Again, a short post, but something happened today that I wanted to share. My plan for the day was to finally go to Central Street, one of Harbin’s main attraction that I incorrectly mentioned two posts ago as “Center Street” (although that’s an equally valid translation IMO). I had been delaying until the weekend to get a better environment for people watching, and I’m glad I did. A bright, sunny beautiful Saturday morning greeted me, and I learned a new walking route over there from from campus. People were out in force, and I was there mainly to drink in the sights (that I’ve posted on the last Harbin post) and get some key foodstuffs.
Everything I was there to eat can be bought pretty much anywhere in the city in one form or another, but I was going to Central Street for Modern’s take on them, a food company that’s been operating out of Harbin for over a hundred years.
First off was a popsicle from their storefront that I picked up on my way down the street. In Xi’an one of my American classmates had been to Harbin before for the ice festival, and his story sums up how great these things are. “So yeah, I was walking down Center street and it’s fucking thirty below and my nose and my face and my entire body is freezing, and I see everyone walking around with ice cream, and I think to myself, ‘wtf are these people on?’ So then we bought them and found out why.”
They’re not fruit popsicles, but popsicles in the northeast Chinese style which are like a much milkier vanilla flavor. They do chocolate and mango too though.
Went down to the river, sat and read for a bit on the riverbank and see a middle-aged guy swimming in the river. I think to myself, “that’s gotta be dirty, but get your exercise where you have to I guess.” And then he walks out of the water with two armfuls of clams. Who knew they had clams in there?
Took a walk down the bank and found a massive yellow duckie.
It’s been a brand in China for a while, appearing on bags, phone cases etc., but the city of Harbin in its infinite wisdom seems to have made a giant one and turned it into a tourist attraction, cus I guess you can do that.
Brought out my flowersticks to practice, and drew some attention, so took the opportunity to be an American cultural ambassador and taught a bit to some kids and a parent who had come up to ask some questions. I think it’s gonna become a thing, practicing in parks and the like and talking with people. Making progress on tricks too.
Then I made my way back down the street and picked up some sausage and bread, which are both amazingly delicious, and are particular to Harbin again because of Russian influence. As a result Northeastern Chinese has a couple loanwords like 大列巴 (da lie ba) for certain types of (Russian) bread, which is a transliteration of the Russian word for bread хлеб (hlep), as well as 格瓦斯 (ge wa si, guh wa s) from Russian’s квас (kvas) which is a sort of bread soda, and an acquired taste).
Good day, thought I’d share, bye :).