Photos of everydaycrossroads
Clarence Clarence https://scontent.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-19/21372310_718008881743022_3845509216265568256_n.jpg
https://instatbt.com/Place/sinuiju/332133619 Sinuiju Sinŭiju is economically and touristically important for NK as the Chinese come over to buy cosmetics, for businesses and have a slice of NK life. One of the bridge that was destroyed during the Korean War was left as it is to remind the North Koreans of their American imperialistic enemies. Supposed to visit a working and running soap factory that Kim Jong Il visited regularly, it was “not running” because it was their “off day” but probably there was a power outage. I still got to see the inside of the factory and the array of manufactured NK cosmetics. The most disturbing of all on this trip was the visit to a NK-model kindergarten that specialises in arts and music. The teaching staffs are also the trainers for the Arirang Mass Dance. The principal showed us anti-American artworks by 5-6 years old kids. I also watched an entire 40 minutes performance by kids singing, dancing, playing instruments, acting and doing acrobatics. Uneasiness crept in as the names of the supreme leaders kept propping up. The kids also spoke and sang in Chinese in a bid to court the hearts of the Chinese tourists as their closest ally has hit them with even more sanctions. It was extremely disturbing to me to see indoctrination and brainwashing at such a young, tender and vulnerable age. No doubt talented and hardworking, these kids have become of the one of the many devoted Kim family followers and American-hating people. 🇰🇵 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/pyongyang-korea/246148050 Pyongyang, Korea The Juche Tower is a monument built to commemorate Kim Il Sung’s 70th birthday. It is the tallest stone tower and represents the Juche ideology. Juche is NK’s state ideology of self-reliance. Juche says that “man is the master of his destiny” and North Koreans are to act as the “masters of the revolution and construction”. In Juche ideology, Kim Jong Il advocated for a state where “all the people are under arms and the whole country becomes a fortress”. As such, it is developing its own nuclear ballistic missiles and has one of the largest military forces on earth. The Kim family is treated like sacred leaders and Juche can only be achieved through the masses’ subordination to them. .
Pyongyang is very dark by night. The only things illuminated was the hotel I was staying in (and by that, only the lobbies and the floor I was staying in lit), the Juche Tower and probably the bronze statues. When I asked my guide about this, I’m told that people are encouraged to save electricity and thus shut unnecessary electrical appliances in their homes. I asked about the famine and why did people not revolt against their leader for the mismanagement of resources. I was politely corrected that it’s the Arduous March and that there was not a lot of mismanagement but largely the fault of massive floods. I briefly asked about directing budgets from militarisation to feeding people but I was told that the NK people strongly believe in the Juche ideology of “military first” and that defence of the nation is more important despite widespread famine and malnutrition which shows how strong the cult of the Kim Family is in NK. 🇰🇵 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/pyongyang-korea/246148050 Pyongyang, Korea The Worker’s Party of Korea’s emblem consists of the hammer, sickle and calligraphy brush that represent the workers, farmers and intellectuals respectively. The monument is 50 m high to commemorate the 50 years since the founding of the party. It sits directly opposite the two bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill.
Before coming into NK, I always thought that everybody earns the same wages (as per communism). In reality, everybody earns different wages based on their occupations. Teachers and scientists/researchers earn the most. Farmers and agriculturalists also earn a relatively high wage while workers are the lower. Expectedly, everybody here gets the same amount of rations a month: food, electricity, water, etc. Healthcare is free and so is education (including university)! Interesting fact, employees are given 5 litres of beer for FREE as part monthly rations! 🍻 I visited a microbrewery in Pyongyang with 7 different beers and is popular among locals. Another interesting fact, there are few chairs in the pub because the government wants people to not spend too much time there and spend more time with their family. 🇰🇵 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/pyongyang-si-north-korea/542119922 P'yongyang-si, North Korea This is the first post of my North Korean series. I am aware of the deplorable things the NK regime has done to its people and foreigners. I also know whatever I’ve been shown is a facade but there were multiple lapses in which I saw the true side of NK. I’ve also seen the beauty and good from its people as well. I implore you to read with an open mind because every posts in this NK series will consist of facts and perspectives from NK followed by my opinions and perspectives as the second part.
The 22 m bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il stand tall on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang. Kim Il Sung was one of the prominent guerrilla leader that fought against the colonial Japanese rulers and became the leader of the provisional government set by the Soviets after World War II. They declared statehood in September 1948 and ruled over the country until his death in 1994. His son, Kim Jong Il, took over the helm until his death in 2011. Both Kims are now regarded as the Eternal Leaders of Juche Korea with their portraits everywhere and bronze statues in every city.
Before we enter the square, we all had to line up in rows of 9. We walked forward together until we are in front of the two statues. Those with flowers stepped forward and place the flowers under them and returned back to their positions. We then do a 90 degree bow. Photos of the statues must be taken entirely with both statues and the person must stand with their hands by the side facing the camera. Nothing else is allowed as there are officials around the square looking at every of our movements. I didn’t felt uncomfortable since I’m just bowing for show. Even though religion is discouraged (probably even banned), to me this is just religion in another form with many devoted believers of the Kim family. 🇰🇵 everydaycrossroads 📷: mangomemoriess
https://instatbt.com/Place/beijing-china/213502500 Beijing, China Running my way into the Forbidden City! Surrounded by a 7.9 m (26 ft) high city wall and 6 m (20 ft) deep by 52 m (171 ft) wide most, the Forbidden City (紫禁城) is a palace complex in central Beijing. This is where the emperors lived and ruled over China for almost 500 years. The architecture here is just amazing as it is the world’s largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures! 🇨🇳 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/beijing-china/213502500 Beijing, China I’ve finally made my way to Tiananmen Square (天安门广场) to see Chairman Mao’s huge portrait hanging off Tiananmen. This is where Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China on 1 October 1949. Tiananmen is the main entrance to the Imperial City, which contains the Forbidden City. The placard on the left reads “Long Live the PRC” while the placard on the right reads “Long Live the Unity of the World’s People”. Feels surreal to be walking across one of the world’s biggest square which has witnessed many historical events. 🇨🇳 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/great-wall-of-china/236834088 Great Wall of China Amazing view of one of the world’s greatest architectural feat, the Great Wall of China. Including all of its branches, the Great Wall spans out to 21196 km (13171 mi). Other than defending the Chinese states and empires against invasions, it also served as border and custom controls. I remembered learning quite a fair bit about the Middle Kingdom from my history classes 10 years ago and hearing about the Great Wall built by Qin Shihuang who was the first emperor of a unified China and by the several dynasties after. I can’t believe I am actually seeing it with my own eyes right now. What a sight to behold! 🇨🇳 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/sino–korean-friendship-bridge/1432347680393862 Sino–Korean Friendship Bridge Today I’ll be hitting two milestones: going to country 80 and that country will be the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Yup, that’s right, North Korea (조선)! I’ll be taking the train southwards from the Chinese-North Korean border to Pyongyang (평양) and will be there for 3 days. I’ll head back northwards to the border city of Sinuiju (신의주) for a day before coming back to Dandong in China. This often heard about hermit kingdom has always intrigued me. For the next 3 days, my handy assistant (Mum) will be posting on my behalf so please be supportive towards her and give her all the likes ❤️. I’ll be back with the exclusive North Korean photos and posts soon. See you in a bit! 🇰🇵 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/great-wall-of-china/236834088 Great Wall of China Balancing precariously on a stack of disintegrated bricks, I climbed out of the watch tower into the prohibited section of the Great Wall. Overgrown plants spouting out of crumbled grey bricks in a frenzied disorder have overtaken this section of the wall. As I looked far ahead, this ancient fortification stretches far and beyond, following the contours of the forested mountain ridge.
This is the wild side of the Great Wall of China. 🇨🇳 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/great-wall-of-china/236834088 Great Wall of China There are many things that I wanted to see when I come to China but the main one is the Great Wall of China that serpentines along the forested mountain ridges and seems to stretch for no ends. There are going to be more amazing photos especially of the sections that are not restored and not permitted for people to enter. 🇨🇳 everydaycrossroads 📷: bryan.yq.ong
https://instatbt.com/Place/urumqi-shi-xinjiang-china/225765511 Ürümqi Shi, Xinjiang, China Went up to the top of a pagoda in Hongshan Garden to see how much development has happened here in Ürümqi over the past decades. The Chinese government has been pouring a lot of money and investment into the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Region in a bid to attract people to work and live there, as well as to level up the level of development to ease ethnical unrest. I really wasn’t ready to be greeted by massive skyscrapers here in far west China. Fun facts: Xinjiang contains the geographical centre of Asia just 30km away from Ürümqi. Ürümqi is also the city that is the furthest away from the sea in the world. 🇨🇳 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/urumqi-shi-xinjiang-china/225765511 Ürümqi Shi, Xinjiang, China My first 3 hours in Ürümqi was quite the adventure. I was checked literally everywhere I go: baggage check and ID check. It also involved a lot of the authority repeatedly asking for my visa which I often reply with visa-free. I went to my first hostel only to be rejected because I’m a foreigner. I stood outside on the main street lost with no back up plan and no internet. Unfortunately (subsequently fortunately), I was dragged into a police station and got ID checked again. They asked for my registration address and I said I’m visa free and there is no requirement for me to have one. In addition, it was my first day here in China. Frustrated that I don’t know what’s registration address in Chinese, I started bursting out in a strings of English words after having this interrogation in Chinese for 10 minutes. They pointed me in a vague direction to a youth hotel and I started heading there. I had to ask countless SWAT policemen, military personnels and locals before arriving there. It was a whooping 108 yuan for a night but I resigned to fate. It was just a night after all right? Later, they realised I’m a foreigner and they couldn’t let me stay. Frustrated I just walked to a bank and decided to change money. Lady at the bank reception was incredibly kind and Baidu-ed (googled) a youth hostel that took in international guests. Eventually, after almost 3 hours of roaming around frustrated and asking strangers, I finally found a place to stay. I think the situation would have been a lot worst if I did not know a single Chinese. Thank heavens I did. But apparently my Chinese sounds so impeccable that they thought I was from some big cities like Shanghai and Beijing. And this is how I began my adventure here in China. 🇨🇳 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/shymbulak-ski-resort-almaty-kazakhstan/719192963 Shymbulak Ski Resort, Almaty, Kazakhstan It’s my last day here in Almaty, Kazakhstan and I’m heading to Ürümqi, Xinjiang Uighur Region in China this morning on a 24 hours bus ride. I can’t believe my time in Central Asia has finally come to an end. I’m quite relieved to be leaving as I’m craving for some good Chinese food. But most importantly, I’m proud that I’ve made this journey across Central Asia as it is rarely heard of and I’ve met the craziest and most hardcore of travellers here. It is such a hidden gem and also a great challenge to travel within. Locals here are warm hearted and will not hesitate to protect you from those crafty authorities. This trip was just a teaser and I’ll definitely be back here again during the right season to fully explore all the 5 stans and Afghanistan (that includes the infamously difficult Turkmenistan). everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/shymbulak-ski-resort-almaty-kazakhstan/719192963 Shymbulak Ski Resort, Almaty, Kazakhstan Spending my 150th travel day by getting my last dose of wintry snow before heading down south to the tropics. It got so cold that my phone’s battery went flat from 60% in 5 minutes. ❄️🇰🇿 everydaycrossroads 📷: kirill_budanov_
https://instatbt.com/Place/bishkek-kyrgyzstan/221029755 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan Why sometimes I love Instagram. I met _ilyaz_ in Bishkek as he found my profile through one of the pages in Osh city. With that, he managed to hook me up with one of the construction projects here and we got up on to one of the currently under construction apartments. Standing at the 17 storey, the soon-to-be penthouse overlooks the entire city of Bishkek without any obstruction. Safety is important so always helmets on! 🇰🇬👷🏼 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/cholpon-ata/240707819 Cholpon-Ata It’s important to listen to your body. Take a break. Stretch it out. Be lazy. Sometimes the best travel moments are the times you sit back and do absolutely nothing. everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/cholpon-ata/240707819 Cholpon-Ata Issyk-Kul means warm lake as it never freezes over despite being 1607 m above sea level and surrounded by the snow capped Tian Shan Mountains. Cholpon-Ata used to be a very popular beach resort town during the Soviet times but it went on decline after the dissolution of the USSR. I went for a quick waddle because I’ve been beach deprived since mid-August and it really isn’t freezing cold for this time of the year. 🇰🇬 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/osh-kyrgyzstan/226330658 Osh, Kyrgyzstan Making use of this fantastic warm weather to hike to the top of Sulayman Mountain for an epic view of the entire city of Osh. Sulayman Mountain marks the midway point of the ancient Silk Road and is also a sacred mountain worshipped over several millennia. 🇰🇬 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/karakul-kŭhistoni-badakhshon-tajikistan/682845382 Karakul', Kŭhistoni Badakhshon, Tajikistan The Pamir Highway is the second highest altitude international highway in the world at 4655m at Ak-Baital Pass. It passes by the gorgeous alpine Lake Karakul at 3900m that is surrounded by snow capped mountains on the west. It goes up to 4280m again at Kyzylart Pass where you can stamped out of Tajikistan 🇹🇯. A whole 20 minutes drive through no-man's land finally brings me to country 79: Kyrgyzstan 🇰🇬. everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/pamir-mountains/310885006 Pamir Mountains Cruising along the Pamir Highway to Murghab by going over the Koitezek Pass at over 4270 m. Tall vermillion trees lining the road turned into short brown mosses and lichens and eventually into barren rocks and snow. I'm loving the epic snow capped mountainous landscape right at the top. Hopefully I survived the -8C tonight! 🇹🇯 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/khorog-tajikistan/274765575 Khorog, Tajikistan Lovely day here in Khorog to do some planning and reflecting. I really wished I had more time here in Tajikistan to do the route along the Wakhan Valley and also do some mountain trekking in the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. Checking with the tourism office here in Khorog, getting an Afghan visa at the consulate here is an incredibly easy and fast process of just 2 hours. I'll definitely be back here again around July to discover more of Tajikistan and also explore Afghanistan! 🇹🇯 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/pisa-italy/213105555 Pisa, Italy By everydaycrossroads // Everyone was so friendly and raising their hands to give you a high-five 🖐🏼😂 But I guess my repeated jump kicks scared everyone out of the grass patch for this epic no-photobombers shot.
📷: brentfolan | Pisa, Italy.
https://instatbt.com/Place/pamir-mountains/310885006 Pamir Mountains Travelling from Dushanbe to the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan is a beautiful but strenuous journey. Driving along the Panj River that forms the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan is not an easy feat. The mountain pass is poorly paved (sometimes unpaved) and narrow. It winds left right and goes up down. There is not a single street lamp at night. However, it rewards you with a beautiful view of the fast flowing river with little Tajik and Afghan villages dotting the base of these soaring mountains. I'm glad I've made it to Khorog after a 12 hours ride in a land cruiser (with 4 hours of drive that is illuminated just by the headlights and moonlight). 🇹🇯 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/dushanbe-tajikistan/245615810 Dushanbe, Tajikistan I've made it country 78, Tajikistan! I'm super excited to explore this mountainous and untouched country. Gonna stock up on essentials and warm clothes here in Dushanbe before heading up to the Pamir mountains. 🇹🇯 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/tashkent-uzbekistan/231385413 Tashkent, Uzbekistan It has been a wonderful week here in Uzbekistan. Such a lovely country with many historical sites, sensory-overload bazaars as well as warm hearted and inquisitive people. I will definitely be back here again in 2021 when Uzbekistan will be liberalising their visa policies.
Fun fact: Uzbekistan is one of the two doubly landlocked country (other one being Liechtenstein) as it's surrounded by landlocked Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. 🇺🇿 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/cappadocia--kapadokya/222946927 Cappadocia / Kapadokya By everydaycrossroads // Today is another one of those long travel days but I'm incredibly excited to finally visit the Kurdistan region of Iraq when I arrive in Erbil this evening. I'm not sure what to expect in Erbil except for the insane maximum temperature of 45C/113F. I would rather be on a hot air balloon high up in the sky and floating my way towards Erbil instead of winding through this rocky barren terrain. | Turkey.
🇹🇷 Ever been on a hot air ballon? Where?
https://instatbt.com/Place/samarkand/235590854 Samarkand On the front page of every Uzbekistan travel magazine is the Registan Square of Samarkand that is framed by three madrasahs of Ulugh Beg, Sher-Dor and Tilya Kori. It feels surreal to be here in the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand which was the capital of the Timurid Empire. I am impressed by the sheer beauty of the domes and minarets. 🇺🇿 everydaycrossroads
Clarence Yong Clarence Yong 2017-10-21 Who the heck would have thought that me, a backpacker who just graduated with a chemistry degree 3 months ago, would be giving a presentation on travel and hospitality to students studying Hotel Management in Bukhara State University in Uzbekistan? couchsurfing everydaycrossroads https://scontent.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-15/e35/22639150_343737516091557_3866403184188588032_n.jpg 2017-10-21
https://instatbt.com/Place/bukhoro-bukhoro-uzbekistan/420608283 Bukhoro, Bukhoro, Uzbekistan "How old are you?" "24."
"Where's your children?" "No children."
"Where your wife?" "I'm not married."
"How come handsome man like you not married?"
We are all around the same age and yet we lead such vastly different life. While I've just finished university and still figuring out my life by embarking on this journey, most people of my age here are married and have or are expecting their first child. I've seen more than 10 wedding photo shoots here and most of them are the same as me or even younger. Maybe in another parallel dimension, I'm happily married with a beautiful wife and have adorable kids. 🇺🇿 everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/bukhoro-bukhoro-uzbekistan/420608283 Bukhoro, Bukhoro, Uzbekistan The students asked, "Travelling alone all the time, are you not afraid of getting lonely and bored?" "You all are speaking to me right now, does that seem lonely and boring?" I asked. everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/mashhad-iran/220592830 Mashhad, Iran I thought a picnic lunch outing would be sandwiches on picnic mats in the fields. Turns out to be an outdoor cooking in the mountains under the trees with alcohol and shisha. Bloody fantastic that is! couchsurfing everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/tashkent-uzbekistan/231385413 Tashkent, Uzbekistan After a 17 hours layover, I've finally made it to country 77, Uzbekistan! I'm so excited to be here in Central Asia. Sometimes I think that fate works in mysterious and wonderful ways. I decided not to head to Baku earlier and stayed in a hostel in Tbilisi, in which I befriended an Uzbek friend. Coincidentally he is back home in Uzbekistan and as I always say, a second reunion is always sweeter. Blessed to have a local friend to guide and help me around when I can't speak any Uzbek or Russian. everydaycrossroads
https://instatbt.com/Place/shiraz-iran/216121689 Shiraz, Iran I have spent four entire weeks here in Iran. I've picked up a few Farsi words and phrases and can somewhat managed to order my favourite foods on my own. I've met countless of kind and hospitable people, from the lovely families that have hosted me, to the bus drivers who kindly reminded me to get off and to the strangers who stopped to say salam and asked where I'm from, or offered me food and tea, or offered me rides. I've learnt so much about Shia Islam and yet I've learnt why there are so many Iranians becoming atheist/irreligious. I've visited one too many beautiful mosques, shrines, bazaars and ancient bathhouses. I've eaten too many dizis (mutton soup with chickpeas), kebabs and ghormeh sabzis (herbs stew with beans and meat), drunk too much aragh sagi (spirit) and doogh (yoghurt drink), and smoked too many qalyan (shisha). Even though I've not seen all of Iran, I've seen more generosity and beauty in the people here than the other 74 countries I had travelled to.
That news you're reading that Iran is not safe to travel, put that crap down! I can't wait for all of you to visit this beautiful country and meet its kind hearted people. I'm not sure when I'll be back but I look forward to that day. Thank you Iran and I've definitely left a part of my heart here! 🇮🇷 everydaycrossroads