The Party Train of Kim Jong-Il

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When North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il ventures out from his happy country, as he did recently to visit China, he prefers to travel by train. But Dear Leader only does so under extraordinary security precautions, and surrounded by bling and luxuries that would make the most ostentatious of American hiphop superstars shake in their diamond-encrusted Pradas:

Kim's train is equipped with conference rooms, an audience chamber and bedrooms, with a pair of Mercedes-Benzes on standby, not to mention satellite phone connections and flat-screen TVs so the leader can be briefed and issue orders.

In the 2002 book "Orient Express," Russian official Konstantin Pulikovsky described Kim's three-week journey to Moscow the previous year.

Cases of Bordeaux and Beaujolais were flown in from Paris, as was live lobster, according to the book. There were also such North Korean specialties as koya, piglet barbecue, and salo, salted and aged pig fat. Leftovers were boxed up and returned to North Korea.

What, no Ciroq? Well, at least the people of North Korea aren't on the verge of (yet another) famine. Oh wait, they are.

Kim Jong Il mixes bling, extreme safety on train (LA Times)

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