Remember computer rooms? They're the rooms you used to go to when you wanted to use the computer to play Tetris or SkiFree or dial up to America Online. That room, apparently, still exists in Pyongyang's brand new airport—except it's missing the internet. And sometimes keyboard. Whoops.
According to an article by Associated Press reporter Eric Talmadge, any attempt to get online in the new airport's internet room was fruitless:
On two recent trips through the airport by The Associated Press, the room's three terminals were either occupied by North Korean airport employees, making it impossible for others to use them, or were completely empty, with their keyboards removed. Attempts to open any browser with a mouse resulted in a failure to connect… a quick check of the history on two of the terminals showed one was either empty or had been cleared, and the other had a record only of a visit to Naenara, the North's official website.
Hmm. Very suspicious. The "internet" label on the wall almost had us.
Most North Koreans (who likely would never step foot in the airport) don't have access to the internet, but the ones who do have to jump through hoops to get online. Personal computers must be registered with the government, and the internet that can be accesses looks like it's stuck in the 1990s, Vox explains.
The no-internet internet room is part of Pyongyang's new airport, which was unveiled (with much pomp) in late June, and was opened to the country's elite on July first. The airport has stores, coffee, and candy and even chocolate fountains, writes Talmadge, but he didn't say whether he tasted the chocolate to make sure it was real.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.