It almost felt like a game in which the local guides were trying to convince us that life in DPRK is great and I was to collect as much evidence as possible that it isn't.
We passed by apartment buildings in Kaesong where every single balcony had potted flowers. And no, it didn't look like it was there just for tourists to see. We also saw a good number of solar panels on balconies and roofs. To me, that's the evidence of positive change. The streets of all three cities we went to were extremely clean. Are the cleaning crews so efficient, or do people just not litter? The good thing about socialism: it preaches group mentality, so people really take pride in protecting public spaces.
We also had no time to slow down and explore on our own. We were in a group and constantly on the go, visiting all the places on a very busy agenda: Grand People's Study House (basically a large library), a cemetery, Kim Il Sung & Kim Jong Il mausoleum, Juche Tower, the schoolchildren’s palace, the subway, the film studios, a couple of stores and multiple monuments.