Sunday, January 04, 2009

Ice And Snow World In The Day

Recall that evening is high time to take in Harbin's ice sculptures, when they are lit up in all their glory. For our second visit to Harbin's top attraction (have we mentioned how incredible Ice and Snow World is?), we decided to once again go against the grain and check the place out in broad daylight. What a great decision that turned out to be!

For one thing, the sculptures look totally different with the sun beating down on them. Bright contrasting colors give way to a sea of total white and reflecting glass. All of us agreed that the park looks and feels much colder during the day, even though we know this isn't actually the case. It's amazing how a visual focus on ice (bing), as opposed to lights (deng), can have an effect on one's other senses.

And then there was the second major difference...The place was virtually deserted! The crowds don't really begin arriving in earnest until after dusk. This meant that we had the park pretty much to ourselves for a couple of hours. With a lack of lines at some of the major attractions, we took full advantage...

The tubing hill. It just didn't seem worth it to wait for a ten second ride down a small incline. But, all of a sudden, the ride looked pretty appealing when we could slide to the bottom and run right back up to the top. Along the way, we got to "know" the operators, who began doing fun things with us, like grabbing us by the feet and sending us spinning hard down the slope. Even Desi got in on some of that action!

The snowmobile ride. Same story. Why wait out in the bitter cold to take one lap around a circular course in a snowmobile? Not only did we not have to wait long, we also enjoyed a te se (special) treatment. A tubing hill operator who had pushed us down many, many times had now moved over to the snowmobiles. He knew that Z was not the minimum age of sixteen, but after thinking about it for a few minutes, he decided that Z could have a spin. As for Julie, I think her height faked him out.

Brilliant white ice sculptures, lots of winter fun...and we haven't even talked about the ice slides yet...

~Steve

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