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March 01, 2005

Sakhalin: Ice-Cream

Of all the things you could want to eat in a very cold climate, ice-cream certainly wouldn't be top of my list. I mean, really, you could just scoop up some snow and add a bit of fruit juice and - ta da! Snow cone! But for some unfathomable reason, people here are really into their ice-cream and there are little kiosks everywhere. You can't get a hot chocolate for love nor money, but ice lollies are available at every corner.

Other things that crack me up here include: fish drying in people's windows like bizarre net curtains and little kids on sledges all bundled up like starfish against the cold - so sweet! There are icicles hanging off the roofs and cars (note to self: don't linger under the eaves when it starts to warm up).

On Sunday, Jen and I went for a walk past Lenin Square and the church to Gagarin Park instead. I had a ride on a scary ferris wheel to see the views of the mountains and city. There are stray dogs all over the place and they don't seem to be bothered by the cold. We passed Victory Square and a super cool ice slide that kids were hurling themselves down, piling up at the end. Up a long track into the woods, we found "Dinamar," a recreation area which was full of people having barbecues and playing badminton - like an Australian beach scene only with snow. There was an ice-skating rink - well, 'rink' might be pushing it, it was a pond really - and we hired skates and skidded around with flailing arms for a while. There were no railings and no zamboni of course, just children having snowball fights so the surface had big ruts and bumps which made it interesting trying to stay upright. We went into a wooden building we assumed was a cafe, but it turned out to be a warm-up area full of people eating picnics. We walked back into the city - watching out for the crazy drivers in falling apart cars - and stopped off for a game of pool in a bar you had to get buzzed into.

Next day off: cross-country skiing!

Posted by Rowena on March 1, 2005 03:49 AM
Category: Russia
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