Via Boing Boing I found R Todd Kings wonderful photos from the various snow and ice festivals that occur in Harbin each winter.

Harbin is a city in the far north east of China (Heilongjiang province), it’s actually further north than Vladivostok. I visited Harbin twice in 1996 when working in Hong Kong. My first visit was in April just as the city came out of deep freeze, but my second was in December (just a couple of days before Christmas) when the mercury was really dropping. If I recall correctly it was 10 to 15 degrees below zero farenheit (-23 to -26 degrees celsius), actually not too bad for Harbin winter temperatures and luckily not windy (it’s so flat around there that 30 – 40 mph winds are not uncommon and they really drop the effective temperature).

Unfortunately I wasn’t there at the right time for the Ice Lantern Party (probably a good thing – even 11 years ago it was popular enough to sell out all the tourist/business hotels in the city), and the snow and ice world didn’t start until more recently.

I’d like to try and go back sometime – I’m sure the city has seen some remarkable changes over the last decade (horse drawn carts were still very common when I was there, even though I was installing a multi-million dollar computer system for the local phone company). Harbin also has some fascinating architecture thanks to it’s Russian influences (most people in the street would try and speak Russian to me – it was more common to see a white Russian than a white European).

Posted under Personal

This post was written by awk on January 14, 2008

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