- Posts: 943
- Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:05 am
- Gender: Male
- Mood: Bored
- Location: Slovenia
On a slight aside: I read something the other day about North Korea I thought funny. There is a North Korean phenomenon I like to call the "Eric Cartman Theme Park" store. Namely, department stores in Pyongyang have a strong tendency to have all of their merchandise "not for sale at this time". Partly this is because of the NK Won's official exchange rate being ludicrously manipulated. Well, North Korea has been trying to get more western tourists to visit (for some reason there's a die-hard core of nut-cases who think North Korea would make an interesting vacation). Generally, this arrangement works for the North, but the case of their stores always having merchandise that they're not willing to part with has sort of been an embarrassment with regard to their foreign visitors. Apparently they've found an elegant solution:
North Korea just recently "invented" something they call a "credit card" (it is in fact what we in the west refer to as a debit card). The funny thing is this: You have to load the card with North Korean Won, and you can buy anything at stores in Pyongyang that you want -- but only with the "credit card", and you can only load the card with Won you buy from a government bank at the official exchange rate (about 40 times more expensive than the black-market rate). You can also only buy these Won with foreign cash (Dollars, Euros, Pounds Sterling, etc.).
North Korea really is like something out of a Family Guy episode. It makes me smile.