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Old 11th January 2009, 15:44   #1
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Default Bibendum, -26 deg C, a VW rally car on ice and loads of drifting and fun!

A bunch of Michelin dealers from across India were recently taken to China(Harbin) to test some Michelin winter tyres.

We were allowed to drive Audi A4s, Audi Q7s and VW rally cars on Ice and Snow.

Drifing a rally car with more than 250 bhp modified to be a RWD on snow and ice really gets your adrenaline flowing!

Will post detailed pics, videos and a report soon. All I can say is, I'm now officially bored to drive on tarmac without any drifting or liftoff oversteer.
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Old 11th January 2009, 15:50   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikhilb2008 View Post
Will post detailed pics, videos and a report soon. All I can say is, I'm now officially bored
i am officially bored today as there is nothing much work and nothing much on team-bhp.
but this thread came and i thought oasis in desert but.....

waiting for details.
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Old 11th January 2009, 16:04   #3
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Oh, so you too went! Did you meet a guy called Harsh1t Chawla there?
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Old 11th January 2009, 16:20   #4
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Maybe! I may have met him and spoken to him without knowing his name. There were 80 dealers. I didnt get to interact with many of them!!
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Old 10th December 2009, 02:07   #5
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Hey NIkhil, waiting for pics.. please post some...
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Old 10th December 2009, 10:09   #6
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This thread is almost a year old - maybe Nikhil forgot to update !
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Old 10th December 2009, 10:52   #7
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Yikes! Sorry! Will try to update soon. a
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Old 10th December 2009, 12:47   #8
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4th Jan 2009: We leave Bangalore and head to Delhi. We have dinner in a hotel there and meet up with the rest of the team who have flown in from different parts of the country. We are divided into teams there and given our passports with the Chinese visa.

We leave Delhi and fly to Beijing.

5th Jan 2009: We reach Beijing's fantastic new airport. However, we have a connecting flight to Harbin. We retrieve our baggage and then check it back in.

We now have a few hours to kill inside the airport. It's my first experience with Chinese in their home country. Their accent is quite difficult to understand. However, since it's the airport, everyone at least speaks English. We however encounter a problem immediately. The only money exchange there is giving ridiculous rates. And no restaurant inside the food court accepts Credit cards.

Luckily, my dad is a somewhat frequent traveller and he has some Chinese RMB with him. It's enough to get us a bite to eat from KFC. My first Chinese meal is a KFC burger!

By we I mean my dad, his two brothers(also tyre dealers from Mysore) and me. We are a group of 4.

We catch our flight to Harbin. Unfortunately, one person's suitcase is missing. It hasnt come to Harbin at all. This person is a representative with Michelin. Due to him, there is a lot of delay.

Finally the decision is taken to send the rest of the guys to the hotel. He will take a taxi and come later on. As it turns out, he didnt get his suitcase and he basically lived in the same set of clothes for about 3 days. He was lucky it was cold and he didnt sweat too much!!

We exit the airport and stop dead. It's FREEZING! It's past sunset. Past sunset means it's after 4:30 pm! It is so freaking cold, it's unbelievable. We all have vry warm clothes but they are safely packed into our suitcases! All I'm wearing is a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, shoes and a jacket. In the 2 mins it takes us to load the baggage into the buses and get in, we;re freezing.

While it's so cold, it can get painful, it's FANTASTIC! I mean, I've never experienced such cold before in my life and I might not get to ever again! Random estimates say the temperature is around -15 deg C. Imagine this temp and no thermals, no multi layer clothing, no woollen socks, nothing!

We reach our hotel and we are allotted our rooms. The hotel was Sofitel Harbin. Lovely hotel. Quite comfortable. At least a 4-star if not a 5 star. It's one of the better hotels in Harbin. People are paired up. 2 people to a room. We are told to come back down at 7:30 pm so that we can leave for dinner. They have arranged some Indian type of dinner at a restaurant. As usual, we manage to leave only by 8:30 or so. The dinner is not Indian, but not totally Chinese. It's ok.

I have to mention here the arrangements by Michelin. They had taken the sizes of everyone in the group. When we entered our rooms, we found complete kits made to our size! Boots, gloves, ski masks, ski goggles, jackets, trackpants! Fantastic. The stuff they give is very good. Only thr gloves are inadequate for the extreme temperatures. And I dont need to mention that all this is branded Michelin. There is bibendum everywhere you look! On the sleeve, near the pocket, etc... Only the boots and the ski goggles dont have bibendum on them.



6th Jan 2009:

The entire group is divided into two batches. One batch will head to the frozen lake to do their share of driving. We're in the other group. We are to be taken to a ski resort for some skiing, then some sightseeing in Harbin.

We are given a briefing in one of the conference rooms in the hotel. We exit the hotel and oh man! Our breath catches in our throats. It's so cold! I try to take a deep breath and start coughing! It's as if my lungs have ice in them. The temp readout in the bus says -15 deg C. It's abpout 9:00 am. We are told that it will get warmer. How warm? It will reach a very warm -10 deg C!

The drive to the ski resort is nothing great. Once we go there, we get a pair of skis, etc... It's good fun to get out on the ice. I was a roller skater for about 10 years when I was young. So, thankfully, I dont fall and am pretty stable and balanced. Lots of people falling over all around me. It's quite hilarious. Me and some others who have retained their balance are like the unofficial rescue team! Due to the long skis, when you fall, it's quite difficult to get back up on your own.

So, we go aorund lfiting people up and helping them back on their feet. It's really good fun but really really cold. Some of the guys cant take it and head back inside. It's really fun though. I then try a mini-slope and am skiing down the slope when someone comes in front of me! BANG! We both tumble to the ground and start laughing so hard, it hurts! The slope is very small, about 20 metres is the length of the slope. I had done baout 15 metres when someone comes in from the side. Hilarious stuff!

Soon, it's time to leave. We head back inside, exchange the skis for our boots and buy cups of warm coffee! Everyone is dressed in identical suits and everyone's face is covered with the ski masks and the goggles and it's difficult to know who is who. There are tons of instances when someone goes up to someones, abuses him and then realises it's not the person they thought it was! Funny stuff!

We take some pics outside the ski resort and head back to Harbin city. We are taken to the same restaurant where we had dinner last night for lunch. After lunch, we have to go on a sightseeing tour of Harbin. It's already 4:00 and the sun is setting! We are taken to a church. It looks a lot like the St. Basil's Chirch in Moscow. It's called St. Sophia's Church. We go inside, take a few pics and head back to the warmth of the bus. It's so cold, many people decide not to bother with the church and stay inside the bus.

After this, it's completely dark. We are taken to the Harbin Ice Festival. This is basically a huge open area which is completely covered with Ice sculptures and snow structures. The best part is that these are lit up from the inside. It looks fantastic at night.

See some pics here ---- harbin ice festival - Google Images

harbin ice festival - Google Search

I dont have the pics I took. I seem to have lost it. I hope my uncle has it. Will try to upload it here. However, it is EXACTLY as seen in the above link. It is simply fantastic. And our guide estimated that the temperature inside the grounds is about -30 deg C. It is so cold, even I cant take it. We walk a few mins and come across a warm oasis. It's basically a small tent which is heated and you get warm stuff inside. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc.... We decide to stay there for a while before heading back to the bus.

My uncles and dad head straight back. I just walk around a little bit. I take a lot of pics and head back. The best thing is that these sculptures have slides where kids and adults are happily sliding down them and having a ball. Most of these people are localites.

All around Harbin, there are small ice sculptures places at pedestrain crossings, traffic signals, etc.... This is a feature of Harbin's winter, we're told. The ice sculpture doesnt melt for about 2-3 months as the highest temperature would be around -5 deg C.

After the ice festival, people are given an option. Many people are not interested in dinner or want to have it on their own. Some people want to have the dinner which Michelin have organised. They have organised it at the same place where we had lunch. So, I decide to get off the bus at the hotel and go out to explore the area. Unfortunately, Harbin closes early and all the malls nearby are closed and the food courts are closed too. All I have left is McDonalds!

Sheesh.... But I say, at least that is better than the Indian food in that restaurant. I mean, at least the McDs abroad have some awesome stuff you dont get in India. I'm a guy who eats everything so I love eating in foreign countries where all types of meat are available. I finish dinner and head back to the hotel room.

We retire for the night.

The next day is a super fun day

Coming up........



Bibendum, -26 deg C, a VW rally car on ice and loads of drifting and fun!-image001.jpg
Bibendum, -26 deg C, a VW rally car on ice and loads of drifting and fun!-image004.jpg
Bibendum, -26 deg C, a VW rally car on ice and loads of drifting and fun!-image002.jpg
Bibendum, -26 deg C, a VW rally car on ice and loads of drifting and fun!-image011.jpg

Last edited by ajmat : 10th December 2009 at 13:32.
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Old 10th December 2009, 13:35   #9
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That was quite fast!!! and comprehensive too. Please post some more pics Nikhil
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Old 10th December 2009, 17:01   #10
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This is going to be exciting and what do I talk about the teasers? Just waiting to see these wonderful machines and their acts on the ICE. One hell of an experience man.

Post the pictures fast...
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