Thursday, July 28, 2016

Little O!

I guess now that he is two I can't call him Baby O any more. For Little O's birthday (you know...four months ago) we had a few friends over to celebrate with some cake and presents.
Getting five toddlers on a couch for a picture is hard work. But they are all there and no one is crying. I call that a win!!
These ladies are my 'China Village'. I don't know what I would do without them!
I love that you can see the dad's reflections in the window :)

A Picture a Week | 51 & 52/52

Better late than never right?!?  Here are the last of the 52 weeks of Baby O.

The Frozen North

It seems fitting that on a 93 degree day I talk about our adventures in negative 13 degree weather!  Way back in January we headed to Harbin, China to see the Ice festival with my friend and her family. Unfortunately this was my least favorite trip we have taken...possibly the worst trip of my life, but that seems extreme. Anyway, plain and simple it was FREEZING! I don't think I can truly explain how extremely cold it was in Harbin.
A night market near our hotel.
Night market.
Walking street right outside our hotel.
I had seen pictures of the Harbin Ice Festival and added it to our list of places to visit while we are living here in China. So, when my friend asked if we wanted to join them on a weekend trip to Harbin I immediately said, yes!

While researching the city I noticed that people mentioned that it was cold and to pack many layers. We had thick coats, lots of thick socks, gloves, mittens, scarves, blankets, hats and thermal underwear. But it was not enough! I will admit that it was a colder than normal weekend everywhere in China. It was -25 Celsius (-13 Fahrenheit). It was hard for me to enjoy most of the activities that we did because of the cold.

Ok enough with the whining about how very cold it was. While we were there we visited a Siberian tiger park. This was an interesting visit. It wasn't like visiting a zoo in the USA, but it also wasn't what I was expecting. We were crammed into a non heated bus with bars on the windows. Then we were driven around the park to look at the animals. Most of the animals were able to roam free, there were a few at the end that were in smaller enclosure/cages. There wasn't anyone guiding the drive through the park, just a drive from one gated area to the next with a stop so we could take pictures. Towards the end there were some tigers that were eating chickens. After exiting the bus there was a barred pathway that we could go on. On this section of the park you could pay to feed the tigers live chickens. I have heard that there are options to feed them larger animals as well, but I didn't see this.
The main event in Harbin is the Snow and Ice World. Snow and Ice World features full sized buildings made of 2-3' thick ice from the Songhua River. There were many sculptures as well as a few slides. Now that I have experienced this I know that visiting Harbin would be been much better without Baby O. It is more suited for kids twelve and older.

All of the brightly colored ice buildings were neat to see, but we ended up only staying in Snow and Ice World for about thirty minutes. It was just too cold for the kids and us really. We had to wait in a very long line for the bus back to the city. Baby O cried, I cried, it was terrible!
We had some time before our flights on our last day in Harbin so we walked around an ice sculpture park that was near our hotel. It also had a slide and an ice bar that was open in the evening.
Our trip didn't end on a very good note either. Our flight had been canceled, but we didn't realize it until we got to the airport. We did get a flight that day but it didn't depart until 9:30pm. We had six hours to hangout at the airport before getting to go home.

Unfortunately we didn't have the best experience in Harbin. But I think we were unlucky to visit when it was very cold throughout China. I hope that this wont dissuade anyone from visiting. I just recommend packing what you think you'll need and then pack a few more items to keep you warm, just in case :)