Kim Jong Il’s Love for Mercedes
- Pyongyang through the Eyes of a Russian (2): Empty Roads
Lebedev, while a foreign tourist who could not travel freely within the country, says he could peer into the condition of North Korea from the views of the open scenary of Pyongyang. He was particularly surprised by the traffic in North Korea.
Almost no cars ran on the streets. People walked or used public transportations to their destinations. Sometimes they even used seemingly homemade contraptions.
Cars never stopped in front of the pedestrians, and were often seen blasting their horns. The old cars were fuming an incredible amount of emission.
However, he could often see Japanese and German cars on the streets. Lebedev speculated that the North Koreans in leadership positions especially seemed to prefer the German Mercedes-Benz cars.
He explained that Mercedes was Kim Jong Il’s favorite car, and ridiculed the everyday lives of North Korean citizens that compares to the nation’s leaders’ extravagant lifestyles. He also added that Kim Il Sung’s car, Mercedes-Benz SEL 500, was exhibited in the Mansoosan Memorial Palace where Kim Il Sung’s body is laid in state.
North Korea’s subway entrance was shabby, but he remarked that the insides were decorated more brilliantly than those of Russia. Lebedev said he could easily find the statements such as “Hail to the Sun of the 21st century, General Kim Jong Il” even inside the subway.
Miscellaneous road signs of North Korea.