Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wandering Around Harbin

Transferring trains in Beijing, we arrived in Harbin about 17 hours after we left Datong. The negative degree weather wasn't as fierce as I expected but don't get me wrong it was pretty dag-on cold. After resting at the hotel a bit we went out wondering for a while. We found "Central Street" (中英大街), a popular shopping/touristy street, and walked around there a bit. It dead ends at the Songhua River (松花江), which is completely frozen over this time of year. There was a giant ice slide from the street down to the river, people were scooting around on these ice skate chairs, and there were horse carriages taking people across to the other side. I couldn't believe how frozen everything was. Spit, throw up, trash – it would all just freeze to the ground, preserved there until it thaws in the spring. In the days following we discovered one of the bomb shelters that had been turned into an underground shopping mall, encompassing six blocks or something like that. We also bought ice cream off the street because it the outside temperature was colder then a freezer anyways; In fact, the beer was normally warm because its kept inside to keep from freezing.

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