A trip to the North Korean border was a bonus day trip this summer while I was on vacation in China! My boyfriend was so excited when I told him the news, yes, we all read the book called Nothing To Envy: Real Lives In North Korea. ( If you haven’t then I would seriously recommend it!).
Living in the democratic West, the most oppressive country like North Korea seems so far away, very hard to imagine. There I was arriving in Dandong which is the Sino-North Korean Border and North Korea is only across the Yalu River. It’s unbelievable at first and straight away you will see the contrast! Dandong is in fact a small holiday city for Chinese people, as shown in the picture below, big buildings, lots and lots of shops/restaurants; a relatively happy place I would say. On the side of North Korea however, there’s nothing except for a few small flats,quite a few old rusty abandoned fishing boats and some fair ground wheel that stopped functioning.
As I stood on the Sino-Korea Friendship bridge, I saw some disturbing things through the binoculars; an old man washing himself in the river, his face was gaunt and grey and had an extremely thin frame, yet again providing another contrast to his Chinese counterpart. Behind him there was a group of people just sitting, presumably the Government wanted to portray a positive image of the relaxing lifestyle in the village of North Korea. That’s the problem in North Korea, the Government only wants you to see what they want you to see. So I still have a sense of doubt about everything I saw on that day, whether it’s real or not?? It’s hard to believe isn’t it, almost like fate that seperated people on the two sides, in this case only by a Yalu River.