Finally summer is here, and it seems that in Harbin they go all out. It's pretty much like a constant fun fair here now the sun is out - probably making up for the ridiculously long winter. Everyone is flying kites and eating candyfloss and blowing bubbles and painting and playing music. This afternoon I visited the local park which is about a 4 minute walk from my apartment. There are leaves and blossom on the trees and ACTUAL grass - something I haven't seen for a good few months now. I had such an urge to sprawl out on it and roll over it soaking up it's smell and feel but I didn't. Might have looked slightly odd.
Well, the park is obviously the place to be. Every few yards something new and exciting is going on. In one corner there's old people dressed up and running around with multi-coloured flags to the sound of a drum beat, on another there's couples doing the waltz and tango in the sunshine, in another there's a string quartet along with opera singers and over the other side is some sort of legs, bums and tums exercise class for OAP's (minus the lycra - thank god). On top of that there's people huddled all over the place playing cards and every square inch of grass is taken up by people playing instruments; saxophines, violins, drums, flutes.
Whilst watching the waltzers a man asked me dance and wouldn't let me refuse. So I decided to get into the spirit of things and gave it my best shot. Now, I haven't ever waltzed before in my life, for one good reason; I have the coordination of an elephant. I was continually bumping into people, tredding on his toes and at one point I elbowed him in the face as he was trying to twirl me round! After the song finished I thanked him and made my way back to the bench. Before I could sit down another man came up and asked, when I refused he looked dissapointed so I got my energy up again and gave it another go. This time was slightly better. By the end of it, however, I was flagging - I had been waltzing for a good ten minutes now. When the song ended I was ready for a rest. But no! A tiny woman came over to me grabbed my hands and put them behind my back and we ended up doing a sort of french skip around the circle. This song lasted even longer than the others! By the end of it I was absolutely cream crackered - I do not know for the life of me how the OAP's keep their energy up. When it finished the woman then insisted I danced with her friend! My thoughts of "no more no more no more..." were interupted by a man taking my hand and leading me to dance the waltz again. I was bright red in the face, sweaty, and out of breath, doing the waltz for the 400th time. Uff. Anyway I made a promise to myself that this would be the last one and I would have to refuse the next person, otherwise who knows how long I could have been waltzing for. The man insisted on swirling me around every five seconds so that I ended up so dizzy I could hardly walk let alone dance. Also, I could be mistaken but I'm sure some mild sexual harrassment went on! So, after I thanked him I made a run for the bench. I wasn't even safe there - after my waltzing shenanigans I became somewhat of a minor celebrity (I guess a waltzing foreigner is big news in the confinement of the park!) and about 25 people crowded round me and just stared. Obviously they attempted to talk to me but we couldn't understand each other, so instead of walking off like most people would do they just stayed there and stared at me. After about half an hour it got a bit creepy and I decided to leave.
So all in all a lovely visit to the park :)
Thats all folks xx