Sunday, January 22, 2012

Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival (part 1)

January 18th

The six hour train ride from Jiamusi to Harbin wasn't too bad. DJ was really good. We took what is called hard seats, but they really aren't all that hard, at least not for the first four hours, then you just get tired of sitting. The difference between a hard seat and a soft seat is that a hard seat is a bench while a soft seat is like you would find on an airplane. And the hard seats are five across with an aisle between two and three, while the soft seats are four across. The windows were very dirty on the outside, but we still enjoyed the view. Some of the mountains reminded me of the Smokey's in eastern Tennesse. We passed through several small villages and made five stops along the trip. We left Jiamusi at 7am and arrived in Harbin at 1pm. A friend had told us there were several McDonald's around the train station. We had not had McDonald's for two years. There were no McDonald's, but there were three KFC's. KFC is the only western fast food we have had in Jiamusi for two years. We decided to wait until after we got to the hotel to find a place to eat even though we hadn't had breakfast and only snacks on the train. We payed an outragous amount of 50 RMB for a small closed in trike to take us to our hotel. The hotel was away from the high tourist areas. The rooms were only 166 RMB each per night and were small but nice. We didn''t have internet in our room because it was broke, but Suzanne and DJ had internet in their room. After putting our stuff in our rooms, we walked half a block and found a very nice mom and pop restaurant called 'Great Pizza'. They had pizza that was as good or even better than in the states and we payed just over 100 RMB. After dinner, we explored around the hotel for several blocks in every direction.

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