It was one day in early spring when the land and trees were still fresh from wintering. While crossing Chongnyu Bridge, we saw a lot of people crowding at the entrance to Munsu Water Park. Their liveliness motivated us to visit again the place to which we had been for coverage several times.
Inside an indoor swimming pool area we encountered familiar sights—water slides circling around white pillars up to the tops, varieties of natural rocks and palm trees, and the visitors were enjoying swimming amid a light folk melody. Then we came across the general manager of the water park. When we asked him if the pool was crowded every day like that, he replied, “Yes. On average it is visited by hundreds of people a day.” He went on to say that though the temperature rose a lot, the weather was still cold, that the number of the visitors never decreased even in winter and that the State saw to it that the park was equipped with expensive, modern geothermal facilities so as to constantly ensure the proper temperature of the water for swimming.
Now two young men in a pool drew our attention. It seemed that they were in a race. When we asked them if they had a competition, one of them, who had reached the fi nish line fi rst, said, “It’s a test of a disciple’s ability rather than a game.” Then the loser said, “I was his coach. But he has now surpassed me as he practised hard in swimming all winter long,” and laughed a hearty laugh. Introducing themselves as workers of Pyongyang Cornstarch Factory, they expressed their determination to keep practising so as to distinguish themselves in a swimming contest of the factory to be held during the swimming months—July and August.
After seeing them diving back into the water, we turned our eyes to a seawater pool crowded with a lot of people.
“I used to develop symptoms of skin allergy when the temper- ature went up in spring. Then I heard that seawater is good for skin protection. So I come here every spring. Wading in the waving pool makes me feel a peculiar sensation like in a sea, and it is also sensational to be in the seawater pool,” said Han Jong Ju from Munhung-dong No. 2, Taedonggang District.
Now we went upstairs. On the fl oor there were catering facilities from famous restaurants in Pyongyang including Haemaji Restaurant and Mujigae Restaurant. They were serving good foods for health in spring. A lot of people who had just finished swimming asked for cool radish pickles with wild garlic or steaming bean paste soup of pickpurse.
Ri Un Hyang, a staff member of the water park, said, “Koreans have long used wild garlic as health tonic as it contains varieties of vitamins, proteins and minerals. With sweet and hot tastes and a peculiar smell, wild garlic is effective in the treatment of vitamin de fi ciency diseases liable to occur in early spring, women’s diseases and gastric cancer. And pickpurse is effective in getting rid of lassitude and fatigue in spring, and is good for different constitutions, so anybody can eat it.”
Many people said in admiration that foods served there in the water park were especially tasty and that they had felt the fi rst aroma of spring there. Coming out of the pool area, they were enthusiastically talking about their happiness and impressions. This made us feel warm in spring even though it was still cold, and the water park looked like a large fl ower that bloomed fi rst in spring.