Friday, January 02, 2009

The Making Of Snow Sculptures

Here in Harbin, there are two types of sculptures...those made out of ice and those made out of snow. According to the locals, the ice sculptures are best viewed at night, when the lights built into the blocks are illuminated to full effect. As for the snow sculptures, daylight is supposedly prime time, given their lack of internal lighting.

As it turned out, we happened to arrive at the snow sculpture exhibit in the evening. This meant that we had the park to ourselves (a rarity in China, that's for sure!). All to ourselves, that is, with the exception of the workers who were laboring well into the night on the sculptures that were not yet finished.

What a lucky accident! It was way, way cool to see bulldozers pushing away piles of chiseled snow. Making snow sculptures definitely requires a lot of brute force! And it was equally cool to watch teams of artists (there's no other term to describe these craftsmen) carefully scraping the snow into faces and other detailed features that bring the sculptures to life.

The traffic cop says, "Come to life?" And then he swallows his whistle.

Just how by ourselves were we? When we were finally ready to leave, we found a gate leading out of the park. It was closed. (China loves it barriers and blockades!) At the gate, there was a guard house. In the guard house, there was a guard. (China does have 1.4 billion people to put to work!)

The guard rolled away the gate, and we quickly rejoined Harbin's regularly scheduled programming. I have to say, though...The respite was kind of nice! I think the four of us will each have very vivid memories of our evening spent alone, with just the snow sculptures and their makers...

~Steve

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