Tuesday, May 24, 2011

China Post #21 Dandong Part 1

Last Saturday we managed to get a driver for the day. We took the opportunity to head out to Dandong which is a city right on the North Korean boarder. Dandong is interesting because of the history involving it in the Korean war. It is said that the winners of war write the history, but what happens when there is no winner?

We started the day by visiting the Yula River Broken Bridge Park. You can see Ian (pronounced "eye"an), one of Linda's co-workers who is in China for just one month. It was interesting because Ian looks much more American than we do and as such, numerous people grabbed him and pulled him into their photos.
The bridge was bombed by the USA in the Korean war to try and cut off Chinese aid to the North Koreans. Now the bridge is open to the public, here Linda and Dylan walk out the bridge.
Here is the end with some bent steel, though I would bet that there was more damage originally. You can see North Korea in the distance with the vacant concrete pillars that used to support the rest of the bridge.
You can see a ferris wheel in the distance, apparently much of what you can see at the boarder is put on like a hollywood set. Just shells and paint, nothing works, it is just to make it look appealing. You can also see a newer bridge that was later built later.

Here is a view looking south from the end of the bridge. North Korea on the left and Dandong, China on the right.
On the walk back to land I noticed that the steel girders provided nice overhanging faced with bolt head jugs on the edges. Here is Linda attracting some attention from other visitors.
After lunch we noticed this bar across the street.
After lunch we visited the museum to the war which is a whole other topic. Then we headed to the section of the Great Wall that is just out side of Dandong. It was interesting to compare this bit to the section we visited outside of Beijing. While the section near Beijing is definitely maintained, this section had been completely "restored". This just means that it has been built back up, but not necessarily as it would have been. The surface had been built up beyond where it would have been partially obscuring some of the drain and defense ports in the wall. In addition the surface has been repaired with different sized, perfectly smooth and square tiles that just look out of place.

Here is some light through windows in one of the "castles" as Dylan calls them.
Looking back down the wall as Ian comes up towards us.
Looking out from one of Dylan's "castles" at a town on the Chinese side.
Dylan trying to escape.
Dylan, myself and Ian descending very steep steps from the high point on the section of wall to the far end.
Linda and Dylan with a guard on the building that stands at the far end of the wall.
And on the front of the building, this is the far east end of the Great Wall.
and finally a little warning to watch where you go. While there is a river that separates the two countries there are places where there are several different channels and it is not obvious where the boarder is. We were warned by several folks to not go hiking anywhere that it was not entirely obvious that we were still in China, really to not head east of the wall itself.

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