Neighborly visits on border

Updated: 2015-04-27 07:34

By Erik Nilsson(China Daily)

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Neighborly visits on border

DPRK women attend a cross-border trade fair in Dandong. [Photo/China Daily]

China's largest border city offers close encounters with its mysterious northeastern neighbor. Erik Nilsson visits the DPRK and dances with its people-without technically setting foot on its shores.

The restaurant's photo ban was not surprising.

But the smoking prohibition during-only during-the tableside performance seemed unusual.

Until the show began.

Waitresses in traditional silk dresses and hats grabbed our hands and whisked us from our seats.

We'd expected to applaud, from our table across the room, a classic, choreographed song-and-dance routine from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Instead, we found ourselves across the room from our table, drunkenly belting out karaoke and grooving with our hosts in a way more typical of a nightclub than a restaurant.

Entertainers and guests formed a ring around the waitress and myself as we crooned Casablanca in a KTV duet. Hands clasped, our audience repeatedly surged in to break us apart.

That was before the conga line. Afterwards, we danced to techno.

The night smashed stereotypes of the DPRK.

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