Anyone who knows me well, would know that I have always wanted to be let go with a huge block of ice and a chainsaw! I would love to create beautiful ice sculptures like those seen on cruise ships, weddings or even better, Harbin China. I missed participating in the ice sculpting competitions in Harbin so I guess for now I will settle for being a spectator.
Recently 9 teachers from Yew Chung International School traveled to Harbin for a very cold tour of the 28thHarbin International Ice and Snow Festival. The fun began way before we arrived in Harbin!
Afterall, shopping needed to be done in order to prepare for the bitter cold temperatures expected once we arrived.
Heading to the fake market, we were on the lookout for hats, gloves, jackets, boots, hand warmers and snow goggles. We found everything but the snow goggles. So what does our friend Mo purchase in place of snow goggles? A swim mask, yep… A swim mask. Now if you’ve ever worn a swim mask you will know that the mask covers your nose! Hmmm, how is she going to breathe? Well, that is to be figured out later. She throws them in the basket.
Armed with ski pants, goose down jackets and all of the warm weather gear we found at the fake market, we arrived in Harbin after a 3 hour flight delay with the temperatures
hovering around -12 degrees c.
We hopped on a bus and headed for our weekend adventure. The ice sculptures were more spectacular than I ever could have imagined. Almost magical. The ice park was an amazing sight! Somehow I think if I were let go with a chainsaw and a chunk of ice, my sculptures wouldn’t have looked much like what I saw at the Festival.
We had dinner at an ice restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel. Eating at the ice restaurant was great fun and the food was good. The ginger tea was the absolute best! We dined in our goose down jackets, fake Ugg boots and they supplied us with white gloves to keep our hands warm for dinner. The temperature in the restaurant was a chilling -10c.
In between the ice and snow sculptures, we managed to get in a trip to the Polar Plunge which was just a bunch of old people diving into cold river water and running back into a warm sauna type house. But while I was there I did get to hold an arctic fox. He was beautiful and so thick with fur.
We also stopped in at the Siberian Tiger Park. The tigers were amazingly huge. We saw a couple of beautiful white tigers, which apparently are mutants of the Siberian Tigers.
Some of the animals at the park didn’t appear to be in the best of shape, or housed in the best type of conditions, so not sure I would recommend a stop here. But maybe they need your money to support the animals, so maybe a stop would be in order.
The snow sculptures were an impressive sight as well. It is amazing to see all of the vivid detail in the sculptures. There was sledding, dog pulled sleigh rides and deer to feed if you so desired at the snow park.
An hour and a half was about all the time we needed because as the sun began to set, it began to get colder! Plus our arm, foot and back warmers were working over time as they were on their 6th hour of keeping our body parts warm.
So we headed to the bus and stopped for a warm drink before we continued to the airport. I must say, for the temperatures being in the below zero range, I was not as cold as I had anticipated. I will even be able to return some cold weather gear to the sporting goods store that I didn’t wear.
And what about Mo and her goggles? Well, she cut a big hole in the nose so she could breathe! Hopefully, she will not try to use them in the pool this weekend when she heads to Thailand.