What Happened in Harbin (Or how freezing my fingers off made me love China again.)

February 10, 2012

Hey, so remember last week when I said I wasn’t exactly feeling the love for China at the moment because I was too cold to feel love… or sensation in my toes… or really anything?

Well, I decided the best way to rekindle my romance with the Middle Kingdom was to take a little trip somewhere – maybe some place a little warmer than Wuxi. You know, where I wouldn’t have to wear two pairs of long underwear and ten pairs of socks every time I wanted to battle the elements by going outside… or, say, into my unheated kitchen.

I contemplated a trip to Kunming, which is known as the City of Eternal Spring because of its consistently temperate weather.

I thought about taking a little river boat cruise down the Li River in Guilin.

I even considered going to Chengdu, where it is a bit chilly at the moment, but they have baby pandas there. Who needs heat when you have that kind of cuteness going on? Really.

And then I booked a ticket to Harbin. Which is about as close to Siberia as you can get without actually being in Siberia.

Because really what better way to recharge my relationship with China than to run the risk of foot amputation due to frostbite?

(Yes, I know, it’s like I should be a marriage counselor or something. Because, obviously, I know the secret to bringing the spark back to any dying relationship.)

The main reason I wanted to go to Harbin was because of the city’s Ice and Snow Festival, which is one of the largest ice and snow festivals in the world.

Harbin Ice & Snow Festival

I should probably mention here that I am not really a big fan of ice or snow.

I blame this on growing up in Buffalo, where it snows about seven months out of the year so ice and snow are not exactly considered novelty items. Sure, I’m used to ice and snow, but I have never felt the need to throw it a party every year like they do in Harbin.

This is where I grew up. Well, not IN the barn. But that could explain a few things.

I should probably also mention that I’m not really a big fan of festivals either.

Festivals involve large crowds of people, and large crowds of people make me claustrophobic.

They also ensure that I’m going to have to wait a really long time before I can use the bathroom or buy some meat-on-a-stick. And I get cranky when I have to wait for the bathroom or meat-on-a-stick.

And, admittedly, the last time I took a trip in China, I went to Hangzhou which did not exactly increase my love for China. If anything, it just made me appreciate my couch even more.

Not that Hangzhou wasn’t lovely. There were blue skies and a number of pretty parks and pagodas all clustered around the stunning West Lake.

And there were these fried dumplings. Which were amazing. (But then again they are dumplings and they are fried, so I think the amazing part kind of goes without saying.)

But I tend to be something of an idiot when I travel (okay, and maybe I’m an idiot all the time, but I’m especially idiotic when I travel), so I made a lot of stupid mistakes.

I booked a hotel which was about a million miles away from the city center because the website made it look really charming. (Note to self: places tend to lose their charm real quick when you have to walk five miles to get there.)

And, while the hotel’s cafe and other rooms were quite charming, my room turned out to be a dingy, windowless affair that reeked of mildew and broken dreams. And it was decorated with evil bunny wallpaper.

They're waiting until you fall asleep so they can kill you.

I got lost a lot and ended up walking around the lake a few too many times.

The West Lake: not nearly as stunning after about the twelfth time you walk around it.

I hiked up a muddy mountain in a-million-degree heat because everybody else was doing it and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

If a couple dozen Chinese people go up this hill, do not follow them!

I finally managed to do something right and found a food street where I bought some meat-on-a-stick and beer. And then the meat seller asked me to go have sex with him. Because, apparently, only sluts eat meat-on-a-stick and drink beer.

Meat-on-a-stick and beer: the meal of champions... and hussies.

So, yeah, given all these factors, I probably shouldn’t have had such high hopes for my trip to Harbin.

But it turns out my trip was even better than I expected it would be.

In fact, I had such a good time in Harbin, it’s entirely possible that I slipped into some alternative universe. You know, one where I’m not such an idiot all the time.

Or possibly it was all just a dream. Just in case, I’ll be careful not to pinch myself for fear that I may wake up cold and crying and lying in a gutter somewhere.

The first indication that I was entering some magical kingdom was when I stepped out of the airport to discover a sparkly ice castle greeting all the new arrivals.

It was there as if to say, “Welcome to Harbin! We made this ice castle for you. What did all those other cities in China make for you? Sure, the Great Wall is pretty impressive, but is it MADE OUT OF ICE? DOES IT SPARKLE? Yeah, didn’t think so.”

Look at what we made for you!

Before I could gawk too much at the ice castle, I was ushered onto a shuttle bus to the city. I’m usually pretty wary of taking buses in new cities because I have a tendency to get on the wrong bus. Or get off at the wrong stop. Or, you know, just never get off the bus and just sit there for two hours.

But, this time I was not only told exactly what bus to get on, but also the bus driver made a point of telling me exactly when I should get off the bus and, then, showed me in which direction I should go for my hotel.

And he didn’t once ask me to go have sex with him. Probably because I was wearing five layers of clothing and looking particularly lumpy.

Or because he was a really good guy.

Either way, it was a pleasant experience.

When I arrived at my hotel, I was informed that the twin room I had booked was a smoking room. And before I could even pout and stamp my feet and claim that I’m allergic to cigarette smoke (which is what I usually do when I forget to book a non-smoking room which happens a lot because I always forget to book a non-smoking room), I was upgraded to a non-smoking queen room that smelled of lilacs and happy thoughts.

The free toiletries in the bathroom claimed that they cared for me. And I totally believed them.

And the posters in the hallway enticed me to eat more breakfast. And, seeing as I usually like to eat breakfast at least twice a day while I travel, I totally took them up on that offer.

After checking in, I ventured out on to the chilly streets in search of food, where I stumbled across St. Sophia’s Cathedral, which shone magically in the moonlight… and the spotlights… but also the moonlight.

And then I stumbled upon a noodle shop where I was greeted by a smiling staff and a picture menu boasting beef noodles and fried dumplings.

These were amazing, by the way. But I don't think I have to tell you that.

When I ordered tea, I was informed they were all out of tea that day. But they had plenty of Harbin beer.

This happened quite a lot while I was in Harbin. I would be at a restaurant and try to order tea because, you know, it was noon or I was trying to be healthy or some other ridiculous reason. And then I’d be informed that they didn’t have tea, but they had plenty of beer. Which, frankly, seems like yet another indication that I was in a magical alternative universe where I’m not even allowed to pretend to be healthy.

The next day, I discovered that my friend, Fiona, and her family also happened to be in Harbin for the festival.

And, well, if you’re going to be in any city as freezing cold as Harbin, you should really be there with Fiona and her family, as they are lovely, warm, generous people. Plus, Fiona happens to be a doctor so, you know, just in case you get frostbite and need to have any toes amputated, she’s the lady to do it.

Besides, it was really nice being able to spend a few days enjoying the city with other people. I’m not usually very good about meeting people when I travel. I tend to feel really awkward about throwing myself at strangers even if I’m so desperate to talk to someone that I’ve started talking to my food.

My usual tactic for making friends while I’m traveling involves grinning maniacally at people in hopes that they’ll talk to me. And, in case you’re wondering, this tactic very rarely works. In fact, it usually just results in people looking really alarmed and clutching their wallets.

Luckily, though, I have no qualms at all about throwing myself at friends and their unsuspecting family members. So I spent the next two days inviting myself along to lunch with Fiona and her family and then monopolizing their conversations.

I also tagged along with them to the Harbin Snow and Ice World, which was definitely one of those things you want to do with a group of people rather than on your own. You know, so you can have someone  to ooo and ahh with you at all the fantastic ice sculptures.

Like this one... of beer, of course.

And take your picture while you’re coming down the ice slide.

Traffic jam on the ice slide. (Photo by Fiona Reilly.)

And then help you stand up after you fall down… like five times because that ice stuff is slippery, man.

When I wasn’t tagging along with Fiona and her family and subjecting them to my never ceasing banter, I was walking around the city in a charmed haze.

It’s hard not to be charmed by a city full of ice sculptures:

This was my favorite ice sculpture. It's a love seat. Get it? (Of course, I'm sure it surprises no one that my favorite sculpture was a couch.)

And snow sculptures:

And, you know, sculptures made out of soda cans:

It's a Fanta dragon... or Fanta-gon, if you will.

And there are street vendors everywhere selling meat-on-a-stick and candied-fruit-on-a-stick and really anything else you might want on a stick.

And you can do everything from ice skate to sled to ride a horse carriage across the frozen Songhua River.

It kind of felt like Disneyland, but a really, really cold version of Disneyland, where you need to wear five layers of clothing just to survive.

I wasn’t alone in my charmed haze.

The city was chock full of other excited festival-goers eating candied apples and striking cheesy poses in front of the ice and snow sculptures.

Or cheesy poses in front of the regular sculptures.

And, while I usually get stressed out when surrounded by so many people, it’s hard to get stressed out when everyone seems so happy despite the fact that they probably can’t feel their toes.

As I walked around the city smiling maniacally to myself (partly because I was really happy and partly because my face had kind of froze that way), people didn’t look at me with their usual level of alarm

Instead, they smiled back at me.

On my last night in town, I exited my hotel to find the city covered in a thin dusting of snow that sparkled in the streetlights like fairy dust.

I headed over to Zhongyang Dajie, a pedestrian shopping street near my hotel, where a crowd had gathered to watch fireworks and eat stuff on a stick.

I happened upon a small town square where a group of men and women were dancing. An older man glided up to me and asked me where I was from and if I wanted to dance. I fumbled along trying to take his lead, but, after a few steps, he stopped and laughed and shook his head at me and then glided away.

He's the one there in the back in black trying to show me how dancing is done.

And then right about the time I couldn’t feel my fingers any longer, I stopped in a restaurant for noodles, fried dumplings and, of course, beer.

These were also amazing, by the way. But, again, I'm sure I don't have to tell you that.

As I shuffled back to my hotel through the snow, I couldn’t help feeling all warm and fuzzy inside despite the freezing temperatures.

Maybe it was my love for China rekindling itself and keeping me warm… or maybe it was all that beer I’d been drinking… or maybe it was the five pairs of pants I happened to be wearing.

Either way, it was a pleasant experience.

Have you ever taken a trip that turned out much better than expected?

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On February 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm Theodora said:

    J.E.A.L.O.U.S. So going next year.
    Theodora recently posted..The Friday Photo: Ready For Some Beach

  2. On February 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm Cherszy said:

    Told ya you would enjoy there! And I can feel that you had a lot of fun – definitely more fun than I had – since you seemed to have an infinite supply of dumplings and beers throughout your adventure in Harbin. Envy!

    And oh, you finally got to buy some of those fancy boots for this trip?
    Cherszy recently posted..‘Glee’ Hits 300 – But Which Performances Made Top 30?

  3. On February 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm Tom Stockwell said:

    This is AMAZING. Seriously, it made me laugh out loud Sally!

    I wish my toiletries would tell me that they care about me. Sometimes the ones I buy from Lush say nice things, but it always feels a bit impersonal, like they’re just going to tell my brother the same thing when he steals my face mask. Oh, the joys of having an also-gay younger sibling.

    That ice castle is fantastic. Everything looks better with glitter. The Great Wall better get on that – although I’m not entirely sure how UNESCO would react.

    Sokcho in South Korea proved to be MUCH better than I thought – a lovely beach, clean air, and not being surrounded by skyscrapers as per most Korean cities. Love love love.
    Tom Stockwell recently posted..5 Ideas for Prague

    • On February 11, 2012 at 4:14 am Sally said:

      The Great Wall should be more sparkly. That would totally make it an Even Greater Wall. I think we should sign a petition for UNESCO.
      And Sokcho sounds lovely. And that reminds me that I really need to go back and see more of South Korea!

  4. On February 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm Dyanne@TravelnLass said:

    That does it – I’m definitely headed to Harbin next year! It’s been (one of few) on my bucket list for awhile now, and now that I’m settled in Vietnam, I’m lots closer to it.
    Dyanne@TravelnLass recently posted..Happy (Lunar) New Year (Tết) from Vietnam!

    • On February 11, 2012 at 4:12 am Sally said:

      You should! But pack WARM. I seriously wore 5 layers at all times. Plus, I was so happy I managed to find some warm boots in my size right before I went. If I had gone there with just my sneakers, I think I would have definitely needed to amputate!

  5. On February 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm Jerick said:

    I was planning to go this year, but had to change plans!!! I can’t believe I just miss having photo on the loveseat!
    Jerick recently posted..Filipino Friday: Swimming with whale sharks in Donsol

  6. On February 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm Erik said:

    Excellent, as always. Glad there were good dumplings and lots of beer to be had as well as a brilliant festival, where you were not to traumatized by the crowds 🙂

    This is the fourth such post I’ve seen on Harbin and it’s festival. Looks incredible, especially all the lights. I would have to guess they’ll see even larger crowds next year.
    Erik recently posted..Ashley’s Trappist Beer Dinner

    • On February 11, 2012 at 4:11 am Sally said:

      The crowd wasn’t quite so crazy when I went because I went towards the end of the festival. There were still a LOT of people (especially on the last day which was the lantern festival), but it wasn’t too bad. I imagine the crowds were a bit bigger in January…

  7. On February 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm 50+ and on the Run said:

    What, no ice unicorns?? Better get on that for next year! Seriously, sounds like a great trip.
    50+ and on the Run recently posted..Icebergs

    • On February 11, 2012 at 4:08 am Sally said:

      There were paper lantern pegasus at the one ice festival. But, yeah, they really could have used some unicorns. I’m going to suggest that to them for next time.

  8. On February 10, 2012 at 1:05 pm Laurence said:

    Killer bunny wallpaper! What’s not to love? That ice palace looks amazing though 🙂
    Laurence recently posted..A boys african adventure

    • On February 11, 2012 at 4:08 am Sally said:

      Oh, yeah, those killer bunnies LOOK cute. Until they hypnotize you and eat out your heart in the middle of the night. Not that I’m saying that happened to me… but it totally could have.

  9. On February 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm Katja said:

    Aww. I loved this! Given that the whole WORLD (apart from Sicily) seems to be getting snow and ice at the moment I’m feeling a bit left out, so this was just what I needed. And it’s SPARKLY snow and ice, too. Amazeballs.

  10. On February 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm Kris Koeller said:

    Great writeup. We were there just after the opening weekend and had a blast. We weren’t in town for long, and found the City to be just so-so, but the Ice Festival was terrific. Sorry I missed the dumplings, but had plenty of Harbin beer….

    Our photos from Harbin:

    Kris Koeller recently posted..A Smoggy Day Stuck at the Beijing Airport

    • On February 11, 2012 at 4:06 am Sally said:

      Oh, I really liked the city. I loved all the crumbley old buildings and the mixture of both Russian and European and Chinese influences. Plus, I liked that it was so manageable and easy to get around on foot. It’s probably one of the only cities in China that I visited where I didn’t get lost a million times!

  11. On February 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm Mario Lurig said:

    When I visited Sydney at the end of 2010, it was a 5 day trip before I hopped on a plane and spent some time in NZ. I spent the first 3.5 days in The Rocks, with a view of the harbor bridge and the opera house from the deck of the hostel. It was on day 4 that I opted to go to Watson’s Bay, where The Gap (entrance to Sydney Harbour with old guns and lighthouses) and a lot of nothing was. I did it because I wasn’t ready for the 20 somethings beach craziness yet and thought I’d be bored to tears.

    Turns out, that what I really needed was some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city center (this is a very unexpected feeling). It was amazing and relaxing to just walk around and enjoy, and I took one of the best photos of the trip there:
    Mario Lurig recently posted..My Words, My Voice: Gourmet Magazine and the Pingdom Podcast

  12. On February 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm Andrew - The Unframed World said:

    This looks really fun… and really cold. Thanks for uploading more pictures in recent posts! It really adds a lot.
    Andrew – The Unframed World recently posted..Photo Find: Italy’s Best Abandoned Buildings

    • On February 11, 2012 at 4:02 am Sally said:

      I’m glad you appreciate all the photos because seriously it took me FOREVER to upload all of them! Plus, it doesn’t help that I always forget the photos I need to upload, so rather than uploading them all at once I have to keep on adding photos as I go. Gah! FOREVER, I tell you!

  13. On February 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm Ken C. said:

    Wow! What an adventure! I’ve read about those Scandinavian countries having ice festivals, but I didn’t realize that China also had one.

    There is NOTHING better with fried dumplings than ice-cold beer!

    Lovely pictures, and some great descriptive writing. Of course, you’ll need to work on your awesome “dance moves” for your next adventure…maybe a “moonwalk,” followed by a spin & back-flip? It’s Hammer Time!

    • On February 11, 2012 at 4:00 am Sally said:

      Oh, well, the beer is hardly ever ice cold (unless it’s in ice sculpture form). For some reason, Chinese people aren’t into cold drinks. They generally drink water hot and beer at room temperature. Which is not the best in the summer, but I didn’t really mind in Harbin.

  14. On February 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm Priya said:

    Wow! It does sound like a magical place ( where dreams do come true). Those ice and ice sculptures look so amazing! I have yet to build a successful snowman. One day. One thing I worry about ( among may other things) is about not having enough vegetarian options if i ever decide to visit or move to China. Plus I don’t know how to cook. At all. I can, however, microwave things and boil water. when I get into situations like that, I tend to “starve to death” a lot. Great post, Sally! As always!
    Priya recently posted..My Sad Attempt To Ski

    • On February 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm Priya said:

      I meant “snow” for the second “ice” 🙂
      Priya recently posted..My Sad Attempt To Ski

    • On February 11, 2012 at 3:59 am Sally said:

      Yeah, I have heard that China can be really difficult for vegetarians. But I do know a lot of vegetarians who live here & they get by. A lot of the family-style restaurants will serve individual dishes and it’s really easy to get veggies there. Plus, there are a lot of hot pot places & barbecue places where you can pick what you want from a buffet of options. The big problem would be with the dumplings… they usually always have pork in them.

  15. On February 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm Selly said:

    Jealous!!! Very jealous up until the part about the freezing, I’m not so jealous about that but definitely jealous about the food and the good company! Can’t wait to see the festival myself…meanwhile I just enjoy the fact that each and every one of your posts manages to make me smile for one reason or another – go you Sally!!!

  16. On February 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm Sabrina said:

    Sounds amazing! Not a big fan of cold weather destinations (unless it’s for skiing purposes), but I’d totally make an exception for Harbin. And not just for the dumplings either 😉 Even though they look almost as good as all the scultures.
    Sabrina recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday: New Mexico Thunderstorm

    • On February 11, 2012 at 3:56 am Sally said:

      Oh, I’m not a skier at all (I’ve tried… bad things happen when I separate myself from the earth with slippery surfaces). But I do love visiting winter… I’d just rather not have to live in it!

  17. On February 11, 2012 at 1:36 am Ross said:

    Very entertaining. I love the way you share your adventures with words and photos. It feels like I was there too.
    I alway book non-smoking rooms in China. I am always assured at the front desk that the room is non-smoking. I always find ash trays in the rooms and they always smell of smoke. In one non-smoking room I found a little sign in an ash tray that read “Please don’t smoke in the bed.” A non-smoking bed is the closest I have come to getting a non-smoking room in China.
    Ross recently posted..The F Word

    • On February 11, 2012 at 3:55 am Sally said:

      Ha ha! Hilarious! I’ve actually been pretty lucky getting non-smoking rooms in China or, at least, rooms that don’t smell like an ashtray. But, I have to say, my room in Hangzhou smelled so bad, I think I would have easily opted for a non-smoking room over that. I was so worried I’d end up with some mold disease that I left a day early just to escape that room! (And, okay, to return to my couch.)

  18. On February 11, 2012 at 3:12 am Fiona at Life on Nanchang Lu said:

    Thanks for hanging out with us in Harbin! It was freeezing cold fun!

    You know I bought 4 kilo of that Harbin specialty smoked Russian sausage at the airport and now the whole house smells just like the food market we visited. Excellent. And I have a year’s supply of sausage, should you need any.
    Fiona at Life on Nanchang Lu recently posted..Things to do Outdoors in Harbin. Like Swimming.

    • On February 11, 2012 at 3:54 am Sally said:

      Mmm… I may just have to take you up on that offer! I’d hate for you to have to lug all that sausage around with you on your trip through China.

    • On February 11, 2012 at 8:36 am Mira said:

      ohhh…. we bought some for a pre-flight snack when we flew out of Harbin last winter … I still think about them, the tasted like home! I found they’re one of the few Chinese sausages that don’t have that “Chinese aftertaste” – anyone else know what I’m talking about?

      Or, anyone know where I can get them? Or how to bribe Walmart to stock them?

      • On February 12, 2012 at 8:44 am Sally said:

        I think it’s looking like you’re going to have to go back to Harbin.
        Personally, I miss breakfast sausage links like they have in America. Nothing goes quite as nicely with my pancakes (well, bacon comes close… but still pancakes need sausage). I used to be able to find these “German” sausages in Japan that tasted pretty similar, but haven’t been able to find anything in China that even remotely tastes the same. 🙁

  19. On February 11, 2012 at 4:12 am jan said:

    I enjoyed your talk of dumplings and ice. If my voice is a little distant and muffled it is because I am inside my freezer trying to recreate the mood!
    jan recently posted..FROM A TUSCAN DIARY

  20. On February 11, 2012 at 9:11 am Mira said:

    I went snowboarding in Yabuli last winter which is about a 4hrs drive from Harbin…and is home to “China’s new premiere ski resort” – a complete lie. Yeah, there’s slopes, snow and hotels but nothing was set up, nobody spoke English nor did they understand my friend’s Chinese. On our first day it took us 4 hours to find the main slopes, another 2 hours to sort out a ski pass, clothing and boards only to step outside to discover that weather had turned from slightly windy into a raging blizzard and -40C!!! One step forward would lead to taking 4 more backwards. When we went back inside, the guy who had helped us was like: “Yeah, I know there’s a blizzard outside, but you said you wanted to ski” and we never got a refund. At this point it was about 2:30pm and all restaurants had shut for the afternoon so we sat in the ski rental snack bar, had a cup noodle and a snickers bar. Oh, did I mention this was Christmas Day?

    But the holiday did get better… that night we splurged on an all-you-can-eat-and-all-you-can-drink buffet at the ClubMed and got horrifically drunk, and the next day the blizzard had subsided and as we knew where and how to get our pass and gear, it didn’t take too long to get ourselves onto the slopes.

    I don’t think I will ever go back but I might reconsider Harbin for the Ice Sculpture Festival, it looks so tacky, I think I would love it!
    Mira recently posted..Making the papers.

  21. On February 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm Nomadic Chick said:

    Harbin looks ahhhmazing, think you topped your China experience.. well, now that I’m here, it will really be topped up. Great pics, gal. 🙂
    Nomadic Chick recently posted..You Make Me Uncomfortable

  22. On February 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm Leah Travels said:

    Believe it or not, this is something I’d love to do, even though I kind of swore I would not go back to China, unless it was Hong Kong. I get an extra-big chuckle about your commentary about the cold. My husband spent November and January in Yantai, that part of China that looks across the bay to Seoul, and all he could talk about was how freakin’ cold it was. Bundled up and looking like that kid from “A Christmas Story,” I couldn’t help but find it funny as I was sitting in 65 degree Houston. Of course I can’t blame him, I spent March in Yantai and nearly froze my ass off too!

    Good on you! Keep up the great stories.
    Leah Travels recently posted..Like that Time I Met the Pope…

    • On February 12, 2012 at 8:41 am Sally said:

      You swore you’d never go back to China? Wow… it sounds like there’s a story somewhere in there. Any chance that story is on your blog?

      • On February 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm Leah Travels said:

        Ha! No, it’s not on the blog yet. I’m saving that for when I’m feeling extra sassy. It’s not one specific thing, let’s say it’s just more of a preference. Although, I did write about my first Chinese massage experience. Now, I can say with certainty that I will NEVER do that again.
        Leah Travels recently posted..Like that Time I Met the Pope…

  23. On February 13, 2012 at 4:36 am Ali said:

    Wait, there was no tea? In China? There’s a joke in there somewhere.

    Looks like an interesting place, except for that whole freezing cold thing. Awesome ice couch!
    Ali recently posted..How Much I Spent in Southeast Asia for Two Months

  24. On February 13, 2012 at 7:48 am Edna said:

    Glad I could connect you and Fiona! and that you all had a fun dumpling and beer-laden time. When I lived in China, Harbin was by far my favorite beer. Still is actually. Hmm, I wonder how much Harbin costs in Paris…
    Edna recently posted..Disappointing yet Enlightening: Chinese New Year in Paris

  25. On February 13, 2012 at 4:22 pm Sarah said:

    A place that pushes beer instead of tea?

    Now THAT sounds like my kind of place.
    Sarah recently posted..Failing to Meditate: My 5 days at an ashram in Rishikesh

  26. On February 14, 2012 at 2:14 am Karen McCann said:

    Sally, you are SO brave to go to anywhere that advertises that it has MORE ice and snow than where you are living. I avoid cold weather as much as possible, although winter does sometimes interfere with that plan. But I have to admit the love seat was wonderful, as were all the glittering ice sculptures, to say nothing of the soda dragon. And at least Harbin didn’t have the evil bunny wallpaper. Which I expect to give me nightmares tonight.

  27. On February 16, 2012 at 2:52 am Uncle Ed said:

    Nice descriptions, looked at you pictures and was very impressed. These folks should hire you to promote tourism. I would really like to visit if for no other reason than the beer and meat on a stick. 🙂 Must have been a pretty impressive trip too.

  28. On February 16, 2012 at 4:34 am Ilana said:

    I was in England for the first time and I ended up in York while on my way someplace else. I’d never heard of it and I didn’t think anything of it. I loved it, I don’t bother to on to my intended destination and booked an extra week at the Hostel. The next year I went to England for a month and spent the whole time in York, it was awesome.

  29. On February 17, 2012 at 4:06 am choi kum fook said:

    Miss Sally,
    You had had a very pleasant and enjoyable trip in Harbin snow expose although it was very frosty. I think it is quite hard to get another such a magnificent snow show like this in other place. Usually,I don’t think I can bear such frosty condition, so I have no chance to see such snow expose.The Hong Kong and Macau trip last two years was more than I expected.The food, “Dim Sam” and dumpling are the best! The country-side seeing is quite attractive. If you think you have some luck, you may walk-in a casino in Macau. It is so splendid and luxurious. Have you been in Hong Kong and Macau before.It is worth to visit!Miss Sally!

    • On February 17, 2012 at 4:37 am Sally said:

      Mr. Choi,
      I’ve only been to Hong Kong, but I really want to go to Macau sometime soon. I’ve heard it’s really beautiful there, plus I want to try some of their egg cream tarts!

  30. On February 21, 2012 at 9:42 pm Ceri said:

    Wow – that sounds incredible, hun. 😀 Definitely a place I’d love to visit. And YUM – all the food pics you post always make me hungry.
    Ceri recently posted..Return to Blogging (with a Vlog)

  31. On May 20, 2013 at 10:53 pm Catie said:

    I used to live in Harbin

  32. On August 28, 2015 at 7:15 am Randall said:

    i absolutely loved this post of yours. never in a long time have i stupidly grinned at the screen while reading a blog. your humor is stunning and descriptions are so colorful! im making my way there in november and absolutely hate you now for making me look forward to it so badly. 3 long months more.



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