Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ice in the heart of HCM City

With daytime temperatures almost always above 30 degrees, and lows never below 20, the site of ice in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City is an understandable draw.

And, in fact, since November 1 hundreds of residents have been flocking daily to the the Lê Lợi Street shopping mall to the newly opened ice skating rink called - ICE!.
For kids and adults: A view of the ice skating rink at Sài Gòn Centre, a mall on HCM City’s Lê Lợi Street, on a Sunday night. – VNS Photo An Phương
Though there is not enough space for speed skating and figure eights, many people told Việt Nam News that their kids greatly enjoyed the skating experience. “Since this is the first time I am bringing my daughter to try ice skating, I did not know what to expect,” Phạm Huỳnh Ngọc Thúy, 44, said. “But seeing how contented my child is on the ice, I believe I have made the right decision. I will bring her back for more.”
The operator, Sài Gòn Centre, says eight centimetre-thick ice is used to enhance skaters’ experience. Since it is real ice, all skaters are required to follow safety guidelines, including wearing socks and only skating in a clockwise direction.

It costs VNĐ120,000 for 45 minutes on the rink.

“That is why my family went ice skating for two weekends in a row after the rink first opened,” Nguyễn Thị Phương Lan, 40, said.

Interestingly, many people did not bring their kids to skate but rather to just feel the ice.

Dương Ngọc Anh, 7, said enthusiastically: “I have never seen an ice rink before. It’s huge but I don’t feel so cold standing near it. Oh, I can feel Christmas is around.”

But not everyone is jolly.

Huỳnh Hạnh Mai, 38, said: “Since my son had heard many great things about ice skating from his schoolmates, he asked me to bring him here. I was okay with it, but now that I’ve seen the sharp blade attached to the boots, I feel quite nervous letting my son skate.”

Many others seemed to have similar apprehensions and were either skating along with their children or telling the staff to look after them on the ice.

In addition to skating, people can treat themselves to instantly frozen nitrogen ice-cream and frozen popcorn at iKem, a food and beverage outlet.

Gia Bảo, Mai’s son, said “Skating is fun but tiring since I have just learnt how to control the skates so I asked my mother to buy me a cup of ice-cream after my skating session. It’s so yummy.”

Many teenagers and young adults are drawn to the rink, too.

A worker there said: “They are mostly university students who come in groups of four. They tend to visit during weekdays since there are special discounts of up to 50 per cent.”

ICE! will remain open until January 1.



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