Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Harbin Day 1

After walking the main pedestrian street in the old town, and checking out Sophie’s Church we tried looking for breakfast. I don’t know what it is about us, every time we try and look for food we can never find a place. Apparently people in Harbin don’t eat, or eat at home. We finally found a small little restaurant that sold boazis (meat dumplings). It held about 8 people, so Mark and I ordered some baozi’s and found that they were one of the best we have eaten since being in China. After our bellies were full, we hopped in a taxi to go to the Tiger Reserve outside of the city.

We arrived and the taxi offered to wait for us, knowing that it would be a long time before another comes, if ever, out to the reserve. Having fond memories of Cambodia, before Mark could form the words, I agreed.

They put us in a waiting area, until the tour bus came to pick us up. We went through a series of fenced gates where if you didn’t know any better, could have been a prison at one point. There were lookout towers, and sections that were fenced off, each having a huge locked fenced door to separate the tigers , such as mature tigers, and maternity tigers. The reserve itself is a decent size but I suspect still not enough for these animals. That being said, they are beautiful animals and great to see them when they are playing with each other.

After the reserve we decided lunch was in order, so we decided to check out this pub, called the Fox, and had our taxi drop us off there only to find that it was closed. Helped if we actually checked out the hours of operation. So next on the list was a cute bar called Brother . It was built like a ski lodge as the owners owned a ski shop which was attached to the bar/restaurant. Quite lovely. As we were leaving, it started snowing, so Mark and I started taking pictures. You think we never saw snow before so we decided to go back to the pedestrian walk and take photos. Okay, at this point, I started regretting our decision to not be home for the Christmas holidays. Mark just gave me this look, like you’re kidding right? He blamed it on the snow.

Dinner was at a quaint Russian restaurant at the end of the pedestrian walk. Our meal consisted of Russian salad, Herring, cabbage rolls and stuffed peppers. We ordered too much. We’ve been living in China too long. The food was delicious. We found a cute American bar and had a couple of drinks before returning back to the hotel. It was such a beautiful night, and the street with the European architecture gave it a very old traditional feeling. Just missing the Christmas trees, and the carolers.

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