Sunday, September 11, 2011

Manchuria Road Trip Part 02

A view of the Songha River
The day begins as early as 5am in Harbin.
By the time I got up after a short rest, it was already bright and shiny.
Our organizers had set the day's highlights with a visit to Sun Island wetlands and a meeting with the city's Mayor in the afternoon.
For me, the only thing in mind was a solid breakfast and a walk along the Songha riverbank.
Since I am no stranger to a Western meal, my day begin with some sausages, eggs sunny-side up and some good coffee.
Later, I walked along the Songha riverbank to record its morning activities.
I was surprised to see people swimming in the frigid cold water in the river.
Some guys were also fishing on the spot.
It took me about 30-minutes to capture some of the day-to-day life shots before making my way back to the hotel's coffee house for breakfast.
One thing I noticed about Harbin is the fact that its dusty during Summer.
And this city is also busy with traffic as scores of people made a rush to their workplace.
The Communist China which I came to know decades ago, is now a different place.
Harbin is a modern city with everything you can imagine.
The only difference, is that its an authoritarian state. 
Anyways, after breakfast, the Press crowd were herded to Sun Island and another location in the South of the city later.
Wetlands within a city: The Sun Island
Since half of the day would be spent on visiting swamps, I dressed as comfortable as I could.
No point wearing pants and shirt since its going to get dirty.
So, that said, things were smooth at the wetlands. 
Later in the day, we were introduced to Harbin's Mayor and his staff.
During the Q&A session, a representative from Bangladesh had floored him with tonnes of questions.
I guess this is typical for wannbes to impress the rest of the crowd.
Then, at night, the Harbin City Council hosted a welcome dinner.
I had the luck of being seated next to the Bangla guy.
Not only he's irritating, the dude was also very demanding, wanting pictures of him to be taken with high-ranking Chinese officials.
Anyways, that aside, we later visited the downtown area of Harbin and since my bladder was filled with Harbin Beer, the first order of the day was a trip to the gents.
After the tour, I lounged around at Shangri-La's bar and listened to their entertainers perform.
It was lights out and back to packing again before hitting the road towards the Binjiang wetlands and Volga manor..
Exhibits at Harbin's Russian village

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