Saturday, January 12, 2013

Harbin 2 Central Street & Tigers (1/12/2013)

Saturday, January 12, 2013
Already having a couple layers on, we sweated through breakfast; a Chinese breakfast buffet.
We put on a few more layers and went out to see Zhongyang Dajie/Central Street, a remnant of the international business district of the turn of the 20th century. The cobblestone street is now a pedestrian street.
Next to the hotel was a sculpture of a horse and carriage:
At No. 89 Central Street, the Modern Hotel itself is a historic site:
Completed in 1913 in Art Nouveau style, it was the first luxury hotel in Harbin.
At No. 122 is a former Japanese (?) bank built in 1909, now the Education Bookstore:
Kent sits at an ice hearth:
Another Baroque-style building:
A modern building imitating the old European-style:
A snow sculpture of Gangnam-style singer Psy:
The south end of Central Street:
Central Street decorative arch:
At No. 45, the Bomele Bakery:
Two bakers walking down the street:
An ice wedding couple:
The clock tower shows that it is 0 degrees F:
At No. 112, the Huamei Russian Restaurant in Art Nouveau style:
At No. 107, the former Daoliqiulin Shop:
Built in 1919 in Art Nouveau style.
"The Voice" ice sculpture:
Looking down Central Street:
The north end of Central Street meets the Songhua River. Here stands the Flood Control Monument:
Built in 1958 to commemorate the work of the people and volunteers from the new Communist Party to control the record-breaking flood of 1957. A semicircular basin marked the water level in 1957:
Another marker had to be added when the 1998 flood broke the record.
At the edge of the river, a larger-than-life ice gateway:
Kent gives the ice blocks perspective in size:
The Songhua River was frozen (and has been since at least November):
Plenty of winter activities available:
A tractor with a roller brush:
Where is the gasoline tank?!
We returned to the hotel to warm up, and were ready at 9:30 when Yvonne and the driver arrived to start our guided tour. We drove across the river to the Siberian Tiger Park.
The Siberian Tiger Park was established in 1996 as an effort to help the endangered Siberian tiger, the largest of its species. The park is involved in research and breeding.
We boarded a small bus, where the windows were frosted over on the inside. Yvonne had made sure we had a credit card to scrape the window. We drove through several large enclosures, some with large pits dug in the ground (in summer, those are the swimming holes for the tigers).  At first, you found the tigers by finding the spread of hay, and they would be lying there, like these lions:
However, in later enclosures, the tigers were restless. We entered an especially large area, where the tigers were following a jeep. Another guide on our bus mentioned purchasing chickens, and somehow they alerted the guy in the jeep to release two live chickens.
Squawk! The chickens didn't last long, as they were grabbed by a tiger who took them off to eat them.
Surprisingly there was no fighting over the chickens. Apparently they are trained to not bother the victor.
We were let off the bus, and entered a series of covered walkways over smaller tiger enclosures. This is where the younger one- and two-year old tigers were kept.
A man was selling chickens:
Playful kitties:
They were also trained, less successfully, to do their duty in a small pool:
A white tiger:
A white lion:
There was also a "liger."
Okay, we were getting cold again, so back to the car to drive to our next destination.
Next, Harbin 3 Sun Island & Swimming.

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