“It’s amazing, they just went out and went to a shop!”
Yes, my own quote. But the reality is two white guys such as Alex and myself can’t very well walk down the street in Pyongyang without something happening, can we?
So being restricted to this building, caused us to improvise.
Maybe the top floor has a view?
So our adventure begins. We left our eleventh floor living box and aimed for the stairs to avoid detection. We had 19 floors to the top but we also had the time. Before ascending far, the stair case suddenly ceases at the 14th floor. Strange. We step into the hallway to see some young fellows, of some sports team we’d spied earlier in the lobby, politely staring, almost certainly as curious as us about the whole situation.
But before we reached the end of the hall, we stumbled upon another stairwell where a room should be. Damp and unlit, we climbed in a square fashion sticking close to the walls and breathing softly. Only to find ourselves in level 16, skipping 15. Where’s their fire escape?
The previous night Alex and I discovered level 2 hidden away out of sight. Only half a corridor long with a sign for a ‘sauna’ at one end and one for ‘massage’ at the other. No elevator to this level, but no stairs to 15 seemed more odd.
We headed back to the lift, greeted once again by our sporty friends with “Hello” and “No English.” We would take the elevator from this level. The up button was pressed, and the carriage arrived with the operator waiting inside for us. “Uh, um, 30th floor?” And then we were there.
A long hall, like one from the shining, intimidated and tempted us beyond. We chose to go left, and only a few steps led us to another unlit out-of-place staircase..
We ventured up, avoiding the pipes built almost purposefully across the stairs at neck height, to find the supposed door to the roof locked and a room full of uninstalled bathtubs, aligned like soldiers, upright and unmoving.