Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Quick Run to the Border

North Korea-there are kids swimming in the river and a small ferris wheel in the background that is rarely used.

 We live a few hours from the North Korean border and we've always meant to go to DanDong- a small city across the river from NK.  So over the weekend, we got on the long distance bus and took a quick trip there.  We rode for about three hours through beautiful mountains and arrived in DanDong in the afternoon.  Dan Dong is a small on the Yalu River.  It has an active water front with lots of dancers, singers, tourist type attractions and some historical sites. It is across from an NK city called Sinujui which looked mostly like not very active factories to us.  You can walk across the China-Korea friendship bridge and enter North Korea (if you have a visa) or go to the end of the broken bridge and see North Korea up close.  You can also go on a boat ride that brings you close to the other side of the river where you can see workers in the factories.  We saw young boys swimming in the river and several people on the banks waved at the boats.  There are some boat patrols but it looks pretty much like just a river...except it's not.  As you go up the river, you begin to see more cameras, boat patrols and towers on the NK side. The river is fairly wide and at this part, it would be  nearly impossible to get across undetected.

The factories and the bridge-that was about all there was to see.  We walked up and down the water front, had dinner and then went on a boat cruise.

Chinese Fishing boat-see how close it is to the NK border? That white building is NK!

As night fell, Dan Dong lit up and North Korea went black.  Electricity is turned off in most places and this was true of the city across from us. The contrast was pretty stark, especially from the boat.

Dan Dong at dusk.

One of the things that was saw that was oddly moving was the lighting of lanterns.  Basically, red paper lanterns are made.  Blessings are written on the lanterns and then they are lit and they fly across the river into North Korea.  You could see many lights in the sky flying there.  They are not purposefully sending the lanterns there-it is the direction of the wind that brings them there.  But seeing the light of the lanterns flying into the darkness of North Korea was quite compelling.

1 comment:

Tanya said...

"But seeing the light of the lanterns flying into the darkness of North Korea was quite compelling." {tried to italicize this text, but couldn't figure it out}

This sentence sent chills up my spine and at the same time, hit me in the gut. Wow.