Yough Pioneer Tours

Dandong and ferries south

I have south Korean friends, Korean American and even Chinese Korean friends, I have previously briefly visited the south, and Yanji in China, but essentially I know and do North Korea, the DPRK is “my” Korea, so being on a boat surrounded entirely by South Koreans felt a bit like being a strange another planet kind of place where everyone looked and sounded familiar, but they literally just weren’t.

Hospitality wise the Korean way kicked straight in, with a60 year old owner of a cartoon museum taking us fraught under his wing, feeding us and force feeding us 55 percent Chinese whisky, luckily I was thirsty….actually mannerism wise, and behavior it was exactly how drinking times go down with my Northern buddies, women largely serving us, fighting to fill each other others glasses, and the “host” going off to bed the moment he feels the night is over. My only slip seemed to be after impressing them with my ability to say cheers in Korean in as many ways as possible decided to toast to “tong il” or reunification. Turns out it’s not as popular a topic in these parts…

We spent the rest of the night drinking on the front deck of the boat surrounded by Koreans eating drinking and partying like crazy people, men, women, kids all having fun together, and even though we were the only 2 foreigners in the 600 passengers on board we were largely left alone. Very pleasant, very Korean. I slept well, my first time sleeping on a boat since 2005 and my departure from cruise ships one rainy day in Rome 7 years ago, almost to the day…..

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