Day four began at the exact time they said it would, seven. At 7 the phone rang and politely said wake up. I took a few pictures from the balcony of the mountains behind our hotel; I had been in NK for about 24 hours and only had two pictures of the train station in Pyongyang. We went down for breakfast and sat at the same table number three which had a pleasant view of a clean river, the mountains, and the lavish entrance to the hotel. After breakfast we had a few minutes to go back to the room to prepare for the day. The elevator door opens and I see a beautiful girl in a white flowery traditional style Korean dress and as my head goes from down to up I see her face and it was UB! She had changed out of her drab navy blue into a beautiful gown accented with a little makeup. Tom and I, shocked at her transformation said nearly nothing on the ride up. She said to be down soon and after a quick trip in the room to organize and memorize the exact placement of all my things in the bag as to know if a spy had searched the room and our belongings, we headed out. A short stop at the clean river where UB told me it was safe to drink the tap water in the hotel, unimaginable after being in dirty China, all six of us jumped into the van to go to the Friendship Hall. As usual everyone was in their proper seats which never changed throughout the trip. UB explained what the Friendship Hall was only a ten minute drive to the complex, and I began to start thinking that this place is darn special to them. They had their fancy clothes and we were going to the exhibition hall of their two great leaders which house all of the gifts given to the leaders from other countries of the world. Upon arrival we were greeted by yet another tour guide. She was middle-aged, white faced with red lips which matched her red, tradition Korean dress accented with a green bow. There were now seven of us and we were nearly alone at the complex. Our spies arranged for us to go before the Chinese tour groups so we could have a quiet and pleasant experience. We approach a well kept building in Korean style architecture, which is about 4 stories with two massive doors and is set into the side of the mountain. This, the first of two, was the Eternal President Kim Il Song’s gift exhibition hall. You walk in and put booties over your shoes and enter the first room around the corner of the main hall walled with marble. In the room is a large statue of the Eternal President and everyone bows. I also did as to not offend them. On either side are showcased some of the most exquisite gifts from some of the most important political leaders around the globe. Also, there is a map of the world which shows all of the countries who have presented gifts, including the glowing red light of Washington DC. UB then says to me, see how many countries like him. This is straight propaganda. We walked around in the complex for nearly an hour and a half scurrying ahead of the noisy Chinese packs of tourists. Most of the gifts were from the Chinese. The American gifts consisted of a few small trinkets and a poster painted by some youth communist group of America. There is anything and everything in there, from cultural relics and traditional art to a digital camera or a bottle of brandy. Meanwhile conversation is flowing about the meaning of all this and how they look at their leaders. UB was very happy to call Kim Il Song her grandfather. It made her smile to have such a wonderful grandfather. We began to understand their common thinking process as I talked with UB as Tom conversed in Spanish with Pok. We were about to enter another room but before we were given some instructions. We were to enter a room that had a wax figure of the Eternal President. We were told to bow to him to show our respect. Walking in, the replica is set on the top of a mountain, most likely Chang Bai Shan which borders China, with some trees surrounding him under a blue sky with the wind blowing. It is an incredibly odd feeling to bow to. He looks as if he is just going to walk right down and say hello. I felt as I was looking into a real man with my eyes of the western media, thinking I had nearly come face to face with the devil. Out we went and snapped a few photos under a ceiling of clean air, blue skies and warm sun. We next meandered to the son’s exhibition hall to see his gifts. I saw a soldier as I was walking, symbolic soldier, and I asked UB if I could take a picture of him. She responded with, why do you want to take a picture of a soldier? It was maybe a polite way to say no, so I dropped the subject. Kim Jung Il has a similar but smaller place, also built into the mountainside. The pictures, furniture, the gifts became more routine and I began to ask UB about the beliefs of the country. These beliefs are intimately inter-tangled into the political theater. She explained her and her people’s beliefs very simply. She said that the Eternal President and the General are wonderful people whom all Koreans love; they believe in peaceful re-unification of the nation of Korea, and they believe that the imperialist (namely the Americans) need to leave the nation of Korea. There is also the Juche idea—“a great idea” ennobling everything good and denouncing everything bad, by otherwise hard to define. The guide took us up to the balcony of Kim Jung Il’s gift hall, presumably where Kim Jung Il would sit himself and we had a chat about all the things we had seen and the impression it made on us. The impression I had was different than I spoke. I walked around thinking propaganda, propaganda, propaganda. They walk around thinking other people love their leader too. I mean, why would you give a gift if you didn’t think he was great, right?! Mid-morning we left the complex to go to a temple and with a better understanding of their ides and thoughts of the world. It was a Buddhist temple that dated pre-Korean written language, but more importantly it dated pre-Korean War. There are few buildings that date before the Korean War. They were all bombed by American imperialists they told us. A nice temple and well preserved, it was clean, set up in the mountains with views of green trees flowing into the neighboring valley. It was of no great importance, but was just down the street and a thirty minute visit was just fine by me. Back to the hotel for lunch. The Koreans leave us when we arrived back at the hotel. They would eat their lunch somewhere else. Lunch was some sort of western-esque lunch and was different than the Chinese people’s lunch who ate Chinese food. I was beginning to want some Korean food. After lunch, as instructed, we went back to our rooms and I was waiting to catch something different about the arrangement of my bag. I couldn’t find any reason to suspect that it had been touched. We came down with our rucksacks on our backs ready to go to a mountain for the early part of the afternoon before heading back to Pyongyang for the Arirang festival. In the room Tom and I quietly discussed our personal feelings of what we had seen and what we thought of the spies, all in a hush-hush tone. UB had changed her clothes from a beautiful dress to more athletic attire. The spies were still wearing the same outfit: polyester navy/black suite, button down shirt with a tie and lapel pins of Kim. The day was now quite warm and I would have been happy to wear shorts if I had brought some. Off to the trekking point that was no more than twenty minutes away as we were already in a mountainous area, which is most of what NK is. Our little posse arrives and at the trailhead and there is a group of Koreans with instruments, playing music and singing songs while having a BBQ. They were happy and carefree enjoying the good spring weather and their family. It was about one PM and we had to be back at the car around 3. Spy one and our driver decided to stay at the car park and smoke while spy number two was forced to be our tag along. We headed up the steps/trail after spy number two shed his polyester jacket. Tom began at a quick pace and UB followed as there was a bit of a joke of who would reach the top first. Tom’s real objective was to lose the spy and the spy was caught between waiting for me, purposely slowing the pace to put the spy in a conundrum, while Tom raced to the top. Playing games on spies!!! UB was left with me as the spy chased down Tom. We stopped for rests frequently as we ascended the mountain that was splattered with propaganda about how beautiful NK is and the Juche idea that was inscribed into large granite rock faces above the valley we were hiking through. We came to maybe the second or third waterfall, the largest to this point, and took a rest at the base of the cascading fall where the water gathered into a pool. UB called me over to where she was squatting on the bank of the stream and said come look. At what? Come here and look. What? Closer! What? And she heaved a handful of water in my face and began laughing! I, with a gaze of amusement and a tilted little smirk I shook my head as thoughts began to warp my mind. At that moment I had realized I had been making a big mistake. I was supposed to be the lively person. I am the outgoing person who people like to chat and party with. I am the free one…? And yet a young, innocent, university student from NK had played a joke on me. I always try to play the first joke. I always try to make the first laugh and I was being played by UB. I had to do some reconciliation with my behavior up to this point of the trip and I had to reconcile with the outside world which I would return and report to. I was looking for poverty, destitution and any perversion I could find and that had stopped me from what was real. I was going into NK with the exact mindset the West wanted, not my mind. This was the incredible turning point which can’t be written. It is in me and comes out only in tears. The day brightens, the jokes ensued, the hop to my step was a