Good Riddance Dear Leader

I saw his frozen pa in the DPRK. I expect dear leader is headed for the freezer.

We’ve had a lot of laughs at Satellite Sisters about the jumpsuit-wearing, Hennessey-swilling, serial Rambo-watching dictator of North Korea.  I stopped laughing about him after my five-day visit to the world’s most isolated and repressive country.  It was truly a sinister place.  You can listen to our podcast about my visit to North Korea on The Satellite Sisters Facebook page.  Kim Jong Il was a cruel leader that kept North Koreans under-educated, under-fed and certainly under watch at all times. The people of North Korea do not have basic human rights.  My traveling partner, Suzy texted me when the news broke about Kim Jong Il’s death  saying the dear leader deserves a special place in hell. I agree.

I didn’t hear much about his son  Kim Jung Eun when I was there.  I could ask my minders /tour guides questions about succession but I never got answers, only blank stares.  I fear the worst.  When visiting the DPRK, you get the impression that the whole country is in the state of high alert and ready for war.  I heard so much anti-American rhetoric that it became laughable.  Now, with a young inexperienced leader seeking to shore up his control over his people and with access to nuclear weapons, North Korea is a very dangerous place.

One more thing, remember I haven’t mentioned to my parents that I went to North Korea.  So if you see them over the holidays, mums the word.

By | December 20th, 2011|

Today’s Satellite Sisters: Lian Tries To Find A Real Helen of Pasadena, Julie Has International News Round-Up and Liz Previews Independent Films You May Never See

Lian humiliated herself to make the soon-to-be released trailer for Helen Of Pasadena. Her novel's big online sale date is THIS FRIDAY October 15. Write yourself a Post-It note.

Whoa.  Whatta week.  Lian’s novel ‘Helen of Pasadena” goes on sale on line THIS FRIDAY so she was out on the streets of Pasadena shooting a trailer for the book.  See production stills below but her tale of the actual shoot really got Julie and I going.  Listen to her Satellite Sisters telling of the tale here. Then we carry on with Julie’s International News Round-Up.  Remember, she was just in North Korea two weeks ago so she has a perspective on this week’s huge demonstrations in Pyongyang with Kim Jong Il and his son this week. Plus, are you like us? Do you tear up at any story about the Chilean miners? And finally, Liz was just part of an independent film festival in Bend, Oregon.  Hear her take on indy film trends and read more about BendFilm.

By | October 11th, 2010|

Julie: Pyongyang Food Fare

North Korea Hot Pot....hmmm...good.

If you want the full low down on my trip to North Korea, be sure to listen to our latest podcast below, North Korean Edition. I promised Lian and Liz that I would share some or my pictures about the food in Pyongyang.

Here’s what you need to know about me and NK food:

1.  I am not a picky eater.  SisterSpotters know I ate a fried scorpion in Beijing last year.

2. I  didn’t go to North Korea for the food.

3.   As we discussed on the podcast, I was very aware of the famine and chronic food shortages in the DPRK so I had very low expectations about what would be available.

4.   I didn’t want to find out about medical care in NK.  I was sitting near a German surgeon on the bus who advised me if I were to get sick, I should get out of town.  This was not the trip for some gastronomical adventure.

5.  I was on a bus without a bathroom for 8-10 hours a day.  I think you get my drift. I was in survival mode.

Most of the food could be categorized as scary, smelly, slimy or a combination of the three.    I met the North Korean hot pot at lunch.  It was a a boiling pot of oil  that diners could then drop very fatty sausage meat, cabbage and tofu into.I am sorry my picture is a little out of focus.  I think I was shaking a bit when I took the picture thinking about how I was going to eat the hot pot items.    At another restaurant where our tour group were the only customers, we were served many tiny bowls of things.  I was hopeful each time I took the lid off one of the brass pots that there would be something that wouldn’t cause problems.  I finally found a little meat and some rice.

The best meal of the week was a Korean duck barbecue.  I also enjoyed trying Pyongyang cold noodles which is a specialty of Pyongyang and served at wedding celebrations.  Unfortunately, the buckwheat noodles are served in a cold slightly slimy broth.  I was really hoping that this was going to be a winning dish.

The good news is I tried a variety of new foods and didn’t get sick.  I think that was all I was really trying to accomplish in the food department.

So many little dishes...so much scary food.

By | September 29th, 2010|

Julie: In North Korea

Satellite Sisters go everywhere! Here I am outside the “deluxe” Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea.  I snuck out the front door and flashed my official Satellite Sisters T-shirt.  I was advised that t-shirts with political statements are not allowed in North Korea.  While Satellite Sisters stands for fun, friendship and family, I was afraid to wear my shirt. That’s how weird things are in NK. I thought my shirt might make trouble with one of our guides or minders.   So, one quick flash, picture snapped, and then I buttoned back up.

The Koryo Hotel with its two revolving restaurants was the second hotel our tour group stayed in.  Our group started out at the Yanggakdo Hotel ( only one revolving restaurant) but was suddenly moved to the Koryo in anticipation of the first meeting in 30 years of the country’s Workers’ Party.  We were bumped so that the  delegates could enjoy the many amenities of  Yanggakdo.   You can hear more of my description of this deluxe hotel on our podcast below..

Kim Jong Il, through his state news agency announced today that his third son and sister would become four-star generals, the highest rank in the Korean People’s Army. FYI- Kim Jong Il has not spoken publicly since 1994.  Many observers are viewing these promotions as a sign by Kim Jong Il to maintain family control over North Korea.  I had asked my guides last week about Kim Jong Il’s son and they had no information to share.  There was a lot of that.

I also read that the Party delegates were going to enjoy the spectacular Mass Games where 100,000 participants dance, do acrobatics, flash cards, twirl banners and  streamers and make seemingly thousands of costume changes to tell the story of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ( DPRK).  While watching this incredible display, I kept thinking of the London 2012 Olympic Organizing Committee.  The London Olympics is going to have to work hard to beat the Beijing Opening Ceremonies and perhaps the DPRK could assist. 

By | September 28th, 2010|

SSLiz: Satellite Sisters Text Messages Tell A Sad Tale Of Dictators and Dental Surgery.

Yesterday, I got two classic text messages from my sisters Julie and Lian.  As all Satellite Sisters know if you are paying attention, Julie has been traveling in ‘The Country That Shall Not be Named.”  Our mother is not supposed to know that she’s been in North Korea.  She gets home later today from the dark side but I got this cryptic text yesterday.

“Weirdest place on earth. Fascinating trip.  I never want to go back.”

At the other end of the experiences you never want to repeat, I got this text from Lian.

Lian was sporting this look yesterday so she bailed on evening social plans.

‘Got root canal. In pain and look like chipmunk. Out for tonight.”

I can’t decide which sounds worse.  What do you think?

We will record a Satellite Sisters show this weekend to get the latest from Julie and Lian, so stay tuned.

By | September 24th, 2010|

Satellite Sisters Julie, Lian and Liz On Vladimir Putin, Smuggled Tigers, Larry King Lives On, and Lian’s Tale Of When Bad Customer Service Happens To Good People

Three sisters, three times the fun.  Tune in to today’s Satellite Sisters show and you’ll get fresh talk on some of our favorite topics:

Julie Dolan may no longer live in Moscow, Russia but she still collects beefcake photos of Vladimir Putin for the International News Round-Up

Julie’s International News Round-Up (Vladimir Putin beefcake photos!) , Lian’s Campaign To Stamp Out Customer Service Injustice (To the barricades, sisters!)  and Liz’s ongoing connection to Larry King.  (Liz + Larry Forever.)

Want to hear Satellite Sisters shows from earlier this summer?  We got ’em right here and you can subscribe at iTunes.

Liz Dolan and Larry King may be locked in a battle of wills forever now that Ryan Seacrest is involved.

By | August 27th, 2010|