Today's stop: Harbin, China.
For my last stop, I arrived in Harbin to give a speech to a group of interior designers at a design forum where I was the keynote speaker. It was a well received event and I was graciously welcomed with lots of warm Chinese hospitality. I have to say that the people of Harbin are very happy and gregarious in comparison to those of the larger cities. Lots of loud laughs and spontaneity in this great group.
Harbin is the coldest city in China and is referred to as the Ice City (good thing we are here during the summer). It is located in the North East, close to the Russian border and has about 7 million inhabitants. There is a huge Russian influence in the architecture which is why the city is called the Oriental Moscow. They even have a Russian Orthodox cathedral that looks like it came right out of a Russian novel.
If you are ever in Harbin you must go to the Zhongyang Pedestrian Street. It is mind-blowing to see so many people out and about shopping, buying ice cream and hanging out. It felt a lot like Monkok, Hong Kong with all of it's vibrancy. Wild!
I know I will be back to China again, but it's sad to say good bye for now.