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Friday, January 11, 2008

Harbin's Ice Festival (哈尔滨冰雪大世界)

So the tiger video, did ya like it? Well, screw you, I liked it. Anyway, for those of you playing along at home, that tiger park was in Harbin, a "quaint" town of four million people in China's most northern of northern provinces, 黑龙江 (Heilongjiang province, "Black Dragon River" province), and the biggest Chinese town near the Russian border. One of the benefits of being this cold (and trust me, it was cold), is that ice and snow tend to stick around for a while. So what better way to while away those frigid sub-Siberian days than to have a big crazy ice festival? I know, that's what I said! So, as is my wont, pictures! More wine, madder music, and pictures!

If getting there is half the journey, then the journey in China is cramped with oversold seating.

Our first taste of the ice world that awaited: a wall of ice, complete with advertisements and lights buried within.

The BeiHua Boys in Harbin.

Some girls played Chinese chess on a life-size chessboard ... a chessboard MADE OF ICE!

The Russian church of St. Sophia.

An ice bar. It's a bar, made of ice. The walls are ice, the bar is ice, you drink out of cups that are made of ice, and even the ashtrays were ice. It was a little drafty.

Like something out of Norse mythology, Harbin had a miniature ice forest.

哈尔滨冰雪大世界欢迎您! "Harbin's Big Ice World Welcomes You!"

Lotta lights, lotta ice!

Jim goes snow-golfing.

In addition to a lot of ice sculpture, there was a lot of snow sculpture on display as well.

Told ya.

An unrivaled combination of fire and ice! Robert Frost, eat your heart out. (And I think that "pillar" looks like a giant beer.)

The Songhua River frozen this far north, you can skate on the ice, or ride the giant ice slide down to the ... ice ... below. The strange thing is that this river is the same river that reaches down to Jilin ... amazing that the cities are linked like that.

Truly an ice ... world.

Well, those are the highlights. My full album is here. James was able to arrive in Harbin early, and has some fantastic photos on his Picasa of some amazing snow sculpture.

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