Beijing, China

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The Great Wall of China, one of the New7Wonders and CANNOT be seen from space.

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Beijing is very close to certain sections of the wall – around an hour and a half – and it’s easy and cheap to organize a private car tour.

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Where the Tiananmen Massacre took place.

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I have been to Beijing before, but I don’t have the pictures with it, so I figured I would just pop over to the Great Wall and snap a few shots. There are of course many other historical buildings, including the Forbidden City, within Beijing city.

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Since this section is close to the capital, there are many tourists. And they are from all over the world.

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I was very lucky as in the beginning, it was extremely foggy, but it got cleared up after around 15 minutes.

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North Korea / The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

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This is my hotel room in North Korea.

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Evidence that North Korea used to be a Buddhist country.

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The museum commemorating the first Kim’s “victory” in the Korean War, which “the United States started”.

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In the capital Pyongyang, there are many recently built buildings of the traditional Korean architecture. The city is itself the oldest city in the Korean peninsula.

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The “mother river” of North Korea, with the cruise standing by as an optional extra for tourists who wish to go along the river in the evening.

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The capital is quite well built with plenty of modern buildings. It’s tidy if anything. Everything is owned by the state and the state allocates housing to its citizens.

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The seat of the House of Kim from above. As you can see, there aren’t skyscrapers.

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Where they stored the gifts from foreign countries such as Hong Kong. Whilst the collection is nice, I don’t get why I’m travelling to North Korea just to see things that are not from North Korea. To add on that, it was a 2.5-hour each-way trip to this national reserve on the very bumpy road.

Most notably, there are two very realistic statues of the original Kim as well as one of his mother (all Made in China), and visitors were expected to bow to them. I got away with not bowing for the most part.

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Overall, it was a four-day trip but very little was actually seen. I entered from Dandong, China, and we took most of the day taking the train from the border to the capital, and on the last day, doing the reverse. The second and third days both contained at least five hours of travelling.

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Within the capital, we could only take photos from the coach unless it’s one of the very, very few scheduled attractions.

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Oddly, we went to see a Buddhist temple.

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Basically the only attraction on the first day. We could see from afar the big bronze statues of the Kims but were not taken near them.

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After 30 years, this hotel still has not been completed. I guess that’s the reason why we weren’t taken there either. This was taken only from the train as we entered the metropolis.

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The most interesting part I guess would be the border between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea. Apparently, the soldiers don’t normally stand out there and are only there for the tourists. The tour guide said once there was a tourist who ran across the border and a North Korean soldier was shot dead as an attempt to save the tourist.

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In front of the main square.

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I do wonder how life is like inside these buildings. Outside of the hotel, I haven’t even seen an actual water closet.

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Used to be a palace or something? I don’t remember. We went through everything extremely quickly, while stopping for some low-quality shopping.

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The main square where everyone was practising for the “Victory” Day celebrations.

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At night. Not that many lights.

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In the railway station. They are, of course, everywhere.

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All these people were basically just marching around. I don’t get why we didn’t go in the morning when the sun wouldn’t be shining from the back and when we could actually get closer to the main structure. It’s as if North Korea doesn’t actually want anyone to take photos of their supposed landmarks.

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One of the desks on which the armistice was signed.

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We were even taken to take one stop of the metro. The two stations followed the Moscow tradition of being well decorated but everything was clearly ancient. There were people standing around reading the shared newspapers posted on the notice boards.

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Was very disappointed that the musical performances were not anything impressive. But they did say it’s during the school holiday.

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Where they signed the armistice.

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Where they negotiated for the armistice.

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Some small town along the way.

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Taller than the one in Paris, France apparently.

Hainan, China

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During one of our cruise trips, my family and I visited Taiwan (no photos kept, I’m afraid), Hainan, and Vietnam (coming up next). This is about the huge island in southern China.

Just in case there’s any confusion, the words do say “the match that sells little boys” (or perhaps better translated as “The Little Boys Match”?). It’s either a wordplay on the story The Little Match Girl (which in Chinese sometimes turned into a boy – talk about transgenderism!), or the owner was just exceptionally twisted (and was called “little match” or something).

When I said visited, it was like a few hours, much like all other cruise tours all over the world. It’s not my favourite destination but this interesting sign was just something you cannot possibly miss.

The island itself was fine – it’s got beautiful beaches. That’s it, really.


Also, I have got my first follower! I’m not Taylor Swift-ing this – I’m genuinely surprised a complete stranger actually managed to find this site (created just last night) and liked it with the two less-than-stellar blog posts with ultra-old photos.

I was totally expecting the first reader to appear only after 50 posts or so, so this means a lot to me!

xoxo

Yunnan, China

I’ve been to China many times and Yunnan is by far my favourite – it’s got nature, it’s got history, it’s got animals, and it’s got interesting food. What’s not to like?

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This beautiful ethnic minority province is full of unique cultures and I have had the opportunity to visit the capital Kunming (uneventful), Dali (doesn’t look Chinese at all – looking back their ethnic dress looks more Mexican), Shangri-la (an overrated underdeveloped place), and one of the best citis in the country: Lijiang.

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Whilst Shangri-la boasts certain Tibetan buildings (and it’s much accessible than Tibet is), Lijiang is truly the crown jewel of the region, if not of the nation. I honestly don’t remember much (I do remember breaking my camera and getting it fixed there) of anything, but I recall vividly the ancient market town with its little alleys and romantic river (not that romance was really my thing at the time, what’s with my going with my family and just starting puberty), especially the candles on the little paper boats going down the stream.

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Unfortunately, when I was holding my baby brother’s hand, he suddenly broke free from my grip and my Olympus was dropped to the ground. We tried getting it fixed but alas, it held together for like 10 minutes and fell apart again.

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But hey, at least I’ve got some other pictures, huh? Although actually they might not even have been taken in Yunnan…

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The dates suggested that they were taken during the same trip though, and somehow I set Yunnan as the location on Facebook back when I uploaded them.

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So for now let’s just assume they were taken in Yunnan. Or at least just appreciate them for what they are.

They were definitely taken in China, that I can guarantee you.

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