Monday, January 09, 2006

Ice and more Ice...but it's pretty!

The BBC has a good pictoral spread of Harbin's Ice Sculpture festival online today. I hope it stays up for a while, because the festival is an absolutely breathtaking monument to what people are willing to do to break up winter monotony.

I mean, St. Paul has an annual winter carnival, where we search through snow drifts to find a medallion; we bundle up the kids to send them down an ice slide; we even go "overboard" every 10 or 20 years and put up an "Ice palace" about which we are very proud. But all the Ice Palaces St. Paul has ever built would fit nicely as about 1/2 of one year's sculpture and ice architecture in Harbin.

I can't imagine there are too many more places with as many people as Harbin where the winters are that cold for that long. I visited a couple years ago for the festival, and the average temp while I was there (high or low, it doesn't really matter) was about -25 F. At night when the sculptures look the best it was probably closer to -40 F. Let's just say it was cold enough that the battery in my digital camera only lasted about 15 minutes--and I had it in the inside pocket of my inside coat (yes, I was wearing 2).

Anyway, look at the pictures. They give at least a tiny glimpse of what the place is like.


Emily said...

i was totally going to go to harbin. got scared by that toxic spill... somehow i wasn't real impressed with china's insistence that the spill was now completely non-threatening. this from the people who told no one about it for a week...

Kerri said...

Wow! That is beeeeautiful!