Saturday, July 03, 2010

A Typical Fourth of July?

Spending part of the holiday weekend at an amusement park is, of course, a pretty standard American pastime. It is just that when the amusement part is located in Beijing, there are certain Chinese characteristics that end up coloring the day. For example...

There are very few people at the amusement park. Remember the days of waiting for hours to ride Roaring Rapids at Great Adventure? Well, we have never been to a crowded Chinese amusement park. And many of the people in the park are not actually riding the rides. It is not uncommon to see groups of people, often young guys, standing there and watching the particularly scary rides in action. In fact, the roller coaster that Z and I rode did not start up until there were enough people to make it worthwhile for the operators. (The magic number? Z and I were the fourth and fifth people, respectively, and as soon as we arrived, it was a go.)

Chinese people do not like to get wet on water rides. I wore my Under Armour to the park, so I would dry off pretty quickly after getting doused by any water rides that we might go on. As Julie, Z, and I got set to board the big flume, the attendant tried to hand us plastic ponchos. Everyone else was definitely wearing them, but we said, bu yao. "We don't want them." Then as we passed by the next attendant, he asked us where our ponchos were, and we again indicated that we didn't see any need for them. After conferring with the first attendant, he was satisfied that this was indeed true and let us get in the car. There we were, us three crazy waiguoren, surrounded by screaming young Chinese people, all of whom were covered head to toe in plastic (blow up the middle picture to get a glimpse of the scene).

Hey, happy Fourth of July everyone!



At 8:40 AM, Blogger Leslie said...

lol - I remember the first time we brought my grandmother to an amusement park. We made her get on Space Mountain at Disneyland and she sat with her hands folded in her lap, eyes closed, mouth pinched shut, and didn't make a sound the entire time! She was such a good sport. And then we took her on a log flume ride and she covered her head in plastic, but if they had been giving out ponchos, she would've jumped right in one!


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