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Such a Wonderful City to Eat Korean & Relax In

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Changbai Mountain National Park. Did I have a great time there?

Upon leaving Yanji I had a ticket to Baihe town which is the hub for the Northern Section of the park. After almost five hours of some of the most splendid scenery I’ve seen this summers 'Beers N Noodles’ Adventure we arrived at the turn off that would have taken me to Baihe town. Here though we joined a large line of vehicles waiting in a massive line up to continue their journey to Changbai Mountain, after finding out that I was the only one on the bus going there and that due to a car accident there would be a two to three hour wait I asked the rest of the bus;

Where are you all going? They answered that they were heading to Yanji.

I figured that as I’ve only mainly read ‘baddish things’ by foreigners about their visit to Changbaishan when it comes to being totally ripped off, litter, impatience and then being totally ripped off again I figured, hey I’m going with you guys and after another six hours we arrived at Yanji’s long distance bus station. I then headed around to the train station area where I met a Bell Hop at one of the very expensive hotels and after chatting for a few minutes he took me to his friends Korean Style Guesthouse where I got a room for around six Aussie dollars a night.

I spent the next three days and four nights in total bliss and confusion.

There was no English, nor was there any Pinyin (Chinese English, kind of thing) as all signs were in both Korean and Chinese characters. I slept, I read, I walked but mostly I ate and ate and ate at both Korean and Xinjiang Provinces’ Muslim eateries along with finding several fantastic and vibrant night markets.

In the main park there was even a small zoo where the deer ate fairy floss.

What I also found was a wonderful small city that was filled to the brim with some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever thrown my pack amongst and clicked my chop sticks with. So if you every find yourself on a North Korean Border Adventure or in the Korean Yanbian Autonomous Region (as I’m sure many of you will in the future..haha) then don’t be shy, drop in for some Pibimbap (rice mixed with assorted vegetables along a choice of meat and kimchee all in a stone pot along with a soup), sample the local brew and snack your way along the city’s main night market.

Maybe while you’re at the market, go ahead and buy something you know won’t work the following day as it’s all a part of the adventure!

<u>Now For a Bit on Yanji</u>

Yanji, also known as Yeon'gil from its Korean name, is the seat of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in eastern Jilin province, Northeast China. Its population is approximately four hundred thousand of which a large section is ethnic Korean and it is also a busy hub of transport and trade between China and North Korea. Yanji and its areas were largely unpopulated until the 1800s when Qing Dynasty rulers began to encourage migration there as an effort to stem encroaching Russian expansion.

<u>International Incidents</u>

The North Korean military detonated its second nuclear test in May 2009 close to the Chinese border and the blast set off an earthquake of magnitude 4.5 with an epicenter very close to Yanji. The mutual goodwill of the Chinese and Korean populations in the region was put under severe strain as many in Yanji expressed newfound feelings of dismay and insecurity regarding their North Korean neighbors.

A South Korean pastor, The Reverend Kim Dong Shik, was kidnapped in Yanji in January 2000, one of numerous well-publicised North Korean abductions of South Koreans: a suspect of mixed Korean-Chinese descent, said to have been trained in Pyongyang, was arrested and charged with the crime in December of 2004.

Yanji was the start point of an international dispute in 2009 when two American journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling were detained by North Korean border guards when, after leaving Yanji, they overstepped the nearby demarcation line. The two were freed only after intervention at the highest level, by former US President Clinton.

Yanji is often described as more of a Korean, rather than Chinese, community.

Two all-Korean television channels are produced locally and others can be freely received from both North and South Korea. Korean cuisine is highly popular and available everywhere and an annual Korean folk festival takes place each September featuring traditional Korean music, dance, painting, and sports.

<u>Crossing The Border (LP)</u>

Every year thousands of North Koreans slip across the border to China, either on their own, aided by relatives, or aided by people smugglers and Christian groups. Some return to the DPRK after earning more money than they ever could at home, the lucky few move on to South Korea, but an estimated one hundred thousand are stuck in the Korean autonomous Region where they live a precarious paperless existence.

In recent years women have made up the majority of the escapees and their situation is especially difficult. Some end up sold as wives to local farmers, others can be found living a dismal existence as prostitutes in the karaoke (KTV) joints in towns like Yanji. The plight, and that of other North Korean refugees, draws almost no attention to us in western countries.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Kid Rock The album was &#8216;Rockin Roll Jesus’ ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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