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  1. #1
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Going to North Korea!

    I've decided to visit North Korea during the upcoming week-long May 1 holiday in China. I will be joining a tour through Pyongyang, down to the DMZ, up to "scenic Mount Myohyang", and will be watching the Mass Games (tens of thousands of people doing coordinated gymastics -- lots of videos on YouTube). I'm really REALLY excited about this, particularly as a student of Soviet and Cold War history. Also, I had a bunch of North Korean classmates up in Beijing, who piqued my interest even more...

    I've got a question for you bright Foosters... I plan to take tons and tons of pictures, but have heard that cameras can be checked at the border while leaving, and film confiscated / digital photos deleted. I don't plan to take any pictures of potentially sensitive stuff (bridges, airports, nuclear plants, that sort of thing), but don't want to lose ANY of my pictures when I leave. I will not be permitted to take my computer, so uploading photos and backing them up that way won't be an option. A camera phone won't work either, since I don't think I can take my cell phone into the country.

    The question is: Is there a way to back up photos directly from a Memory Stick (I've got Sony digital camera) to some sort of thumb drive? Or is my best bet just to take a bunch of filler pictures on a "dummy" stick, and put that one in the camera when I cross the border?

    Oh, and I've already asked: taking my folding bike is a no-no. Ah, well . Pictures of a Pyongyang ride would have made the best BF post EVER .

  2. #2
    That darn Yankee TexasGuy's Avatar
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    stick your memory stick in the sole of your shoes?


    My camera has a little trick - where if i stick a memory stick in the memory stick on board is not useable or seable. I suppose one could technically use that trick if one was worried about pictures being confiscated. If you had one of those new memory chips the chip would be completely undetectable
    Life is about hanging onto what you think is important and finding out what really is important.
    "Stop Ruining my joke!", "No, a joke implies humor attached at no additional cost"
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  3. #3
    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbcb
    The question is: Is there a way to back up photos directly from a Memory Stick (I've got Sony digital camera) to some sort of thumb drive? Or is my best bet just to take a bunch of filler pictures on a "dummy" stick, and put that one in the camera when I cross the border?

    I believe you would need an intermediary PC to do that.

    BTW, how does one get into North Korea? Are you an American citizen? If so, I was under that impression that you could not enter the country.

  4. #4
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    I'm Canadian, so there aren't any special restrictions. You're right that American's can't usually go, but they are letting Americans in this year for a few short trips -- at approximately double the cost of the non-American trips (they pay the same as what I'm paying, but get three days instead of seven).

  5. #5
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasGuy
    stick your memory stick in the sole of your shoes?

    Yeah, it might just come down to that!

    Edit: I need SOME pictures for them to look at, since they'll never believe that I didn't take any. Hence the "dummy" memory stick

  6. #6
    That darn Yankee TexasGuy's Avatar
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    Well take 2 memory cards - or if your camera has something built into it use that for the fake one and hope that you can hide the other memory cards somewhere else
    Life is about hanging onto what you think is important and finding out what really is important.
    "Stop Ruining my joke!", "No, a joke implies humor attached at no additional cost"
    So many sayings, so little sig space.

  7. #7
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    Contrary to TG's suggestions, I would not go out of my way to hide anything. Given that North Korea is so paranoid, you really think they won't know all the obvious ways to hide pictures? You know what they say about people who hide things? They generally have something to hide. I don't think it would be a good thing if they start suspecting you of hiding something. And a bunch of dummy pics inconsistent with your itinerary (yeah, sure, the only interesting thing you saw was your bedroom in the last hotel you stayed at) would be consistent with hiding something.

    Perhaps a solution would be to use lots of small memory sticks. If they just check the one in your camera, great. If they insist on checking the rest, you don't lose all your pics at once if they confiscate a memory stick. You never know when a sensitive site might show up in the background of one of your pics. After all, you might not even know that it's a sensitive site. On the other hand, if they find lots of memory sticks, they might well get suspicious and carefully check them all.

    I don't know. You definitely should check with whatever group is organizing your trip. They should have reasonable advice for you.
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  8. #8
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasGuy
    Well take 2 memory cards - or if your camera has something built into it use that for the fake one and hope that you can hide the other memory cards somewhere else
    Yeah, that's the default plan. I was hoping Foo would be able to turn up some clever MacGyver-type thingy... but now it's time for bed.

    Edit: And Jason, you've got a good point about the sensitive sites and the hiding of pictures. I will talk to the tour group for sure

  9. #9
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    By the way, hiding things successfully may well destroy images. If I were North Korea and trying to guard against unseen images, any non-photographic luggage would pass through a strong X-ray machine, wiping out any hidden film or hard drives or memory sticks of any sort. I would have a list of cameras with various capabilities for hiding pictures and be checking those especially carefully. Seriously, think about some of the insanely paranoid things the country does. I don't think those measures (or something comparable) would be out of the question.
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  10. #10
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    I would suggest multiple memory cards, and extra food for bribery.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  11. #11
    J E R S E Y S B E S T Jerseysbest's Avatar
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    Wear thick soled shoes and carve out a compartment, along with a hard plastic case to prevent you foot from crushing the card.

    Where there's a will, there's a way.

    Why won't they allow a folding bike?
    Quote Originally Posted by SingingSabre View Post
    Cheating: a symptom of the problem.

  12. #12
    Free Velo Vol! Velo Vol's Avatar
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    I'd be wary of going to North Korea, but I'm not the most adventuresome guy around.

    I suggest you talk to someone (there) who is familiar with North Korea border crossing procedures for suggestions; I'm guessing people in Foo don't have much (if any) experience with that.

  13. #13
    Mooninite shakeNbake's Avatar
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    Lube. Lots of lube.


  14. #14
    That darn Yankee TexasGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jschen
    Contrary to TG's suggestions, I would not go out of my way to hide anything. Given that North Korea is so paranoid, you really think they won't know all the obvious ways to hide pictures? You know what they say about people who hide things? They generally have something to hide. I don't think it would be a good thing if they start suspecting you of hiding something. And a bunch of dummy pics inconsistent with your itinerary (yeah, sure, the only interesting thing you saw was your bedroom in the last hotel you stayed at) would be consistent with hiding something.

    Perhaps a solution would be to use lots of small memory sticks. If they just check the one in your camera, great. If they insist on checking the rest, you don't lose all your pics at once if they confiscate a memory stick. You never know when a sensitive site might show up in the background of one of your pics. After all, you might not even know that it's a sensitive site. On the other hand, if they find lots of memory sticks, they might well get suspicious and carefully check them all.

    I don't know. You definitely should check with whatever group is organizing your trip. They should have reasonable advice for you.
    Pfft I would hardly consider my statements here as suggestions. More like humorous jokes that might end you up landing in front of the firing brigade in a 3 Stooges movie or Will Farrel
    Life is about hanging onto what you think is important and finding out what really is important.
    "Stop Ruining my joke!", "No, a joke implies humor attached at no additional cost"
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  15. #15
    That darn Yankee TexasGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apclassic9
    and extra food for bribery.
    Life is about hanging onto what you think is important and finding out what really is important.
    "Stop Ruining my joke!", "No, a joke implies humor attached at no additional cost"
    So many sayings, so little sig space.

  16. #16
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    Well, word is they're short of food.... A gross of power bars never hurt anybody, anyway.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  17. #17
    oh, snap. Flippin Sweet's Avatar
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    The peasants are short of food...if you're planning on bribing some border guard, better take some good ole hard cashola.
    edit: I really don't condone bribing, it could get you into trouble, but sometimes it helps get you 'unstuck'!

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    On the contrary, I think they would encourage you to take pictures of their "clean and peaceful" country. Get some nice shots of the "Dear Leader" statues.

    But, I would leave my steel Timex watch and jewellry at home. I'd worry about my electric razor and small knick-knacks. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if a T-shirt or two "took a walk" on the way out. Its not like you're gonna come back and complain.


    Just remember, anything that you give or gets taken is not going to end up in the hands of those who need it most.

  19. #19
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    You can always use a giant slingshot to shoot your memory stick over the DMZ and have a friend retrieve it on the other side.
    Last edited by roadfix; 03-27-07 at 03:20 PM.
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  20. #20
    Batteries not included.
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    If your camera does the same thing as Texas Guy's, and the internal memory isn't visible when a memory stick is inserted, just do this: Take a picture, then pull the memory card out a bit and take another picture to the internal memory. Basically, hide your pictures in plain sight.

    That way, the guard gets satisfied that you're not hiding anything by deleting any sensitive pics on the memory card, more than likely without considering that you had another copy right there.

  21. #21
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Don't know what I can suggest that hasn't already been suggested. Have a great trip, goobchoob!
    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

  22. #22
    oh, snap. Flippin Sweet's Avatar
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    Yup, try your best, take care of yourself and show us the pictures of insular NK if you get them back across the border! Sounds like a coooool trip!

  23. #23
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Thanks, all! I'll be sure to post pics if/when I get back

  24. #24
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Don't mess with these people. Please. This is not a country known for its collective sense of humor, and the possible consequences are not worth it. Show then what they want to see, and don;t try to hide stuff.
    Just
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    it.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  25. #25
    Theodore Roosevelt's idol TheKillerPenguin's Avatar
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    Just FYI, if you get caught doing anything bad, your N. Korean tour guide is going to be in serious trouble for not keeping you controlled.

    I have a couple of sites saved with stories about DPRK vacations. Unfortunately, they're on my other computer, so you're going to have to wait till Tuesday to check it out.
    Masochism is a training adaptation.

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