Harbin Ice and Snow Festival Day 4

Trip Start Jan 02, 2013
Trip End Mar 17, 2013

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Where I stayed
Gfour Holiday Hotel Harbin
Read my review - 2/5 stars

Flag of China  , Heilongjiang,
Sunday, January 27, 2013

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Well, I've seen the three main venues for the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival so today I had a choice to do some sightseeing, go back to one of the venues I've already seen or do both. I decided to go back to one of the venues I've already seen. I chose the Sun Island Scenic Area and, since I've already seen it during the day, I decided I'd go back in the evening.  I thought I'd get there around 5:00 and stay until the closing time given on their web site, 7:00.  That would give me enough time to run around and get some pictures of the snow sculptures under lights and get back to the hotel early enough to find a restaurant open for dinner.

Well, that was the plan.  I went to the bus stop and got on one of the special buses but the person selling tickets indicated that the Sun Island Scenic Area venue was closed.  It was around 4:00.  He wouldn't sell me a ticket so going there wasn't an option. 

My plan B was to go back to Ice & Snow World.  I bought a ticket for that and waited for the bus to fill.

We were dropped off a little closer to the venue tonight but it was still at least a quarter mile.  When I got to the entrance there was a drastic decrease in the number of people from last night.  Last night was a Saturday night and I guess most of the people are local and go on weekends.  I knew what line to get in tonight so I quickly got in.

I first headed for Cool Harbin, which is an indoor ice skating show in a permanent building.  The 5:00 performance is their last for the day and it was already a few minutes after 5:00.  (I don't understand their scheduling.  The venue does open at noon but it's most spectacular after dark and that's when most people come.  They may be using the show to attract during the day but the larger group of people who come after dark miss out.)  I stood in back and watched.  The part I missed last night included more aerial acts and a magician.

After the show I wandered around taking pictures of some of the things I missed last night.  The place is quite large and it's hard to see it all.  I passed the thermometer a couple times.  It was -26C (-15F) again tonight.  And I have another day here and three days skiing nearby followed by a week at the Sapporo Snow Festival and nearly a week skiing in Hokkaido.  I'm sure going to be sick of the cold at the end of all this.

There's another permanent location with another show called something like the European Show.  I went in there shortly before showtime and got a seat.  After a while some people came on stage and started talking.  A minute or two later a women came up to me and said something about how you have to buy something to watch the show.  A box of popcorn was 31 yuan (around $5.33).  Judging from what was going on, it looked like the show might be something where they talk a lot, which I wouldn't get anything out of, so I left.

I wandered into a different Modern Cafe than the one I was in last night.  The one tonight had a larger selection and a menu with English translations.  I ordered a cup of noodles (instant noodles that they added hot water to), potato chips and an Almond Milk drink at 20 yuan ($3.33) each.  There was no surprise with the noodles.  I expected a bag of chips but I got a plateful instead.  When I got near the bottom of the pile it appeared that the plate was hadn't been washed.  Their sanitation standards leave something to be desired.  I was surprised that the Almond Milk drink was served warm.  I liked it.  I don't think I've ever seen it in the U.S.

I also noticed that there is a small lit ski hill with a chair lift next to the venue.  I couldn't really see the trail from where I was but it appeared that people were skiing.

They started making announcements around 20 minutes before their 9:00 closing time.  It seemed as though the announcements were asking people to leave since everyone seemed to be heading for the exit.  I did too.  I found a bus, got on, waited for the bus to be deemed sufficiently packed and then we headed back to the bus stop by my hotel.  I went back to my hotel and called it a night.

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