Earlier this week we discovered Jiamusi’s Children’s Park.
It was Theunsie, our son’s, 14th birthday.
We wanted to do something special.
He’d been wanting to ice skate since we got here & so we decided his birthday is the ideal opportunity to explore the Ice Fun created in this famous park.
It isn’t far from where we live.
Jiamusi is a compact city.
Nothing more than 10 kilometres away.
The Children’s Park is a short 3.5 kilometres from our home.
An easy walk.
Except for the -28 degrees celcius temperature, which we’re getting used to, although little Maddi still struggles to control her little body’s heat.
So Beate, Wilhelmina & I decided we’ll walk, while Zuko, Maddi, Theunsie & Sophia follow in a taxi-cab.
Taxi-cabs are abundant in Jiamusi.
And they’re cheap.
The drive from our home to the park costing only 8Yuan.
I like walking a city.
You see more of it.
Experience more of it.
Notice more, as you slowly make your way, on foot, from one street to the next.
Jiamusi has beautiful architecture, sprinkled in between the more mundane modern buildings.
The city is well kept.
The streets are clean, naked trees, in tidy rows, patiently waiting for summer all along the way.
At the entrance of the park we are greeted by a statue of the Chairman.
Nope, that’s not it. It is a statue at a Bhuddist Temple we visited, which my tablet inserted, for some stupid reason & I can’t seem to remove it from this post.
I’ll tell you about the Temple in another post.
Back to the Park.
It is situated close to some University buildings.
It sports an art centre.
Beautiful bridges & I can I imagine in summer people will enjoy rowing quant boats on the lake, while others play music or picnic in the shade of the many trees & pagodas.
Today the lake is frozen.
Huge ramps allow children to fly down the ice, on inflatable tubes at breakneck speeds.
There’s a skating rink.
Some ‘snowmobiles’, chair skiing & an area where they play an interesting local game with whips and a spinning top.
Popular Chinese music fill the air, along with excited chatter & children’s laughter.
Zuko & Maddi fly down the ramp on a tube.
Fluffy snow spattering in their wake as they speed by.
Then the game is on.
The other kids and Beate chasing each other from one icy ramp to the next.
After an hour or so, Zuko & Maddi seek refuge in the cabin where the ice skates & other items are being rented out.
The local ladies are friendly & chatty and although we really don’t u derstand a word they say, we know they think Maddi is addorable.
We know they’re stunned at the size of our family & fascinated by these foreigners who’ve chosen to come and live amongst them for a time.
They make space for Zuko in front of a warm heater while the rest of us skate & ski & glide on ice.
Races are done.
Skates & skiing chairs exchanged.
Energy expended on experiencing a world unknown to us.
My mustache collect icy crystals and my feet become numb on the cold of the frozen lake.
We’re amazed by the immense fun we have.
And as the sun starts to set, which is quite early in this Siberian part of the world in Northern China, we head home where Maddi takes a warm bath & then a solid nap, while we talk about the amazingness we experienced & Zuko cooks a beautiful meal.