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02 February 2008 @ 09:44 am
Two Weeks in China: day 11 {Harbin Tiger park and Ice park}  
Almost done!! There should be one (maybe 2) posts about China left after this one-- what a whirlwind!!

On day 11 (Christmas day!!) we all woke up early in our nice hotel, and headed out into the completely FREEZING land known as Harbin. Harbin is near Russia-- and so so soo shows it! Cold cold cooooold! I was wearing a jacket lined with (fake) fur, three layers of sweaters, and woolen pants under my jeans, and I had my pockets stuffed with the best invention known to man (aka Kairos), but I was still freezing. I don't know how anybody can survive up there!! *brrrrrrrr!*

Well, this day on recommendation of ShiLei, we went to the Tiger Park and then did a little shopping, and then went down to the absolutely gorgeous ice park! I believe it's a small-scale preview of what I'm going to see in Hokkaido next week~~ wooow! (Also, I was told that it's colder there than in Hokkaido, so that's glad to know. ^^ Plus February= slightly warmer temps I hope!) Have I mentioned that I can't WAIT for Summer? Bring on the heat pleeeease!!

The tiger park... it was very interesting seeing tigers and other cats up close, but.. as I expected, I wasn't impressed with the conditions of the animals or the park. Especially the ones that had been placed in cages (supposedly they were there because they were sick or mating or too small to go out yet, etc, so I guess it makes sense). But it was both humbling to see these amazing giant cats walk near to me-- they're so BIG!!-- but also quite sad to see them caged up in this way. ;_; Big amazing cats like this really belong in the wild, running free!

So we got to see the city a little bit-- and WOW was the sky blue! I think that's one of the only times that I saw blue sky in China. It was always both too foggy and too smoggy, covering up the crystal blue that it could have been. Thankfully Harbin is relatively polution-free. Maybe part of that can be owed to the amazingly effective heating systems that they have. Radiators = MAJOR win. <3<3<3 Why oh why does Japan fail in this? *is freezing atm*

Then it was the ice park... it was so gorgeous! Wow... it was my first time to see ice lit up in this way, and despite the bone-chill, I had a blast there!! And fell down a few times (though I wasn't the only one!)

What says Christmas like a bottle o beer?


Or, lots of bottles o beer!


I'm a tiger! GRRR!! ^^;;;;






You have to ride a little bus with a tour guide, who tells you some things about tigers (I think..). That's so you don't get eaten, I suppose......? But the tigers mulled around the gate, and I felt kind of sorry for them..


It turned out they wanted to be given food!! Some of them chased the food truck as it splurted out meat. I felt sad seeing the magnificent animal reduced to this... but at least it was a free meal? x.x;;


It was really interesting watching the poor tigers eat, though. You could tell who were the "leaders" and whatnot, by the way that they acted towards each other.






It's a faceoff!!!


Grrr!!


Beauty <3


Running away?


Awwwwwwww, he reminds me of my cat here in Tokyo. ^^


This little girl was really cute, she was mesmerized by the tigers, and so enthusiastic!!








Baby tigers!! These were some of the ones in the cages. But they were so cute!!!


"I don't like the taste of hoooooman"!


This one was SO CUTE!! He was obviously sick, but still so curious! I hope that he's gotten better by now..


Tiger fun time? ^^;;;


Loving couple~


Awwwww, so cute! ^^


Let's play!


A pregnant cheetah... So amazing! Even with that belly, she could probably run me down and kill me in a heartbeat..


Driving back to the city, Harbin supports the Beijing Olympics too!


A daytime preview of the ice castles. ^-^


Harbin~ very russian-influenced, isn't it?






Actually, I think that it looks a little like oldtown Chicago..


This is St. Sophia's church in Harbin~~ It's the largest Orthodox Church in all of China... Very beautiful! And of course, evil!Santa was there to greet us! (Actually, this was Christmas day!! I completely forgot.. But he was still there the next day,and the next..)


The light was waning, but I still managed to compensate a little bit, even without a tripod! <33 (That's talent, baby! :D)


We had dinner at a REALLY expensive Russian Restaurant. Christmas dinner, yay!!! It was really delicious! And of course really expensive meant about $40 for a 10-course meal for three people. ^_^;; Oh China.. I would have taken pictures, but I was a little put off by the smokers that decided to come in and ruin the experience. Even in an expensive restaurant, there is no such thing as a non-smoking seat. Wtf.. So very sad, and one of the reasons that I'm not uber-keen on going back right now. I wonder if the Olympics will change things at all. Even a little bit..

Well, then it was off to the Ice Park! This was actually the smaller of two ice parks in the city, but it was closer and we figured that we'd never know the difference. ^^ It was a lot of fun!!






PIcture-taking in the dark is a real challenge, to get it to come out right without a tripod. So I just experimented and had fun!


So smooth!


They had some special singer there..


Anyone know who she is? I'm guessing that she's the chinese equivalent of an Enka singer..


Shi Lei doesn't care any more than I do.. XD


This icy walkway was being played on by little kids... It looked like so much fun! I wanted to try, but I was wrapped up quite stiffly..






Yep, little kids...


So instead we went on this obstacle course!! It was really neat-- and I feared for my life!! I don't have any pictures from on it because I was afraid of breaking the camera and put it away...


The old man needs a hand....


So pretty.. We also went inside a giant illuminated ice slide, inside a giant igloo that was not as cold as the outside, and inside the second-most scary bathroom ever. There were no doors! More on that in my last China post..








Isn't it so gorgeous.. I tried to capture the feel of the park, though I don't know how good I did.


Close-up of some of the ice... Supposedly they cut it out of one of the nearby lake, and it's all built with volunteers (?).




Dangerous?


It almost looks like there is some kind of evil spirit inside!


Maybe it was just Minnie Mouse..


These were really pretty..




Me and butterflies! This ice.. picture? was so so pretty!!


These were related to the olympics.. I took pictures of the funny ones.
"C'mere! C'mere!"


"Guns are the solution!! Grr!"


"Mmmm yeah... good Horsie..."


The Olympic Mascots were out and proud here. ;)


So was Strongbad.. XDXDXD Or something else that really looked like Strongbad! XDXD


Thus ended a very satisfying, but very!COLD Christmas day in Chiiiiina!

One more post and then a small one to tie them off, and it's done! :O
 
 
 
キモさ満々♡ 미친 외국인dilettantka on February 2nd, 2008 01:19 am (UTC)
Oooh, I wonder how different the ice park in Hokkaido will be (it will probably be smaller ^^;;)

You know, it's interesting to have a Santa in front of the Orthodox church, lol. Orthodox Christmas is in the beginning of January.. January 8 or 9 I think *i forget* and in Russia they don't really do Santa, the traditional figure is Ded [Grandpa] Moroz [Frost].. interesting, another mix of East and West!

TIGERS SOCUTE OMG
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on February 2nd, 2008 01:27 am (UTC)
I think that Hokkaido will have a lot more sculptures, so it will be so much more beautiful. I wonder if they light them up at night, though?

LOL Yeah Santa was all over China! It was kind of like Japan in that respect, lol.
Firsa Asahiasahifirsa on February 2nd, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC)
Yes they do :) I didn't get to go though since the shock from getting there from Tokyo was too much for me. I was freezing during the day and I didn't dare to go out during the night.

One thing (that probably hasn't changed) is that they don't clean the ways from ice and don't spill any stones for grip on them. So be sure to take shoes that you can walk in on ice.
Firsa Asahiasahifirsa on February 2nd, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
Sapporo Snow Festival is huge. It'll have some stages that are way bigger than this. The prettiest I went to though was one smaller one near Lake Toya. There are tons of those festivals all over Hokkaido and Tohoku.
Vivian: tenranalinde on February 2nd, 2008 01:46 am (UTC)
Wow, I love the pictures of the tigers (and cheetah :D) Such beautiful creatures. <3

The ice park also looks amazing! I've never seen something like that before. :O
くらやみひみつkurayamihimitsu on February 2nd, 2008 05:44 am (UTC)
the ones in Hokkaido are larger in size, but there's not a big big area for it all I don't think. I went last year with my host family. They have a lot of little sculptures, and then bigger ones for each block section. From the pictures you took though, the one in China you went to seems bigger and a little more elaborate.

One of my older posts has pictures and info from last year's festival if you want :3 and i think i have a link to last years website for it (if its still working)
Chiakichiaki777 on February 2nd, 2008 08:17 am (UTC)
mmm I do love tigers ^^
Regx_reggg on February 2nd, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
ohh that's the facemask/face of one of the characters in chinese opera :D
Kira_Shadowkira_shadow on February 2nd, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)
mh~ this really makes me want to go to Japan in winter and look at the ice sculptures in hokkaido...
we only get the sand-sculptures over here and with the global warming it's not wet enough ~-~
bleh.

*cuddles*