Sophie Schmidt, the 19-year-old daughter of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, recounted her "very cold and very strange" trip to North Korea. The teenager wrote down on a blog post entitled "It might not get weirder than this" all of her controversial experiences during the three-day North Korean trip in early January.
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson led the delegation where Eric Schmidt took part and his teenager daughter accompanied him during the trip. Upon their return, Sophie Schmidt's informal blog gave out informative details about North Korea.
"Our trip was a mixture of highly-staged encounters, tightly-orchestrated viewings and what seemed like genuine human moments. We had zero interactions with non-state-approved North Koreans and were never far from our two minders," Schmidt wrote.
Sophie Schmidt even compared the regime's stage management and constant surveillance to the film "The Truman Show." In an encounter at the Kim Il-Sung University e-library, Schmidt noted one problem.
"No one was actually doing anything. A few scrolled or clicked but the rest just stared. More disturbing: when our group walked in, not one of them looked up from their desks. Not a head turn, no eye contact, no reaction to stimuli. They might as well have been figurines," Sophie Schmidt wrote.
Sophie Schmidt even noted down on the blog two helpful tips based on her entire North Korean experience.
1) Go to North Korea if you can. It is very, very strange.
2) If it is January, disregard the above. It is very, very cold.
Her blog post interestingly contains an image of a customs form that asks visitors to surrender any "killing devices" and "publishings of all kinds." Schmidt shared that the weather was "very, very cold" and the food is "solidly decent" with the people "unfailingly polite and engaging."
Meanwhile, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt confirmed the realism of his daughter's blog. He even published his personal blog as well in a more controlled detail on Google+.
While most of Schmidt's blog describes what first-time visitors can expect, it still discussed some interesting insights regarding the official purpose of the delegation's trip. According to Eric Schmidt, North Korea would not develop unless it embraces internet freedom which is a vision most observers usually dismiss as unimaginable.
"The technology in North Korea is very limited right now. As the world becomes increasingly connected, the North Korean decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world and their economic growth. It will make it harder for them to catch up economically," the Google Chairman wrote.