Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 2 - Part VI Ice Bumper Cars are Cooler than Ice Skates

The BEST Ice Activity Ever!

After the ALMOST of the frozen swimming pool, we just had to push on a little bit farther.  So we moved around the bend, and a few steps further on, until we saw this: 

As we closed in, we saw that it was not ice skating either.  It was better.  Ice bumper cars. 
We went to the window, and paid for two cars.  Since there was nothing going on, noone questioned my decision to give a little kid his own car.  And I had the money, which is about all one really needs as a reason in China - for certain classes of things.  There was a freshly cleaned fish in a plastic bag that hung from a branch by the ticket window that looked remarkably similar to the fish we saw frozen in the ice.  Which is when it dawned on me what the piles of ice chunks here and there around this ornamental lake. 

  People ice fish here - in clear defiance of the signs.  My gut told me it was most likely the employees before or after hours - or on closed days.  And they saw it as a perk for working there.  The "No Ice Fishing" signs apply to outsiders.
That mystery solved in my noggin, we hit the ice!

Darn it! Can't get the video to upload.  Go see it on Facebook.

  There were also ice bikes and ice desk chairs for rent.  The ice desk chairs where a bit blood curdling as one pushes oneself around using what looked like a large slot-head screwdriver blade welded to a metal pole.  One for each hand.  You use these to push yourself along like a skier stranded on flat ground.  It didn't seem too bad in these deserted conditions, but I can't help wonder what goes on with the crowds during the madness of Spring Festival (Chinese/Lunar New Year).  The ice bike was a pretty standard cruiser bike with the wheel touching the ice in back for forward momentum and some blades in front for steering.  A frame was also in place to keep you upright pretty much, no-matter-what.  There was an older man riding around and around on a yellow one of these as we capered about in our ice bumper cars.  And he kept staring at us like we were a particularly lively zoo exhibit.  I'm pretty certain that classification fit.
Well, after all that, there was little to do but walk all the way home.  We had passed a large, shiny new mall full of prestige brands (Solana Mall for those in the know), and it occurred to me this place might have a western-ish grocery store.  
Bingo!  So we stopped in and stocked up on liquids, cough drops (man that air was dry!) and a few wacky treats on the comfy side of familliar just for fun (cucumber flavored Lay's potato chips - they were potato chip color.  And seaweed flavored Pringle's - green of course).  On our way out, I did spy something odd from home.  

And what the busy home cook needs when in search of that last minute New Years treat, 

 500g of Peking duck in a stay-fresh foil pouch, for just 19.90 RMB.

We arrived back at the room and collapsed.  What a day.  Alec blew in from Singapore just about frozen to death (he'd just come from the equator after all).  We talked a little about the day, but since we'd all been up really early, dinner needed to happen soon.
We went to the Chinese fish restaurant in the hotel and were served a delicious dinner of an appetizer, steamed fish and vegetables.  As we were blundering about the menu, our waitress informed us that with one set of choices, 
"Oh, that will be too much!"  
Sort of the opposite of, 
"Super-size me!" 
"do you want fries with that?"  
And this would continue to happen our whole time in China.
As you can see, Tavin is a big fan of fish steamed with soy sauce... all the way down to the fin tips.

(Won't touch caramel, or whipped cream.  Blessings as they come, I s'pose....)
Tavin was so tired he just about fell out of his chair.  So I took him up to the room where he put himself to bed while Alec and I chatted about more about our mutual adventures.
And then it was bed time for us too.

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