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 in the front of Chinese tourists bundled up against below-freezing weather before diving right into a pool cut into a river that is iced-covered.

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

It could 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 a translator that is chinese the Russians into the troupe whom visit Harbin every January to do with Chinese swimmers during the Sino-Russian Friendship Winter Swimming Sports Amusement Park.

Russian had been the language of Zhao’s mom, whom relocated to Harbin because the young bride of Zhao’s Chinese daddy in 1926. Zhao remained behind when her mom and siblings left for the then-Soviet Union in 1962 throughout the split that is sino-Soviet.

“When the swimmers first came in 1986, they aided me find my mom. Although she had currently passed on, they assisted me personally find her grave and also the later years home where she had stayed, ” Zhao said.

Around Asia, Harbin is fabled for its cold temperatures, once the city puts for a event of ice and snowfall sculptures.

At evening, areas radiance with lamps encased in elaborate ice castles, pagodas and bridges. Continue reading “Asia’s icy Harbin rediscovers its Russian roots”