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危险的旅行:那年我带儿子去朝鲜

更新时间:2017-6-25 10:11:44 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Dangerous Exploits: Otto Warmbier and the Risks of Travel to North Korea
危险的旅行:那年我带儿子去朝鲜

My heart breaks for Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old American student who died Monday after returning home from North Korea in a vegetative state. His crime: He was young and curious, possibly mischievous and certainly naïve.

22岁的美国学生奥托·瓦姆比尔(Otto Warmbier)让我感到心痛,他在植物人状态下从朝鲜被送回家后,于周一去世了。他的错不过是:年轻、好奇,可能有点淘气,但肯定是太天真。

Mr. Warmbier’s ordeal makes me shudder, not only for his tragic fate but also because less than a year before Mr. Warmbier’s arrest, I had traveled to North Korea. And I had taken my teenage son.

瓦姆比尔的遭遇令我不寒而栗,这不仅是为他悲惨的命运,也是因为在瓦姆比尔被捕前不到一年的时候,我曾经去过朝鲜,而且还带上了我十多岁的儿子。

It has become fashionable to treat North Korea as a kitschy joke. Vice, the millennial-focused media company, has made entertaining, snarky videos there. They accompanied Dennis Rodman to see Kim Jong-un, but Mr. Rodman didn’t seem to understand that the trip was a stunt and not Ping-Pong diplomacy. North Korea is not a joke, as Mr. Warmbier’s experience has shown.

外界一直很流行把朝鲜当成一个俗气的玩笑。专注于千禧一代的媒体公司Vice在那里拍摄了一些既娱乐又尖酸的视频。他们陪着丹尼斯·罗德曼(Dennis Rodman)去见金正恩(Kim Jong-un),但罗德曼似乎不认为这趟旅程是一个噱头或乒乓外交。朝鲜不是一个笑话,瓦姆比尔的经历说明了这一点。

Most tourists to North Korea are Chinese. But there are a handful of companies that market North Korean tours to Westerners. They package otherwise dreary trips in cheerful and quirky wrappings, targeting young people who are looking for adventure. The Pyongyang Beer Festival is a typical offering.

去朝鲜的游客大多是中国人。但也有一些公司将朝鲜作为一个旅游地推销给西方游客。他们把本身有些可怕的旅行进行欢乐而离奇的包装,然后将目标指向寻找冒险经历的年轻人。平壤啤酒节就是一个典型的宣传项目。

But the tour companies are simply agents. Once people cross the border, a North Korean travel bureau takes over, shepherding visitors through fixed itineraries meant to show as little of the impoverished country as possible while bringing in badly needed hard currency. Most people are treated to the same things: stops at socialist-realist monuments and vast, empty squares; cavernous state-owned restaurants serving desultory meals (fried fish, mounds of shredded cabbage), and a brief ride between two stations on Pyongyang’s metro — the only real brush with North Koreans that most visitors ever get.

但这些旅游公司只是代理。人们一旦越过边境,就会被朝鲜旅游局接手,然后被领着进行固定的旅游行程,朝鲜这么做的目的是尽可能少地暴露这个国家贫穷的一面,同时又带来它所急需的硬通货。大多数人体验到的都是同样的东西:参观社会主义-现实主义风格的纪念碑和巨大、空旷的广场;在巨大的国有餐厅用一些随意的餐饭(炸鱼和一堆切碎的卷心菜),在平壤地铁中短暂地乘坐一站——这是大多数游客真正接触到朝鲜人的唯一机会。

I had long been curious about the shuttered country.

我一直对这个与世隔绝的国家感到好奇。

I booked a private tour of North Korea through one of the agencies.

我通过一家旅行社预定了一趟朝鲜私家游。

Things started off-kilter. Hours before we left Hong Kong, I put my passport through the washing machine. It came out curled like a faded denim flower and was still damp when we arrived in China to change to a Russian-built Tupolev plane. A Chinese immigration officer smelled the passport and consulted with his superior before letting me pass. The North Korean immigration officials seemed less suspicious, though the passport looked doctored.

旅途的开始有点波折。在离开香港几小时前,我误将护照放进了洗碗机。拿出来的时候它皱巴巴的,像褪色的牛仔布花,而且在我抵达中国换乘一架俄罗斯产图波列夫(Tupolev)飞机时,它依然是湿的。一位中国移民官闻了闻护照,咨询了他的上级,才放我通行。朝鲜移民官看起来没那么疑心,尽管这护照看起来像被做了手脚。

Our North Korean guides met my son and me at the airport: a chatty woman carrying a designer handbag and a taciturn man in a suit, who rarely spoke and was clearly there to listen and observe.

我和儿子在机场见到了我们的朝鲜导游:一位拿着名牌包的健谈女子,还有一名身着西装的沉默男子,他几乎没有讲话,显然是来倾听和观察的。

Our guides instructed us not to photograph construction sites, military objects or soldiers, which was a significant constraint in a country where about five out of every 100 people are in uniform. They also instructed us not to cut the legs or heads out of the frame when photographing statues of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il.

导游指示我们不要拍建筑工地、军事建筑或士兵——在一个每100人里就有5人穿制服的国家,这是一个不小的限制。他们也嘱咐我们,在拍朝鲜开国元勋金日成(Kim Il-sung)和他儿子金正日的雕像时,一定要拍全像,不要漏掉腿或头。

We were taken from the airport in a minibus directly to monumental statues of the men, referred to as “the generals,” on Mansu Hill in the center of the city. There, we were warned not to chew gum or stand with our hands in our pockets. We were instructed to buy bouquets of flowers from a kiosk, bow before the statues and lay the flowers at their feet. Only then were we taken to our hotel on an island in the Taedong River, which winds through the center of Pyongyang.

我们从机场直接被一辆小型公共汽车带去位于平壤中心的万寿台,参观这两位的雕塑——他们被称为“将军”。在那里,我们被警告不要嚼口香糖,或把手插在兜里站着,也被告知要从一个售货亭买花束,在雕塑前鞠躬,然后把花放在雕塑脚下。之后,我们才被带往流经平壤市区的大同江中一座岛上的酒店。

We stayed at the same run-down place as Mr. Warmbier did on his fateful journey — the hotel where most Western tourists are housed. The place was almost empty, but we were warned not to venture unaccompanied beyond the gate or it would “cause problems.” On our first night, our female guide turned back to us as she was leaving and made us to promise that we wouldn’t leave.

我们入住的这座破败的酒店,正是瓦姆比尔在自己那趟灾难性的旅程中所住的地方——大多数西方游客都住在这里。这个地方几乎是空的,但我们被警告不要在无人陪伴的情况下到大门外去冒险,否则就会“造成问题”。入住的第一晚,我们的女向导在要离开的时候又转回来,要我们承诺不会离开酒店。

We did not leave.

我们没有离开。

Instead, we spent evenings in the underground entertainment rooms, bowling in the poorly maintained alley (the pins often toppled of their own accord).

作为替代,我们晚上在地下娱乐室消磨时间,在维护很差的场地打保龄球(球瓶经常自己就倒了)。

We covered quite a bit of ground during our visit, from the northern mountains to the southern demilitarized zone. Though it is forbidden to photograph between cities, I took pictures surreptitiously, much to my son’s consternation. The countryside looks like a lot of places in northern Asia — dry and brown in April — with oxen pulling carts, and few motorized vehicles.

旅行期间我们去了不少地方,从北部的山区到南部的非军事区。尽管在城市之间穿行时禁止拍照,但我还是偷偷拍了一些,这让我儿子非常震惊。朝鲜的乡村看起来和亚洲北部的许多地方类似——在4月是干的,一片棕黄色——有牛在拉车,也有少量机动车。

The most striking thing was how well ordered the whitewashed villages were and how every possible piece of arable land — even steep hillsides — had been plowed and planted. Of course, we were on roads open to foreigners: Who’s to say what lay unseen beyond the horizon.

最引人注目的是,这些被粉刷过的村庄是那么井然有序,每一片有耕种潜力的土地——哪怕是陡峭的山坡——都被犁过和种植了作物。当然,我们是行驶在对外国人开放的道路上:谁知道在我们看不到的地方会是什么景象。

I know that we passed about 10 miles from the Yongbyon nuclear complex on one side and about 25 miles from the notorious labor camp No. 14 on the other. Every request to stop and see something of North Korean life, even shops in the cities, was denied.

我知道我们在北边过了宁边核设施又开了10英里(约合16公里),在另一头过了臭名昭著的14号劳改营后又行驶了大约25英里(约合40公里)。每次请求停下来看一看朝鲜的生活,哪怕是城市里的商店,都遭到了拒绝。

As we drove, our guides asked nearly as many questions of me as I did of them. They repeatedly inquired about my work. In my visa application, I said that I managed a translation company in Beijing. It was true to a point; I was the managing director of The New York Times’s Chinese-language operations there, which translates Times stories into Chinese.

车行驶途中,两位导游问我的问题几乎跟我问他们的一样多。他们多次问到我的工作。在申请签证时,我说自己在北京管理一家翻译公司。这在某种程度上是真的;我当时是《纽约时报》中文网的总经理,那里会将时报的文章翻译成中文。

Their questions were unsettling, however, and I stuck to my story as much as my smile. They talked a lot about how many spies they have in North Korea, and I realized this wasn’t a game I should be playing with my son by my side.

不过,他们的问题让人些点不安,我尽可能微笑着坚持自己的说法。他们谈论了许多有关朝鲜有多少间谍的话题,我意识到我其实不该带儿子来这里。

On the last day, my son asked if we could go back to see the monumental statues of the generals. The guides seemed puzzled, even perturbed, but acquiesced. When we got there, I lost track of our male guide, but he soon joined us. On the way back, he and I fell behind my son and our female guide.

最后一天,儿子问我们能不能再去看看两位将军的纪念雕塑。两位向导一脸迷惑,甚至有点不安,但他们同意了。到那以后,我的男向导一度不见了,不过后来他又加入了我们。在回去的路上,他和我走在我儿子和女向导的后面。

“Why did you want to visit the generals again?” he asked. I explained that because we had begun our trip there, my son wanted to end it there. He fell silent as we approached an outbuilding. “Would you write that down?” he finally asked. I imagined being proffered a guest book where visitors wrote glowing tributes and answered yes.

“你们为什么想再去看将军的雕塑呢?”他问道。我解释说是因为我们的旅行是从那开始的,我儿子也想在那里结束。在我们走向一座附属建筑物时,他陷入了沉默。“你会把这写下来吗?”他最终问道。我想象着有人递上来一本访客留言簿,供游客写下热情洋溢的赞美之辞,然后回答说是的。

A man came out of the outbuilding and they conferred. Then the guide said I only needed to tell him the reason again, and he would go inside and explain. I repeated what I had said. Curious, I followed him into the building.

一名男子从那座建筑走出来,他们协商了一下。然后导游说,我只需要把理由再跟他讲一遍,他会进去解释。我重复了刚才讲过的话。因为好奇,我跟着他进了那座建筑。

There was no guest book inside, but rather a group of men in military uniforms. They seemed annoyed that I was there and motioned for me to step outside. After a moment, my guide reappeared. “They are satisfied,” he said.

里面没有留言簿,但有一群身着军服的男子。看到我出现在那里,他们似乎有些恼怒,做手势让我到外面去。过了一会,导游出来了。“他们满意了,”他说。

It was then I realized that we had fallen under suspicion. In retrospect, given what happened to Mr. Warmbier, the entire trip was an unnecessary risk. The obfuscation about my identity, my damp and beaten passport, the surreptitiously taken photos — some of them cutting the head off Kim Il-sung — could easily have been used to construe nefarious intent.

那时我才意识到我们受到了怀疑。考虑到瓦姆比尔的遭遇,现在回头看,这整个旅程都是一场没必要的冒险。有关我身份的困惑,我那皱巴巴的湿护照,还有那些偷偷拍下的照片——有些漏拍了金日成的头——都可以轻易地被用来解释成有恶毒的意图。

On the plane back to China, I picked up a copy of the English-language Pyongyang Daily. “Nukes will put an end to DPRK-US Standoff,” a headline read, referring to the uneasy relationship between the U.S. and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.

在返回中国的飞机上,我拿起一份英文版的《平壤日报》(Pyongyang Daily)。“核武器将终结朝美僵局,”其中一篇文章的标题这样写道,指的是美国和朝鲜人民民主共和国此前的不和。

“The DPRK will advance the timetable for the great war.”

“朝鲜会推进这场伟大战争的日程。”

A lot of people say I was stupid. But it’s easy to underestimate the danger of a place like North Korea, to feel that it’s not real.

有许多人说我当时的行为很傻。但人们很容易低估去朝鲜这种地方的危险性,会觉得它不是真的。

Mr. Warmbier was naïve, and so was I.

瓦姆比尔很天真,我也一样。

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