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Cup of China fun facts

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Belbin and Agosto at the Cup of China.
Belbin and Agosto at the Cup of China. (Getty Images)

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By Jocelyn Cox, special to icenetwork.com
(11/09/2007) - Harbin is known as the Ice City. It has a tradition of winter sports and a winter festival which features ice sculptures. Residents say that weather right now is unusually balmy for this time of year.

The Cup of China was originally planned for Beijing but was moved to Harbin. Participants were told this was because appropriate venues were not available due to preparations for the upcoming summer Olympics.

Ice sweepers at the Cup of China wear plastic bins, like kitchen garbage pails, strapped to their backs, in order to gather stuffed animals.

Taxi cabs have the word TAXI printed on them on both the drivers door and the passenger door, but the "T" is always closest to the front of the car, so on the driver's side it always says "TAXI" and on the passenger's side it always says "IXAT".

Smog hangs over Harbin every morning. The air pollution is significant. In preparation for Olympics, the Chinese government is experimenting with traffic bans in Beijing in order to improve the air quality.

Korean skating fans, who have arrived in droves for Yu-Na Kim, show their appreciation by beating plastic sticks together.

China is a country in transition. There is a contrast between old China and new depending on which route you take to walk from the hotel to the rink.

If you walk downstairs indoors, you go through a completely modern, western shopping mall with rows of clothes stores and shoes and handbags.

If you walk upstairs, you go through an enormous market with stalls with people selling agricultural products like beans and spices. If you walk outside on the street, you see an elderly man selling seeds from what looks to be an ancient, horse-drawn cart.