San Francisco-based Geographic Expeditions, responding to a sudden decision by North Korea to grant visas to Americans for its famed Mass Games in April, has announced an April 22nd - May 1st departure to the DPRK.
Because the North Koreans have set a late March deadline for visa applications, travelers will have to take advantage of a tiny window of opportunity to become some of the first Americans -- other than a sprinkling of journalists -- to visit the DPRK in more than 50 years.
The centerpiece of GeoEx's 10-day trip is the famed Mass Games, scheduled this year to commemorate the birthday of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-il. Huge extravaganzas one witness described as making "the Olympic opening ceremony look like a school play," the Mass Games are one of the world's most astounding human spectacles.
In a stadium holding 150,000 people (said to be the largest seating capacity in the world) 80,000 dancers and gymnasts emerge from months of grueling practice and perform against a massive backdrop of rapidly changing flash cards showing images of North Korean unity, strength, and agricultural bounty.
The group will also pay visits to the DPRK border cities of Kaesong and Panmunjom, on the edge of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).