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I was at a tiger conference in Hun-Chun (Jilin province) late last year. This is part of China that borders the Russian Far-East and North Korea and the area is sufficiently isolated, it's home to many of China's Amur tigers (or as is more commonly referred to in some parts of the West, the Siberian tiger).

One thing that quickly strikes you as you travel through China, is that it is a lot more diverse than people often think. Hun-Chun was a good illustration of that. The place was still too small to merit its own airport- we flew to Yanji and then had to drive to reach the place. Some of my fellow conference attendees remarked that customs in Beijing were bewildered when they were told where we were going. They'd never heard of the place. Still, we seemed to convince them it was a real place in China. I made up the name of some fictional hotel on my entry card. This was one of those kind of spontaneous trips where nobody actually told us where we were staying. The plan was just to fly to some remote part of China and see what happened next.

Hun-Chun turns out to have its own native Russian and Korean populations. So unlike say Hekeu where all the signs were in Chinese and Vietnamese, Hun-Chun was a very tri-lingual place:

My Hotel

The hotel's name was described in three languages- Korean, Chinese and Cyrillic. I guess that's also a good indication that tourists from the English-speaking world have yet to find it too.

This guy had a folding bicycle- helmet laws for cyclists seem non-existent in China.


Not entirely sure about this scene. The man is transporting two large dogs, one of which was definitely enjoying the ride.

I have a nagging feeling though that these may not be pets, but food.