Harbin, famous for well below zero temperatures and an ever expanding ice festival is essentially a run down town in Heilongjiang province full of Russian whole stores, northern-china sausage and cold noses.

On the first outing I managed 20 minutes before my fingers, toes and face went a kind of numb I cannot explain. The local kids show their cool by wandering around in jeans and tshirt - both stiff with ice.

Really all there is to see here (apart from the spectacle that is chinese drivers charging around on sheet ice roads - reminded me of that family guy episode) is a huge ice town, best viewed in the evening, and a big snow town, best viewed during the day. 24 hours later you can be back in a temperature that doesn't feel like the devil is trying to suck your soul through your skin.

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