Today, work consisted of touring. Love this job. After arriving at work at the usual 7 am, Director Ai and I hopped in his car and headed North along the border to do a little sight seeing. The area was richly diverse in scenery with fields of corn along the riverside set off my by the gently rolling hills, blanketed in beautifully dense greenery and peach orchards. The area reminded me a lot of California and Ohio put together which brought back warm memories of home.
The first stop on the road was the Hushan Changcheng or Tiger Mountain Great Wall. It's location about 25-30 km northeast of Dandong makes it an incredibly less frequented section of one of China's greatest national treasures and thereby lets you get a good luck at a testament to the Ming Dynasty without all the Western tourists....or any really if you pick the right day. The wall is the eastern end of the Ming Dynasty extension and runs right along the small stream that acts as a border between China and North Korea. You can see small stones to cross the river into the hermit kingdom, but don't give it a try unless you
Nestled in the Mountainside
One of the many little hamlets we passed.
prefer rotting in a DPRK prison to the Dandong Crowne Plaza Hotel. After several touristy pictures, we moved on along the river up to Hekou Village on the way to Kuandian.
There were orchards as far as the eye could see of peaches and small vendors about every 500 meters. We stopped at a small ranch to use the restroom when we were greeted by three attack dogs and a very flustered peacock. After the owner locked them up, we took some photos and moved on. An old railroad ran alongside the windy mountain road we took but was no longer in use according to Director Ai. We visited a small wharf with a fishing pond and Mr. Ai gave me a brief history of another bridge that looked similar to the Duanqiao in Dandong. The bridge crossing into North Korea was missing a fairly large section which was apparently the result of US planes bombing any major entry points into the country during the Korean War. Why they've never rebuilt them, I don't really know. It is evident this are has been fought over a lot because there has been a lot of varying influences in the architecture
and even old war remnants like the lookout towers from the Japanese occupation of this area; it is Manchuria after all.
The rivers in this neck of the woods all have fisheries and I'm told most of the fish from these parts can be pretty pricey. The water is quite clean but the levees are very full. I hope there won't be any problems with that in the future. The landscape in this area appears to be relatively untouched but my man, which makes it even more beautiful. Everyday, I continue to be more and more amazed by this stunning country.
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