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Asia’s icy Harbin rediscovers its Russian roots

Asia’s icy Harbin rediscovers its Russian roots

HARBIN (Reuters) – Russian swimmer Lyudmila Smolyakova strips right down to a swimsuit and flip-flops and prances right in front of Chinese tourists bundled up against below-freezing climate before diving into a pool cut into an iced-covered river.

The tourists, who possess paid 30 yuan ($3.87) for seats to see Smolyakova’s ice troupe that is swimming, scatter as she emerges and threatens to splash them.

It might be cool in Harbin, that will be nearer to Siberia rather than Beijing, but warming ties between Russia and Asia suggest the town is rediscovering its Russian origins.

That’s a blessing for Zena Zhao. She works as being a translator that is chinese the Russians within the troupe whom see Harbin every January to do with Chinese swimmers during the Sino-Russian Friendship Winter Swimming Sports Amusement Park.

Russian ended up being the language of Zhao’s mom, who moved to Harbin due to the fact young bride of Zhao’s Chinese dad in 1926. Zhao remained behind whenever her mom and siblings left for the then-Soviet Union in 1962 through the split that is sino-Soviet.

“When the swimmers first arrived in 1986, they aided me find my mom. Although she had currently passed on, they helped me find her grave and also the senior years house where she had remained, ” Zhao stated.

Around Asia, Harbin is well-known for its wintertime, if the city puts in an event of ice and snowfall sculptures.

At evening, parks radiance with lamps encased in elaborate ice castles, pagodas and bridges. By time, site site visitors saunter over the Songhua that is frozen river where make-shift theme parks provide ice slides, skating and swimming programs. (more…)

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