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Away from BMX (4 - 14 Dec 2008)

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Once in awhile, we have to do something different.

I took a trip up North to Northern China. To a place where temperature numbers look similar to ours, but with a negative sign in front. At the same time, to experience the northern Chinese culture and whatever I bum into.

Arrived in Shen Yang International Airport. Time checked, 1730H. Sun already gone to bed. It was dark and gloomy. Pile of dirty ice can be seen at the side of the runway. At the immigration, people were dressed heavily and looking tired. Everyone can be heard whispering about the cold. At the receiving hall, a big crowd awaited in their dark suits and jacket ready to hug their arriving guest. The atmosphere was sweet. I felt a sudden chill down my spine when someone muttered the temperature was –20c outside. That’s when I realised how scantily dressed I am.

My host advise me to put on whatever I have. It was a choice of wear or die. Like a stupid hero, I put on my ski jacket and out we went. The bus was waiting 10m from the airport entrance, so it was a short exposure to the temperature. I only received the real taste when I arrived in the city. From the city bus stop, we have to catch a taxi in the bitter and windy cold to my hotel. Freaking temperature was so low, accompanied by strong wind made my 10mins wait an everlasting one. My face was so bloodless numb that I couldn’t speak properly.

Once in the hotel, I was out in a jiffy to get more warm clothes. The 100% cotton thermal inner wear I bought in Singapore for S$119, did not help at all. At a nearby market, I bought another thermal inner wear for only rmb45 (equivalent to S$10). It kept me warm throughout the trip. I had to put aside my tight jeans because there is no way I can squeeze in with so many thick inner pants. After some tips on how to prepare myself for the cold, I was ready to go live like a local.

In Shen Yang, the bus ride from the airport to city cost S$3.20. A 30mins taxi ride cost only S$5.50. As for accommodation, you can get a clean budget private room for S$15 (Double bed with only walking space around the bedside, with attached toilet). A bigger room that is double the size of your HDB bedroom cost only $30 (breakfast included). Everything is affordable.

Shen Yang is a modern city. Amazing skyscraper, posh boutiques, luxuries cars etc.. with usual Carrefour supermarket, KFC, Macdonalds, Pizzas, Starbuck etc.. In the night, there are no shortage of clubs, pubs and KTVs to keep you rocking. The ladies there are amazing to the eyes. Their appearance and how they dress can drown you. Very fashionable and they are surprisingly slim and tall.

On the 2nd day, it was ski time. I headed to Qi Pan Shan where the ski facilities are. S$65 for a whole day, inclusive of ski equipment. Nothing much to talk about accept fun fun fun and crash crash crash…

On the 3rd day, I headed up North to RaoHe Xian. I visited a small town at the border between China and Russia. When I reached there, the river dividing the 2 countries was frozen, but not hard enough for travelling as yet. Once it is ready, you can actually drive or even walk over the river to Russia, at a specific path. The temperature was –25c.

There is a market for Raccoon fur in the town. The resident there breed raccoon in cages. Once they are developed, they are electrocuted and stripped off from their fur. The people basically peel the entire fur from the flesh in 1 piece. The way the fur came off is extremely sick to watch. The bloody naked dead raccoon are then left in the cold to freeze. The remains are sold off for the meat. It is a sad sight to see a live raccoon trying to peep at their naked comrades lying motionless on top their cage. The people said raccoons are territorial animal. They will kill and eat each other if left alone. That is why they are kept in individual cage. See video for live and dead raccoon. The killing part was not recorded. Thinking of it, remind me of Hannibal and SAW the movie. Okay I need a moment to myself. Feel free to watch the simple and not related to BMX video.


Away from BMX in China from 20inchOBlog on Vimeo.

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