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This is not Dorothy's Yellow Brick Road. Nor the secret exit to a Mario Brothers Game. This is (courtesy of Google Map) an unguarded Russian entrance to the Chinese border, a mouse-click away from North Korea across the Tumen River. In fact, all three countries converge in a narrow strip in the Tumen River. If you tried to swim across, you could be arrested, in the so-called Golden Triangle, by three different cultures.
Yet not much gold is evident. Everything appears rusty and in disrepair; almost gulag-like, especially in Khasan, where the Russian guard shack holds back the weeds. In the distance a Chinese watch-tower rises from Hunchun City, with North Korean Mountains rising on the left.
Google Map drivers have been allowed, sans visa, to penetrate the Siberian hinterland; China and North Korea, however, ban such frivolities out of fear of Western digital degeneration. Nevertheless, we can reflect upon the fuzzy facials of the Russian populace.
The woman above, with her bright clothes, green bucket, and well-done hair could be a far-East version of Melania Trump. Her stockings shout stylish. Obviously, however, the Russian city Khasan, the final point of the Trans-Siberian line, could use a few upgrades. With a rogue neighbor like North Korea, disaster seems inevitable. Yet life goes on; chickens, dogs, and ducks strut confidently. Maybe it is a ruse--like the guard shack--with soldiers hidden in the brush, using vodka bottles for periscopes; having perhaps gambled away their rubles.
Nevertheless, an impending nuclear apocalypse is likely a Drudge Report away. Yet why would anybody fight over such a bleak land?
I include a Youtube Slideshow, that shows larger resolution here:
With Google street map abandon, I navigate my mouse further down a road called Lineynaya ul: which I think means Linear Street; I have no way of knowing; it is in Russian; probably a Putin ruse.
But then my engine quit.
Here, one can clearly see the Chinese tower, almost pagoda-like, with a big Buddha buttress. This is where the road ends; either that or the Google driver was abducted, decided to turn around, or the white rectangle that pops up is a radar-jamming micro-weapon. I choose the latter; I could navigate no further. Foiled again, by a secret if not insane, possibly Chinese-aided, Korean technology, I navigated my screen-shot down another road and gadzooks!--
There is a Russian Tower on the left, looking at the Chinese Tower. Far-East spys on East, and visa versa.
I sped on, alongside an outlet of the Tumen River. Yes, a more pastoral view of the tower, with the less elegant Russian tower showing like a faint daub on the left, and the North Korean Mountains rising behind. Likely at least one Korean up there with a cracked telescope. What are those little boxes in the water? Some Russian ruse, no doubt.
Nearby, a fisherman appears.
In camou! Better back out!
Lastly, a possible Putin protege strolls onto the scene.
Enjoy my Google-assisted invasion of Russian Privacy. Or pick up your mouse and take a journey. There are many (corporately unfocused) and invasive shots of the local populace that you will recognize. I hope it does not make me a Russian Colluder--or even worse, a Peeping Jong.
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