Monday, June 9, 2014

...and I'll be your waitress tonight

Just don't ask me any questions about who I am, and what I'm doing outside North Korea;
After depositing their plates of food, waitress after waitress stepped up on to the stage to deliver a series of virtuoso numbers - Yong with her operatic arias, Ji-u on the violin, or Lin-a with her remarkable whirling dervish routine, balancing a pot on her head.
....We'd been served tasty if overpriced Korean dishes - dog-meat casserole and pine-nut gruel among them. And there was a range of exotic $50 beverages, flavoured with ginseng and sea cucumber, plus herbal pills which, the waitress told me, really could cure anything.
But the question is - and I suppose the reason many foreigners like me wander into this place - what exactly are we coming to be cured of?
....It led me to ponder one circulating theory - that this was all a complex form of espionage... the talented and attractive waitresses had been placed here to seduce high-value visitors, like me perhaps, to extract valuable state secrets?To test that idea, I ventured a conversation with Yong, the waitress serving me, who did speak some English.
"How are you? Where are you from?"
"Pyongyang", she replied (OK, so that was a pretty stupid question).
"How long are you here in Cambodia?"
"Three years. I go home in one year."
"You like it here? You want to stay here?"
"No, I miss Pyongyang," she replied.
Which might be because she's a virtual prisoner in her own restaurant  where she lives as well as works. No doubt with all her earnings being returned to her overlords in North Korea.

Not exactly how it works at Hooters.

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