A Travellerspoint blog

Welcome back to Iceworld

sunny 7 °F

We're back in Harbin after a 3 week vacation in Hawaii. It was definitely nice to not have to put on the long underwear to go outside for a change. When we left Harbin, it looked like this:

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Why am I showing you an incredibly ugly picture of grey snow and rubble? The street is solid snow that's turned grey from cars driving on it. It's probably a few inches thick. And all of those shards that look like drywall on the side of the road? Also snow. When we left it hadn't been above freezing for a few months, so every time it snowed, it would get trampled by cars and foot and then workers come along and hack away at it and shovel it to the side (I don't think I've seen any snow ploughs, it's all done by work crews of about 20 men and women with shovels. - I'll try to get a picture of that next time I see it). Anyway, they break up the snow and then shovel it to the curb. Then eventually a truck comes along and it's shoveled into the truck as if it were construction material. I'm guessing it's carried off to a snow-landfill to be stored until spring when it will disappear. So that was the picture when we left.

While we were gone, during the coldest part of the year, somehow it managed to creep above 0 °C and for a few days the snow melted for a few hours during the day and refroze at night. Well, you can imagine the result. And if you can't, here's a picture of the sidewalk that we cross every morning on our way to work.

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It's solid ice. The sidewalks, the streets, everything. Solid half-inch of ice on top of everything. I have now become accustomed to skating to work every morning and skating home at night. And of course now that we're back it's not expected to go above freezing again until spring.

But check out this beautiful frost from our school window. Makes me want to bust out the fractals screen saver.

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Posted by Blanchardlawn 23:15 Archived in China Tagged weather Comments (0)

Snacks I Haven't Tried Yet

But maybe some day.

sunny 0 °F

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Haven't gotten around to getting myself a bag of chicken feet yet, but maybe someday when I get a craving for something unusual.

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And these aren't really even snacks, but they made me laugh, so I had to find a place for them.

Days around here have been cold as always. We're staying warm, but we're looking forward to our vacation in Hawaii. What better place to spend the coldest months of the year, right? We've also been suffering from the same smog as Beijing (although not quite to the same astronomical proportions). It was pretty bad for the last few days, but today it's been a little clearer. I'm hoping all that dirty air blows somewhere else soon.

Posted by Blanchardlawn 23:07 Archived in China Tagged food snacks Comments (0)

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

My students gave to me...

-10 °F

As we wrap up this Christmas season, I just wanted to share this really great photo that some of my students made. I was teaching them a photography technique called painting with light and two of the students came up with this design using and LED lamp and my iphone.

This wasn't really a photography class, it was an English activity class, but the power (and heat) had been out all day and the class starts at 4:25, which is a little after the sun sets here. Without much light, and no electricity, the idea was to get them to use English to communicate with each other to create an image. It turned out pretty nice, so I thought I'd share it with you all.

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Once again, Merry Christmas & let your light shine!

Posted by Blanchardlawn 22:00 Archived in China Tagged with light painting Comments (0)

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas

I bought myself a little something.

sunny -11 °F

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The world has gotten this much smaller. For a small purchase of 79 Yuan (that's about $12), Amazon China will deliver to your door. It's opened up a whole new world of food opportunities. It's a little bit surprising which foods can be bought in China.

Shopping on Amazon.cn is almost exactly like shopping on Amazon.com, and Google Translate works really well on Chinese, so I tried a sample purchase just to see if it would work. So now I have some pretzel bites, Cheezy Doritos and some other snacks for the long winter months.

It is really, really nice to be able to buy Cheezy Doritos online, but I also feel like being able to buy some of these things that I thought I would NEVER have in China makes me a little sad that I'm moving past the "just getting by" stage into the "I know how this works" stage. It may be more comfortable, but perhaps a little less thrilling.

I'll contemplate that while I'm munching on my microwave popcorn.

Posted by Blanchardlawn 16:42 Archived in China Tagged food Comments (2)

On the Tenth Day of Christmas

You thought I was going to give up, huh?

sunny -15 °F

Well, this one's not really a gift, I guess. Our team technically EARNED this award for our skit in the annual new years eve banquet.

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But you can be sure, the next time I'm applying for an honorary job, I will be listing all of my honorary credentials.

Posted by Blanchardlawn 01:09 Archived in China Comments (0)

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