<...> They like fast fashion from Zara and H&M. They work out to be seen as much as to exercise. They drink cappuccinos to show how cosmopolitan they are. Some have had their eyelids done to make them look more Western. North Korea now has a 1 percent. And you’ll find them in“Pyonghattan,” the parallel universe inhabited by the rich kids of the Democratic People’s Republic.<...>
All photos © Linda Davidson/The Washington Post
<...> At a leisure complex next to the bowling alley in the middle of Pyongyang, they run on the treadmills, which show Disney cartoons on the monitors, or do yoga. The complex also has a fancy restaurant that advertises for wedding functions — glitzy venues cost as much as $500 an hour — and a coffee shop, where most drinks are priced between $4 and $8, although an iced mocha costs $9.<...>
<...> On the menu, there was a prime steak with a baked potato for $48, although the Wiener schnitzel was more reasonable, at $7. Most of the North Koreans in the restaurant seemed to be opting for the local food, although at $7 for a bowl of bibimbap — the price you’d pay in Seoul — it was hardly cheap. At the Sunrise complex, there’s a sushi bar and a barbecue restaurant, where groups of North Koreans were enjoying grilled meat — the waitress recommended cuts of beef that were $50 for a one-person portion — and bottles of soju, Koreans’ favorite alcoholic beverage, on a recent Saturday night. A North Korean couple pulled the bamboo curtain across the front of their table when they heard foreigners arrive. In Pyonghattan, discretion is key.<...>
<...>There are other signs that more people have more disposable income. Five or six taxi companies are operating<...>
Plastic surgery, already commonplace in the South, has come to Pyongyang. Double-eyelid operations — to give Asian eyes a more Western look — are de rigeur, as are nose jobs. Doing your eyelids costs between $50 and $200, depending on the skill of the surgeon.
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