Sunday, December 26, 2010

More North Korea

In light of the recent craziness emanating from the hermit kingdom, I decided to post more pictures and videos showing a lighter - albeit equally choreographed - side of North Korea. I took so many pictures during my August 8th trip to Dandong that I couldn't post all of them, so here are a few more that didn't make the cut for the initial blog post. In case you're hazy on the geography (mom), this map shows Liaoning Province, which is where both Shenyang and Dandong are located:


You can see Shenyang on this map (the red dot in the middle of the yellow Liaoning province), and Dandong (the white dot on the border of the yellow Liaoning and North Korea, right by the Yellow Sea). It's about a 3-hour drive to Dandong from Shenyang.


As I mentioned in the original post, Emily, Tiffany, Baron, and I visited Dandong on a Sunday and ate lunch at a DPRK-government run hotel. As per usual, the North Korean female employees put on a show for the Chinese audience. I had heard various rumors of mistreatment of these girls, but I couldn't find anything published online, so I have no idea whether that's true. I'd be curious to know more about them, since there are so many similar North Korean government-run hotels with song and dance shows across northeast China. And of course, every show is ridiculously over-the-top. Sequins and electric guitars, the main exports driving the North Korean economy.

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Traditional Korean cold noodle soup served at lunch:

View of North Korea from our boat on a small tributary of the Yalu River. It's not always dark, cold, and gloomy!

Chinese countryside, seen from the Great Wall:

At the base of the wall, we found this amazing Chinglish sign. The English at the bottom of the sign is difficult to make out, but it reads "Thousand years ancient well, Te Great Wall historic relic, The tiger mountain is fabulous."

Several years ago Chinese archeologists discovered that the Great Wall terminated at the Tiger mountain in Dandong, which meant that the Great Wall is actually much longer than previously thought (http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/3021584-great-wall-of-china-extra-miles-discovered/content/31716926-great-wall-of-china-). I was pretty excited to visit the Tiger Mountain section of the Great Wall, because it would mean that I had visited the easternmost and westernmost outposts. Here are some pictures from 2005, when I visited Jiayuguan, the westernmost end of the wall (which I apparently climbed in flipflops?!).

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