Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dalian - Day Trip to Shenyang

An excursion from Dalian to Shenyang, the capital city of the Liaoning Province of China, was planned for the afternoon of Bob's final day of meetings.  Shenyang was established about 300 BC, and was conquered by the Manchu people and briefly used at the capital of the Quing Dynasty in the early 1600's.  We traveled by train about two hours northeast to reach the Muken Palace; also known as the Shenyang Imperial Palace.  It was designed to resemble the Forbidden City in Beijing, but is built with some Manchu and Tibetan characteristics.  It is very similar in design to all of the other palaces we have seen in Korea.  I think I had more fun admiring the dress-up clothing intended to resemble what would have been worn in the 1600's.  My feet would have never survived those shoes!  This was also the first time I noticed that the dragon heads which adorn many of the palaces actually have a body, too!  Can you guess which building was the library?

That evening we were scheduled to have dinner at a North Korean restaurant.  Apparently, the North Korean government selects a few girls from among the aristocrats to have a work experience - similar to an internship - in China.  The young women are sent to work in restaurants which are fairly close to the border and are quite heavily monitored and controlled.  The women are not allowed to have much social interaction and were even a little hesitant to have their photos taken.  These young ladies cook, serve, and perform for their patrons, and all the while there are videos running in the room which show the high quality of life in North Korea.  The meal consisted of all kinds of meat such as venison, fowl, ox bone, pork and beef to seafood such as turtle soup, shrimp, fish and some kind of squiggly uterus.  There were also vegetables, rice dishes and soups; and the meal ended with fruit for dessert.  We were not able to stay for the performance since we had to catch our train back to Dalian.  It was an interesting experience, and in all honesty, it felt like a big propaganda stunt to me.  I am quite certain they don't live like that in North Korea.  But the young ladies were very kind and fun to visit with.  They said they miss their homeland and will be happy to return after their two to three year experience in China is finished. 

My heart yearns for the people of North Korea to know the freedoms and lifestyle that we currently enjoy in the southern end of the peninsula. We continue to pray that we might soon see the lights turn on in the north and witness that dream become a reality.


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