Class Trip #2: Picnic at Sun Island!

The CET staff coordinated a school trip to the pretty “Sun Island,” a island in the northern part of Harbin City that was developed into a large garden. To my knowledge, the entire island’s landscape was constructed by man (waterfall, marsh, flower gardens, squirrel sanctuary, etc). Some of my classmates and I explored the park together.

We first hit the “ice sculpture” section of the park, but these figures weren’t made out of ice. The intricacies in the design were still very impressive!

Dare and Mallory walking along the man-made lake. The reflection of the trees off the water was very pretty!

During our visit, we must have passed six-seven separate wedding photo shoots. In China, a wedding is a long matter that lasts for days. The photo shoot is on a separate day and the photographer often brings the happy couple to a city’s most beautiful places–today, Sun Island. For photo shoots, the couple often wears a western white wedding dress and not the traditional red qipao.

There was a wetland area…I felt like I was back in Minnesota.

We then visited “Squirrel Island.” The squirrels were black with pick ears. Basically, they were pretty freakin’ adorable. I thought this sign was funny.

The park was a lot of fun and the weather was perfect–Sunny with some wind.I had a great time with my classmates and got a good workout out of it too! Today was a busy day (going to the second HIT campus for the activities fair and then going to Sun Island).

This park brings up the concept of “Authenticity.” Sun Island is very pretty with its many gardens and large waterfall, but its “pretty landscapes” has a fake-ness to it. Because I am a Western tourist, I notice this and immediately feel disappointed. “You mean this waterfall isn’t natural?” Chinese tourists acknowledge that the park’s contents are not natural, but still find the park worthwhile for its greenery and main activities. I admire that. I fell like such a snob sometimes when I travel in China!

Sun Island is the closest green space city dwellers can go to escape urbanization for a couple of hours. For this reason, Sun Island is important for its local population, even if the landscape isn’t natural. It’s a safe tourist attraction that both old and young can enjoy. Going to the Chinese countryside to enjoy some greenery would be more difficult to accomplish and most likely unsafe.

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