Feb 18, 2008

Ice festival

Here are some of my photos from the ice festival in Harbin. As you're enjoying these from the comfort of home, imagine walking around at night for a couple hours in -8 ºF weather to view these man made wonders.

Here's the top of the seemingly safe ice slide. You pick up an amazing amount of speed going down this ice luge track while laying on a flimsy plastic sled, and then crash into a mound of loose snow at the very end. Here's a short video I made of a person sliding down. You get knocked around quite a bit into the walls of the luge. If you're one of those delicate vegetarian-types, think twice before trying this thing out, as you're likely to get bruised up.

At the bottom:

In Harbin, you could tell where certain visitors are from based on what they are wearing. For example:
  • People from southern China: ski jackets, thick ski pants, moon boots, hats, mittens, the works. They look like the little boy Randy from A Christmas Story that gets all bundled up by his mother, and when he falls over on the ground he's stuck like an overturned tortoise.
  • People from Beijing and nearby: winter clothes, gloves, winter hat. Relatively normal winter gear.
  • Northeastern people: sport coats for guys, skirts for girls; no hats or gloves for anyone. These are the equivalent of the "cool kids", jocks and cheerleaders.
Here's a photo of a local girl at the ice festival. Northeastern Chinese women (东北妞) are very hardy. Note this particular girl's sturdy legs and immunity to frigid temperatures. She must have many suitors.


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