Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Harbin Ice Festival - China - 2010
The temperatures in Harbin today were a high of 1 and a low of -22. If you're thinking about visiting to see the ice festival, you might want to find a better strategy for keeping your feet and hands warm than I had! Even with warm boots, thick wool socks and an under-layer of cotton socks my toes went numb in less than an hour!
There are about 10 tourist hot spots outlined for Western eyes and I managed to see three of them today. I first ventured to Zhongyang Street during the daytime. There were a variety of shops, nothing special for most Western shoppers, but there were several ice sculptures along the street. Though, my favorite was a statue that displayed the frigid temperature!
I headed back to the Shangri-La hotel where I was staying and had a Cappuccino to warm up. Here's a tip: when you're in China - drink tea. The coffee is terrible.
After resting I ventured out to a smaller park called Zhaolin Park. My favorite part of this park was that it had ice sculptures from different countries. Team USA had two sculptures. The first was sort of an abstract thing and the second was mind-numblingly simple: a squirrel. Though I found it endearing!
Next I went to the main park which is called the Ice and Snow World. This place is amazing! Though be careful walking around. I fell on the ice and smacked me head on an ice sculpture. No, I wasn't taking a photograph or doing anything silly...I was just walking! My feet began to go numb and when it felt like I had no toes...I knew that wasn't good so I headed for a taxi. It should have cost 15RMB to get to my hotel, but a crowed to taxi drivers tried to rip me off at 50RMB. I ended up getting back to the hotel for 20RMB...Anywhere there are Westerner tourists you've got to really be mindful of getting a fair deal. ALWAYS ask the hotel how much things should cost!!!