it through her honest observations and experiences is the next best thing. I was astonished by the things she saw, the people she met, and by some similarities to what I experienced in China: the "handler" who'd wanted to be a vet but the government told him he had to be a tour guide; the lack of running water and T.
And just when you think you can't possibly be blown away by her stories any further, just wait until you hear about her return to Brooklyn and the woman getting the pedicure next to her. It's time beautifully spent.
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Apr 05, Deborah Blanchard rated it it was amazing Shelves: for-review , travel. This was a book that I found to be quite entertaining to read. I laughed out loud, a lot. It was witty and humorous , but also, heartwarming. You could tell how much empathy the author felt for the North Korean people. It is well written and flows well. I loved all the pictures. They gave you some sense of what North Korea is like. They seem to live on a different plane of existence. You really have to read this book to get a good sense of what I am talking about.
I really enjoyed how she used q This was a book that I found to be quite entertaining to read. They kind of captured how surreal of a place North Korea is. I truly enjoyed this book. I recommend everyone read it. True entertainment and I learned a lot that I did not know. Thank you to Kelly Leonard , Digital Marketing Strategist, for allowing me the privilege of this gift of a book.
View 1 comment. Aug 01, Cynthia rated it did not like it Shelves: nonfiction. My advice to any would-be reader is to look at the pictures and forget the narration. The writer is the quintessential Ugly American. She comes across as immature, arrogant "I have great instincts, high emotional intelligence, and a tremendous amount of empathy" and "I tend to get what's going on even when no one else does" , hateful "I hate North Korea" , and condescending she refers to North Korea as "NOKO" throughout the book.
Plus, she uses the "F word" throughout; really, in a travel bo My advice to any would-be reader is to look at the pictures and forget the narration. Plus, she uses the "F word" throughout; really, in a travel book?! I only kept slogging through because when she wasn't being her hateful self or cussing, her descriptions were interesting. Jul 07, Kristy S. You will vicariously experience firsthand what it would be like to travel through and visit the sites of North Korea — this book is an absolute gem for that reason, and congrats to Wendy for taking the risk to bring us this book.
Jun 23, Kate rated it it was ok. I actually finished a book that was not a re-read of a Jane Austen book. My head has been in a special place as of late. This book gets an extra star because I finished it! I haven't finished any of the last 16 books I have picked up. I listened to it while sick and could not sleep or open my eyes. This felt And it tried I am interested enough to read more about North Korea Apr 08, Susan rated it liked it. I struggled reading this book. It wasn't very laughable or witty and the sarcasm was so trite.
It did give the reader some sense of life in North Korea, but It could have been much more effective in some other format than a "travelogue" approach. Jun 27, Morgan rated it it was amazing. Funny and well written, Wendy makes you feel like you're there with her. I like the way she found the humour in the stark circumstances of her visit. I highly recommend this book! Aug 10, Catherine rated it it was amazing. Okay I loved this book. I love reading about North Korea and this was a completely different take. It was funny, it was genuine and it had pictures!
What more can you ask for? It was ok, I'd recommend if you are very interested in North Korea and enjoy travel books. It is very short and contains a lot of pictures, so should be a fast read. Lots of interesting tidbits about North Korean life, like people aren't allowed to own cars, that they have to bow at every statues of the great Kims. I wish she had gone into why she wanted to vacation there, and the details of how she went about setting up the trip.
I'm assuming you can't just get on Expedia and book a tour, but wh It was ok, I'd recommend if you are very interested in North Korea and enjoy travel books. I have to say though, that because I couldn't sing we were able to see so much more than normal. I'd never been in Morgan's before and loved it. A couple of days when the rain was very heavy, the clubs and pubs were packed all day so the atmosphere was amazing in most places.
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The tat shops must have made a fortune that day as almost everyone we met was wearing a rain poncho. Weather-wise, we had a great fortnight, apart from the couple of rainy days but it was still warm. In our first week it went up to 27 which is a tad hot for me but I wasn't complaining In fact, the day that it reached 27 was when we had our 2nd TA meet so we were all sitting in the scorching heat of the Tiki Beach Bar, having a laugh and people watching.
For anyone who hasn't been to the Tiki Beach bar It is indeed an eye-opener. There was only one glitch on my otherwise fab holiday and that was when some low-life stole my phone. I seriously think I'd have coped better if they'd stolen my man I can't think of anything else right now. It's difficult to remember everything over the last fortnight but as soon as I do, you'll be the first to know If you don't know that then it's next door to Rosamar or 2 up from Calypso Sounds like you had a cracking holiday and made the most of it even on the rainy days. Not nice to be the victim of theft.
They are indeed low life. Great that you had such a nice time even if you do have to put up with your bloke a bit longer Few glitches Mo and the phone theft was diabolical! My OH says that when I think my phone is missing, I have the frantic look of a woman whose just left the baby on the bus so I fully understand!
Riviera sounds lovely, you did the rounds and weathered a bit of rain. Look forward to your Louis Armstrong impression on YouTube only kidding!
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Hope you're back in fine voice. I bet you managed a few strong words about the thief! So glad you had great time, in spite of! That's the way to go! Besides, while people are being stuck in traffic jam, the smokes of the vehicles can cause many lung diseases as well as cause the air pollution that is the world-wide problem. It can help to reduce traffic jam in our country. Everyday, at 4. Normally one team pre- deposits. And then we have a match in which each team tries very hard to win because the losing team has to pay It is very fun to play with a simple purpose like that.
If we play in the day time, the fee will be cheaper. Playing football helps me to improve my health and let out the stress after a day-long hard working and studying. Also Bana Hills scenes are peaceful and poetry. Besides, I also like Thuan Phuoc bridge, Danang city is famous for its bridges, but maybe Thuan Phuoc is the most creative and poetry bridge.
I usually ride my motorbike across it because I want to see all the city view from this bridge. It is fascinating.
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Danang also had a beautiful long beach which is one of five most beautiful beach in the world. Every afternoon, there are thousands of Danang citizens go to the beach for many activities such as swimming, flying the kites or just jogging. I myself like to swim because I feel it very healthy for life. I usually get up at 6 am. Then I do my personal hygiene, after that I often do exercise and have breakfast at 7am. I go to the construction place where I am doing my apprentice time from 8am to 11am.
After that, I go home, then I go to the market to buy something for lunch with my roommates. I like cooking because I can cook well. After having the delicious lunch meals, we take a short nap and then, at around 2pm, I go to the construction place again and continue my morning job, I finish my work at 5pm. I enjoy this time of the day very much because I can relax after a hard-working day.
I go to bed at 11pm.
My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth by Wendy E. Simmons
It is usually available every Tuesday night. It is very interesting. The game is a competition in which at first 10 people have to answer a question with the fastest time to become the chief player. If the player fails to answer, he or she will be out. And the competition repeats from the beginning.
We like this program because it is exciting and especially the prize of the game, the winner answers 15 questions correctly will receive the big amount of money of It is wonderful. My main job is to design constructions such as public constructions, apartment buildings and houses. In my work, we have to be creative and discipline. We can work in supervising and consulting to build architectural constructions.
We can work individually or team-work. It also requires skills of an architecture and an engineer. I like this job because I can design constructions that can bring many conveniences for society in general and every family in particular. Truthfully, wherever I have lived I have had many advantages and disadvantages. The advantages that I have had when I live in Danang city is to live in the dynamic and bustling environment.
It is very suitable to a young person like me. In Danang city, there are many public vehicles that meet the demands of Danang citizens. The entertainment services and travel services are also better. However there are many disadvantages such as: I always feel dangerous when crossing the streets because the streets are crowded. The price of everything here is also higher than my hometown. I find it hard to buy things with my little money.
Although there are many disadvantages, I still like to live in Danang city. In the countryside, I feel very relax and comfortable, the air is fresh and pure and especially the people there, everybody is very friendly and kind. I like to walk on the long village roads in the morning. It is very peaceful and the sound of the new day is so interesting. The price there is also very cheap. I think living in the country will help us to have good health because of the fresh air with little pollution. I first met her when I was the first year student in the university.
She had taught me for 3 years and after that she quit the university. She is the teacher that I love most. She is about 25 years old, she come from Hanoi. She is rather tall for a lady. She has light brown curly hair and always wears thick glasses. She is rather strict. However, she actually very approachable and always concerned about her students. Her teaching methods are usually effective. She corrects the mistakes of pronunciation, grammar and English structures carefully. She made the students practice a lot of with short sentences intonation to help them improve their pronunciation.
At the end of each lesson, she gives us the exercises and clearly explains them to correct the mistakes if there was any. Her method is very good, we can feel our progress lesson by lesson. I respect and love her so much. She is really my favorite teacher. Nowadays, it is undeniable that English is an international language.
It has been used in all fields of education, communication, transportation and public activities. English has been spoken everywhere, and it is the language of many books in various fields such as: science, technology, geography, travelling, etc. Many students are coming to the foreign language centers to study English with the hope of being capable of using it for different purposes.
It is so important that English should become a compulsory subject for all students at universities in many countries. If you can use English very well, you will have good chances to have good jobs in the future. So we should learn English as soon as possible. English is one of the best ways for us to have a good life in the future. In my studying, I find that leaning English is very important. But personally, when I study it, I find it difficult to study listening, speaking and writing. Because I just have little English vocabularies.
With me, to deal with the difficulties in learning E I think I should study many more vocabularies. In speaking E, I must I practice listening through songs, news, films, or even games. I wish I would be better in E in the near future. According to some newspaper, her childhood is very bad. She was born in poor family but her mother tries to give her opportunities to study in acting classes. She is a perfect model of modern woman for many girls to follow. It is her that help me to have better life and hope in the future to continue to try in my life to have a better future.
Secondly, when you want to go somewhere you can ride a bike. It helps to improve your health. But since it goes slowly, you can only use it in a short distance or go for a picnic or so on. Today, gasoline price is so high. So it is expensive to use motorbikes, cars to go somewhere, so it is best to use bicycle. What do you think if you ride a bike around or ride along the beach every morning? If you wake up in the early morning, you can see many people, the young or the old both go out to do exercises.
People do many kind of sports such as football, basketball, tennis, badminton, etc. People do exercises because these kinds of activities help them to improve their health, to keep in shape and especially doing exercises helps us to decrease stress after working hours. Personally, I think the most popular sport in Vietnam is football. Therefore there are many football grounds, satisfying the requirements of everybody.
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