Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cold-proof choo-choos

It has been cold here. We received more snow here, prompting a British colleague to ask me when it would ever stop.

The weather prediction for the next couple days is not unbearable.

But let's not talk about the weather; that is not an exciting lede. Let's talk about trains. The NZWeek has a story: China's cold-proof trains to withstand sharp temperature changes.

So now, those of us who live in the "renowned imperial capital of Changchun" will be able to zoom to Harbin for the ice festival in mid-winter and zoom to the famous beach-side community of Dalian in mid-summer.

In frigid northeastern China, in the city of Harbin is hosting its 26th annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Massive buildings built of ice from the frozen surface of the nearby Songhua River, large scale snow sculptures, ice slides, festival food and drinks can be found in several parks in the city. At night, visitors who endure the bitter cold will see the lights switched on, illuminating the sculptures from both inside and outside. This year's festival opened yesterday, January 5th, and will remain open until some time in February. Collected here are several photos from just before the festival, and of the opening night. (Boston Globe, Jan. 6, 2010)


Dalian has won several awards from the United Nations for its environmental progress. The Chinese government has chosen to focus here as a starting place for instituting environmental regulations in China. The air quality is the best in all of China, and because of this and the multitude of parks and beaches, Dalian has become a popular vacation destination.