Joan holds a white fox

The ice city had a carnival full of winter events to take part in all over the park. They had yaks there to sit on but since I have already experienced the joy of riding a yak I decided it was time to hold a white fox. A real deal at 20RMB or $3.00.  He was very docile  and just plain cute.

Joan and fox

Along with the ice sculptures there were a few monuments made from snow which were breathtakingly beautiful.

snow carving

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More ice sculptures to follow and some videos of Chinese winter sports.

Ice and Snow Wonderland in Harbin China

We arrived in Harbin which is in northern China and close to the Russian border this morning  to beautiful sunny skies. The temp was 20′ F or -6 C. so really comfortable considering it could  have been much much colder. We walked around town and when the sun went down hopped in a taxi to go see the city of ice. It was truly magnificent to see so I will show pictures for the next week.

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Needless to say it was cold outside since the sun went down so even dressed as warm as I was after 90 minutes we both were ready to catch a ride in the warm taxi waiting for us.

All the buildings you see are made of ice. This was the entrance which said this was the 11th year for the festival.

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Breakfast of Champions or Emperors

Since I have my new healthy drinks I have been wondering what I should be eating for breakfast. Simon has come to my rescue with a new wholesome cereal made in Taiwan that is filled with lots of Vitamin B along with other minerals.

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This mixed cereal is made up of black bean, rye, wild rice, black sesame, black dates, green gram, snow lotus herb, yam, green tea, white sesame, pumpkin seeds, gingko nut, vitamin, mineral.

The directions say to put the cereal in a cup of boiling water and stir well. Stand for 3 minutes and serve.

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I was expecting it to get thick like oatmeal, but the consistency stayed like soup.

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It tasted like  barley soup to me.  I will try it again.

Another new drink

When I was getting my nails done in Beijing last month, Ruby offered me this drink.  It looked like a scoop of lemon/orange  jelly stirred in boiling water and it was delectable.

On the weekend I noticed this box when we were shopping at Metro  and thought I bet this was what Ruby gave me at the  nail salon. I purchased it and Simon said it was grapefruit extract (tea) from South Korea. It looks like marmalade and tastes delicious stirred in a cup of boiling water.

drinks 003Do you think this will also keep me healthy?

A healthy drink for the New Year

Yesterday Mark came home with a case of 12 bottles of Sea Buckthorn Juice that was given to the employees at work.

I have learned that the berries are from deciduous shrubs and are used to make juice. More than 90% of the resources are found in China. They are unpleasant to eat raw.  They are filled with antioxidants, and a high content of Vitamin C about 12 times greater than oranges.

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HEALTH APPLICATIONS

Sea buckthorn has been shown to have a potent antioxidant activity, mainly attributed to its flavonoids and vitamin C content (1). Both the flavonoids and the oils from sea buckthorn have several potential applications (2). There are five areas of research that have been focal points for their use: as an aid to patients undergoing cancer therapy; a long-term therapy for reduction of cardiovascular risk factors; treatment of gastrointestinal ulcers; internal and topical therapy for a variety of skin disorders; and as a liver protective agent (for chemical toxins) and a remedy for liver cirrhosis.

Now the big question, how does it taste? It has a thick consistency for juice and a combination orange, mango taste so relatively pleasant to the taste buds. :> I plan on having a glass each morning to ward off any sickness.

Year of the Tiger

Everyone one all over China is preparing for the Chinese New Year which will fall on February 14th this year and run until February 2, 2011.

It will be the year of the Tiger which is the 3rd sign of the cycle of the Chinese Zodiac. The tiger is a sign of bravery. Courageous and fiery fighter is admired by the ancient Chinese as the sign of the tiger that will keep away the three main tragedies, fire, thieves and ghosts.

Tigers are physically powerful, gracious, independent and brave. They are friendly and loving but can be selfish and short tempered. Tigers are instilled with a good dose of courage.

In preparation for the New year I purchased a couple decorations that were just so cute.

year of the tiger 001The Chinese girl holding the fish stands for prosperity.   Doesn’t my tiger look so ferocious :)

My new friend

Last week Mark made a purchase from his boss in Beijing that he thought I might approve of. Needless to say I was elated when it was all set up and put into motion. Just what I need  to soothe my over worked bones from all the strenuous activities  that I do over here. :-) Actually since we have been swimming it does a superb job of soothing my aching bones.massage chair 002

We placed it in front of the window in our living room so on the rare sunny day it feels  stupendous to be able to relax and take in a few rays of sun while enjoying a good book. Today is one of those days that the sun is shining so I guess I know what I will be doing this afternoon.

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Swimming in Changzhi

Since we have returned to China a group of us have decided to join the gym to try and get in shape. The gym is part of a recently opened 5 star hotel so it includes a couple swimming pools. The best part is that they keep the water warm which makes swimming perfect for me. They have a lap pool, a 4 foot pool and a gigantic hot tub where unfortunately the water is colder than in the pool. Go figure!

I have never been a lap swimmer but I thought this would be  much better than sweating in the gym and a good way to tone up. This is the first place I have ever been that requires everyone to wear a bathing cap including the men. Mark was not thrilled!

lap pool

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regular pool with huge  circular pool at back of picture

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Xueer and sister in pool

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Xueer and little sister swimming

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The video was so short  because  two life guards approached me and with the use of sign language made it clear I should not be taking any pictures.  Who knows why but at least I had taken a few pictures first.

Snake fruit???

On the weekend  we visited a new grocery store and were fascinated with how busy it was. Xueer said the stores get really busy with the coming of the new year which actually is February 14th this year.

We found a new fruit that looked rather enticing and the clerk said they were “hao” good so we figured we were up to the challenge. The skin felt and looked like snake skin. Xueer had never seen this fruit before so I don’t know the  correct name.

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It peeled very easily to reveal some rather tough flesh and a pit.

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Now I am sure you are all filled with curiosity  to know what it tasted like???

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A very very ripe strawberry which has matured beyond good taste.

Patricia and Tom’s wedding date

Patricia and Tom have chosen August 28th, 2010 to be married in Salt Lake City. When I told Simon the date he asked if there was any significance for the date.  I said they just liked the idea of a later summer wedding. He then proceeded to tell me that it looked like a good date. Remember many Chinese couples pick the date with the help of a fortune teller so that they may have good luck in their future life. Simon said it was a good date because of the auspicious  number 8 for 8th month and 8 in the date. So I looked up the number 8 and it means prosper and wealth and some regional dialects say the the words  “eight” and fortune are similar. Remember the Olympics in China were  8/8/08 at 8 seconds and 8 minutes after 8.  The number 2 means good things come in pairs.  I just told Patricia about her good fortune in picking the date.

Tom and Trish

They haven chosen Memorial House in City Creek Canyon for the site of their reception. It just happens that it is very close to where they live now, and by chance  to be in one of the pictures that I had taken on one of my walks.  The building below the Capital.

Thanksgiving. and birthday 009

Since I was looking up the numbers I thought I would look at date that Mark and I had chosen June 7, 1980.

So the one 8 is good. The 6th month represents happiness and blessings. The number 7 is a lucky number for relationships and is the luckiest in the West. It is one of the rare numbers to be great in both Chinese and Western cultures. It also means arise.

Good luck Trish and Tom.