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Harbin- The Place of Extremes

Harbin- The Place of Extremes Harbin, China

Harbin, China- March 12, 2013

In one day here in Harbin, I felt a 30 degree temperature difference. In the morning, it was about 3 degrees and by 12p in the afternoon the temperature was about 36 degrees! That is why, I think I’m getting sick! I was so cold the other night walking around Central Street, I thought I was going to die, the temperature had dropped to negative something and I could not feel my toes anymore. We had gotten turned around looking for the bus -_-. Through my 2 pairs of thick socks,snow boots and leg warmers, there was nothing

more that I could have done to save myself except run under the blankets somewhere. I lost all feeling in my little toesies, I fell on the ground outside! I was livid =/ lol I didn’t hurt myself at all, I just couldn’t feel my toes anymore so I just kept walking in hopes not to fall again. Ugh. So be forewarned—It get’s pretty ridiculously cold out here! Even in the ‘so-called’ Spring! On the flip side of all this coldness, every building is very well insulated and WARM that immediately upon entering you start overheating and sweating because you so bundled up! haha-you can’t win. However, I LOVE the warmth in these buildings! Makes me feel all cozy…way better than at home with poor insulation in most places. Everyone drinks warm water here also-i guess since it is so cold. I was shocked the first time I took a big gulp of warm water! I’ve always had warm mango juice and pineapple juice. I never drank the warm milk. bleh! But, I like a refreshing bottle of cool water sometimes and at restaurants they either serve you warm water or you can opt for tea or beer! =/ That’s okay also because at home always drink room temperature water—it’s better for digestion. Today, I had the spiciest bowl of noodles in my entire life! I thought my lips were going to fall off! I wanted to cry! I have NEVER had anything like it. It was almost addicting. It was sooo good! It was called: 西北凉拌&#38754 ; -Something like Northwest cool mix noodles…It had these cool refreshing tomatoes, cucumbers and onions on top of the cool mian (noodles) and then underneath that was the hidden lava. lol The soup was soooooooooo spicy-I really can’t explain. I like spicy foods and can handle like Jamaican spicy and Indian spicy but there is something about this spicy its almost unbearable!! On the other spectrum of extremes you may see is that you will see some pretty disorderly quote on quote “line formations” where lines are non existent! Like the bus lines?!? It doesn’t matter who was there first its the person who can run the fastest or push the hardest who gets on the bus first! The line to pay at the BreadTalk counter—people are just handing money over to the cashier and whomever she reaches for next is the next person on the line AND also the weighing line to weigh your fresh produce! NON-EXISTENT! It almost impossible to fight against it especially since I can’t speak the language. So the only way I fight against this is that 1) I’m quick & I push at the bus lines, 2) I know exactly how much my bread/rolls cost and give exact change and leave it right there on the cash register, 3) I only go to the weighing stations when its empty (early morning or during the middle of the day)! On the other hand, at the school that I teach at the children all are lined up so orderly every morning singing the morning tune, they help clean up the school, they quiet down immediately once the teachers start talking, the rows are perfect, children get up and allow the elders to sit on the bus, there are so many employees at every store I have been to to help us get anything we need!

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