The morning started off with a breakfast that comprised of rice, cake, biscuits, vegetables, noodles and chicken. Luckily there was some toast and watermelon there to keep us going.
A quick 10 minute stop of to see a church turned into a half hour stop of practicing our CPR on the Chinese dolls with their paramedics. There were plenty of photo opportunities with the firefighters, police, navy and army there as we gate-crashed there community emergency services prevention and protection day. There dances and marches meant that we could have easily spent the day there however we needed to get of to the busy day at the tiger park.
On just under 400 acres of land, the Harbin Siberian Tiger Park is one of the largest tiger refuges in the world. Here we toured the area in a caged bus, with the tiger’s heads almost as big as the wheels. Feeling like we were the zoo animals, the tigers would surround us and jump up to eat the meat we were feeding them through the windows. Off the bus we could see white tigers, jaguars, pumas, lions and chickens. The chickens however weren’t for us to look at but instead to send through hatches into the lions den.
A quick KFC was just what we needed to satisfy our British food cravings. We then went to Harbin theatre, a beautiful structure reminiscent of the Sydney opera house. We went up the 302 steps around the outside of the theatre. The mini workout was well worth it as when we got to the top the view was amazing. Looking past all of the selfie takers you could see all of Harbin (including what we missed the previous day due to the cable car incident), the marshlands, and blue skies. On our way down we stumbled upon a child’s bike race where kids no older than ten were taking tight corners at top speed and pelting it to the finish line. Needless to say the mums of the group instinct took over and were cheering as the smallest of the group tried his best to catch up to his competitors.
Next stop was the Harbin polar museum. Polarland is one of the first polar amusement parks in the world and something that the locals here are very proud of. We had the opportunity to see a large range of fish, penguins, polar bears, arctic foxes, beluga whales and arctic wolves. With the classic titanic songs playing in the background we watched as the whales twisted and turned, dancing alongside their trainers. Moving on to see the sealions and walruses, we were surprised to have a 30 minute saxophone performance from one of the members of staff as bubbles fell from the ceiling.
When catching the bullet train back to Daqing we were sad to be leaving such a beautiful city so soon but made the most of the 50 minute journey to catch up on a little beauty sleep. The friendly faces and welcome as we arrived back at the university was enough to make us feel back at home. We all made the most of some down time by grabbing some proper takeaway Chinese food to take back to our rooms for a early night to prepare us for our final week in this amazing country.
Blog post by Faye Halpin on Tuesday 18th June