North Korea is preparing for a massive military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the ruling Worker's Party Saturday. The event is open to Western journalists, an opportunity so rare that even something as simple as a drive down the street is "newsworthy." CBS News correspondent Seth Doane is in the capital city of Pyongyang.
We boarded our flight to North Korea back in Beijing. On Air Koryo, the inflight magazine with its glossy propaganda photo of leaders set the tone for our trip.
The first people to meet us at Pyongyang's brand new airport were our government-assigned minders who will be with us every step of the way.
This trip is carefully choreographed--we board buses and are told where we're heading just before we depart. We're brought to different places, but we cannot choose where we'll go. Today we're being brought to the birthplace of Kim Il Sung.
He is credited with founding modern North Korea. As you might imagine, there are no surprises here.
Then, it was back on the bus, which took what appeared to be a wrong turn through a rather run-down residential neighborhood. We didn't stay long.
Deep, deep below ground, old subway cars pull in and out beneath elaborate chandeliers. Patriotic music is piped in.
This is hardly just a casual stop at the subway - it is a deliberate effort to show us infrastructure at work. One of the things Kim Jong Un said is that he wants to improve people's everyday life. The question is, if that is really happening.
But trying to get an authentic answer with government minder in tow is hard to do.
"My recommendation is you don't go for the old man...because they don't like it," said a minder.
One 27-year-old woman told us she has a good, comfortable life and seeing foreign media here made her proud.
"Because it means people want to come here and we get to show good things to them," she said.
You see the imprint of the government nearly everywhere you turn--people wear pins depicting former leaders.
"This is my heart," a minder said about his Kim Il Sung pin. "This doesn't get off, even one hour."
There is great excitement here for the parade. Driving around Pyongyang, you see huge groups of people dressed the same with flags, practicing routines, painting the white lines in the side walk, or pruning the grass, sometimes with scissors.