Dandong, China yay! Right on the border of North Korea! We thought to ourselves oh we are not going there they must be crazy! Then we remembered we told ourselves we would be yes man and woman. So we decided to take on the free trip. Our whole Chinese and Foreign staff boarded the fast train off to Dandong. We arrived after 2 hours and the city looked nice, it was slower than dalian but still clean. We got on the bus to our hotel and were surprised at how nice it was. Our room was huge, had 2 showers and a nice tub, the bathroom was like a see-through room, we even had a poker table. We got ready for dinner, Chinese barbecue. The staff probably hates us by now because we don’t eat red meat so they had to make special arrangements for us to get veggies and chicken. We did our “gan beis” (which means dry the cup) around to the whole staff and the director that hired us to show our respect. After cooking, eating and a few laughs we noticed everyone was on their phones, our director Betty was sending out free money on the phone app WeChat giving out red packets with random amounts of money, and the first one to click it gets the money, people were trying to win big. We won 18 rmb for lucky wifi service and fast fingers. We decided to take a walk and leave the shenanigans, to the river right outside the restaurant. It was hazy and really cloudy and dark. Little did we know, we were looking across at North Korea.
The next morning, bright and early we got breakfast in the hotel. Traditional Chinese breakfast. I swear they eat the same thing for all three meals. Anyway its a hardy breakfast. We grabbed a veggie dumpling, bread and fruit and made a few calls to Amazon about our business account.
We then boarded the bus to Fenghuang Mountain. The countryside was beautiful with vast corn fields and rice fields, ox, goats, cows, ducks, chickens frolicking around freely. I don’t know if it was just me but people looked happier there. We arrived at the mountain, took a vip bus up to the mountain where our hike began. We attempted to look at the map, but it was worthless for us because it was in Chinese. It was blazing hot that day, we were thinking we would be hiking through trails up the mountains; no, Chinese hiking is climbing up millions of tiny steep steps on the edge of a mountain. We climbed the first mountain and decided that that was good enough haha. We explored and tried to find a good hammock spot so we wandered a bit saw beautiful koi fish, a few waterfalls, clear spring water which we drank and some temples. We came across cable cars and saw no line, it looked fun so we saw the Chinese lady gave her some cash and hopped on (we’re random like that). The cars were cute and the views were amazing. We cheated up the mountain and didn’t know haha. We ate our grilled barbecue chicken we made the day before at the beach, relaxed and took it all in, including the kids peeing everywhere. We paid cash to go back down the mountain. After resting and taking pictures, we left for the day.
That night, we had a fancy dinner at this nice restaurant with big windows that overlooked the river that disconnects China from North Korea. The meal was great, wine was everywhere, fish, this jelly sandwich with cheese on top? It was weird but tasted pretty good. Betty(the school owner) and a few others gave speeches and toasted. At this point, we were kind of turned off, we felt outcasted, the staff were kissing ass big time(sorry but they were) and even though we knew, now we saw how we weren’t apart of this “family”. The whole thing just started to not feel genuine. We gave our sincere thanks to the director for hiring us and welcoming us, listened to everyone do karaoke, ate, drank took a taxi and hit the sack.
The next day, we started off with our morning calls to America because we were trying to get our inventory (Everyday Modern Hidden Alcohol Plastic Flask) sent to Amazon. The whole morning we were stuck in the hotel lobby because we needed the wifi. Before meeting everyone at the train station at 3:10, we scouted the neighborhood for food, but of course there was nothing we could eat. So, we grabbed sugar bread and waited to feast at home. When we got back to Dalian we were at a different train station than the one we departed on. It was further out, so taking the metro train back to our neighborhood in rush hour with luggage took a hot and sweaty hour. When we finally came out the metro and saw Olympic Square, it was the first time in 9 months where Dalian felt like our home. We were glad to see our Dalian folk and our sweet Dalian aroma. We siced it, far from sweet. We were happy to be home.
Don’t wait to live.
Sice your life!
Peace and Love.