What North Korea Really Looks Like

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An Associated Press story that ran Thursday* morning told the tale of a North Korean press bus that took a wrong turn into a part of Pyongyang usually shielded from reporters. Woops! 

What did the reporters see? "There were stores with no lights, and side roads so battered they were more dirt than pavement," reporter Tim Sullivan wrote of the unexpected detour.The image above shows one such dark storefront.

Below, a dirt path leads to a residential complex that would normally stay hidden from foreign eyes and cameras. It stands in contrast to "Pyongyang's drab-but-spotless main roads, the only streets that journalists normally see, with their revolutionary posters urging North Koreans to struggle toward a Stalinist paradise":

These men are watching a plane fly overhead:

"Most foreign visitors to Pyongyang never encounter a pothole, a traffic jam or a piece of litter larger than a cigarette butt. They see no people with physical disabilities, and no graffiti."

*Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated the Associated Press report ran on Wednesday. In fact, it ran on Thursday.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.