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Harbin Winter Swimming

Something else about Harbin.

sunny -26 °C

Harbin, December 28th 2013

During my stay in Harbin, it had been the most freezing day. My breath vapor on the surface of my camera transformed into frost within just seconds. I stuck back my camera on my face, the frost warmed up (a bit) by my forehead melted, and dripped on my eyebrows. I clicked the shutter button, let off my camera, also within seconds, the air froze the drops on my eyebrows and stuck them together. That's my analysis after rubbing my eyes with the top of my mitten and discovered glittering particles between the fabric. My vision had been blurred like after immersing my head into water.

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And here, in Ziuzhan Park, along Songhua River, some people do immerse their head, their whole body, into the water. They swim.

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Winter swimming, is a popular, or not so popular, attraction in Harbin. I had always thought it was popular, because it had been one of NatGeo Adventure's highlight of Harbin; because my Mandarin teacher who had studied abroad on mainland China, mentioned it in class; because various articles in the net mentioned it also. However, when I asked my hostel staffs for the direction to this place, in Mandarin and in English, they said, "Sorry, we have no idea."

The map in my Nokia did have an idea. Although not to Ziuzhan Park but to Sidalin Park, according to Google Map, Sidalin Park is just next to Ziuzhan Park. Off I went. It's really not far from Harbin Russia Youth Hostel, actually.

The crowd I met at Ziuzhan Park reconfirmed that this is, a popular attraction -- as you can see on above picture. You see the thick ice brim encircling the pool, don't you? You see thick frost covering the pool ladder, don't you? You see the spectators leaving bare their eyes only, don't you?

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Splash!! We see the swimmer jump into the (freezing) water!!

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Yayyy!! I love winter -- he said.

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At first I thought this man was clearing the pool from rubbish, as it's often the case in my hometown. You know how disgusting it is to swim through unknown objects and let them pass by your head. I took a closer look on the surface. It looked silky clean. None of the spectators appeared to be littering into the pool, either. Certainly, this is not the kind of pool where one would lie down beside it with a can of Coke. Then why does this man seemed unceasingly clearing the pool? I zoomed in my lens. Aha! What seemed like nothing on his spade was actually transparent ice chunks! So freezing was the air that the water surface which received less movement froze into ice. If not taken aside, these chunks of ice would surely bother the swimmers flow.

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It was surprising for me that most of the swimmers didn't appear young. Hmmm... is that the reason why they can withstand the freeze better? Uhmmm... I mean, the nerves are no longer young enough to feel...

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Uhmmm... something funny here. After swimming back and forth, this lady with blue and red cap couldn't bring herself up the ladder. Her friend had to pull her up. Obviously, not so young.

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There were female swimmers as well, and wearing mittens, too! Pink. Auw, so cute. Uhmmm... compared with rest, she doesn't look too old. Maybe that's the reason why she needed mittens, if you know what I mean.

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Instead of getting dressed immediately, few swimmers spared time to pose with their fans.

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This is Ziuzhan Park from above. Do you see the blue and red flag banners on the left? You must recognize that as the swimming pool where we had been just now. Along the horizon over there is Songhua River. Across over there, is Sun Island Park or Taiyangdao. Over there, is another kind of snow festival -- not yet so popular among Habingers, it seems to me. Compared with the one in Zhaolin Park, it's far grander. Hopefully I find time to post some shots and story from my visit there. See you then!!

Posted by automidori 22:43 Archived in China Tagged winter china swimming harbin ziuzhan_park songhua_river

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