Covered from head to toe. Five layers of clothing with fur lining. Fully charged camera and extra battery. And fully charged mobile phone. All set to go to one of the biggest ice festivals in the world – the Ice & Snow World in Harbin, China.
The festival starts on January 5th and runs for a month or until ice begins to melt. It is best to come after four in the afternoon when it’s dark. Inspired by this year’s theme Chinese fairytales, multi-colored LED lights illuminate ice castles and structures. The tallest architectural piece, the Crystal Palace is 48 meters high and the longest snow sculpture is 140 meters long. If you can tolerate the cold, take the steps going up bridges, towers and balconies. Then go down the slides. All made out of translucent ice blocks.
Temperature drops to -31˚C early in the evening, the coldest in many years as I am told. I only have two concerns. Can my freezing fingers still manipulate my camera? Can it still function properly under extreme climate? Frost blurs its UV filter and so I have to take it off and wrap my cam with a woolen scarf. Quite relieved to successfully take some photographs! An extra-ordinary experience for someone who lives in the tropics like me!