If you’re planning a summer vacation, you should probably avoid North Korea. I know, I know. It seems like so much fun. Why see the Eiffel Tower or The Blue Lagoon when you could see some seriously malnourished workers? It’s a country where you could get executed for having a drink, watching porn or slouching. The leader is a crazy dictator who brags about having anthrax-tipped missiles that can hit the United States, and accidentally hit his own country. But just trust me on this – it’s not a good idea.
We don’t know a lot about the notoriously secretive country, but what we do know is pretty terrifying. Take the case of 22-year-old United States student Otto Warmbier. He went to Pyonyang on holiday and was arrested for trying to steal a propaganda banner. They sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor, and he was so brutally tortured by his captors that he suffered fatal brain damage. When he returned to the U.S., his parents described him as “blind, deaf, and howling,” with “mangled teeth.” Six days later, he died. Sadly, he’s just one of 16 American citizens detained since 1996, and three of them are still in custody.
Great interview on @foxandfriends with the parents of Otto Warmbier: 1994 – 2017. Otto was tortured beyond belief by North Korea.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2017
Since Otto’s death, the United States has taken new steps to deter people from visiting North Korea. I know why the hell people still want to go there, but hey, American teenagers are currently eating deadly pods of laundry detergent for fun, so, the more reminders, the better.
Currently, North Korea is classified as a “Level 4 – Do Not Travel” country. The other countries on the list are Libya, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Mali, Yemen, and Somalia. But apparently some people still jonesing to go wild in NoKo on Spring Break, so the United States has added a new warning: They’re telling Americans planning to visit North Korea to write a will, make funeral plans and find someone to take care of their kids and pets. (Also, you might not want to bother booking a return flight. It’s probably going to be a one way trip.)
The U.S. State department warns citizens that there is no American embassy in the country, so nobody will be able to help you if you run into trouble (which you definitely will). They advise people to “Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney; discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pet, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc).” I mean, f that doesn’t send a chill down your spine, I don’t know what will.
I guess it’s good advice, though. You have to be prepared. For example, if you go to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest, you should buy lederhosen or a dirndl dress. And if you go to North Korea, you should write a will, and figure out who’s going to take of your cats, after you’re sentenced to decades of hard labor. Have fun! Take a lot of pictures!