November 26, 2022

About the author

Taylor Darby

Taylor Darby is a pseudonym for a foreign diplomat that worked in Pyongyang before leaving in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More articles by 'Taylor Darby'

A diplomat’s life: Parting advice for those going to work in North Korea

A diplomat’s life: Parting advice for those going to work in North Korea

Foreigners must learn to accept the political system but remain critical, while caring for their own mental health

A diplomat’s life: Parting advice for those going to work in North Korea
Taylor Darby
Taylor Darby December 29, 2021
A diplomat’s life: The mundane, ordinary routines of the North Korean people

A diplomat’s life: The mundane, ordinary routines of the North Korean people

For most in Pyongyang, worshipping the Kim family is just a part of the 9-to-5 grind

A diplomat’s life: The mundane, ordinary routines of the North Korean people
Taylor Darby
Taylor Darby December 23, 2021
The good, the bad and the memorable of expat life in North Korea

The good, the bad and the memorable of expat life in North Korea

The system is stifling for Koreans and foreigners alike, but human interactions carry one through difficulties

The good, the bad and the memorable of expat life in North Korea
Taylor Darby
Taylor Darby December 15, 2021
A diplomat’s life: On the ground in Pyongyang during the ‘fire and fury’ era

A diplomat’s life: On the ground in Pyongyang during the ‘fire and fury’ era

North Koreans in the capital city seemed to genuinely believe conflict could break out at anytime

A diplomat’s life: On the ground in Pyongyang during the ‘fire and fury’ era
Taylor Darby
Taylor Darby December 9, 2021
A diplomat’s life: Tight schedules and resort-like thrills touring North Korea

A diplomat’s life: Tight schedules and resort-like thrills touring North Korea

State travel agencies plan every detail of visitors’ itineraries, careful to show only the best it has to offer

A diplomat’s life: Tight schedules and resort-like thrills touring North Korea
Taylor Darby
Taylor Darby December 1, 2021
A diplomat’s life: Navigating North Korea’s complex travel permission system

A diplomat’s life: Navigating North Korea’s complex travel permission system

North Korea’s extreme social controls mean a complex process for any travel request, even for foreign diplomats

A diplomat’s life: Navigating North Korea’s complex travel permission system
Taylor Darby
Taylor Darby November 24, 2021
A diplomat’s life: Pyongyang meals for diners with adventurous palates

A diplomat’s life: Pyongyang meals for diners with adventurous palates

From Korean hot pot to sturgeon blood, the DPRK capital has a range of restaurant options beyond just burgers and pizza

A diplomat’s life: Pyongyang meals for diners with adventurous palates
Taylor Darby
Taylor Darby November 17, 2021
A diplomat’s life: Dining on pizza and ‘meat in bread’ in Pyongyang restaurants

A diplomat’s life: Dining on pizza and ‘meat in bread’ in Pyongyang restaurants

A handful of specialty eateries serve international fare, but many locals stick to kimchi and Korean classics

A diplomat’s life: Dining on pizza and ‘meat in bread’ in Pyongyang restaurants
Taylor Darby
Taylor Darby November 10, 2021
A diplomat’s life: The ephemeral beauty of concrete Pyongyang

A diplomat’s life: The ephemeral beauty of concrete Pyongyang

North Korean builders are highly skilled, but erratic leadership priorities and few materials make for an unsafe skyline

A diplomat’s life: The ephemeral beauty of concrete Pyongyang
Taylor Darby
Taylor Darby November 3, 2021
A diplomat’s life: North Korea’s brutal training for parades and mass games

A diplomat’s life: North Korea’s brutal training for parades and mass games

North Koreans train for hours on end and late into the night to prepare for these events in Pyongyang

A diplomat’s life: North Korea’s brutal training for parades and mass games
Taylor Darby
Taylor Darby October 27, 2021