I'm now back from 4 weeks in Europe. I had an awesome time, hitting lots of parks and coasters! Highlights include Disneyland Paris (with Extra Magic Hours, thanks to the discounted season pass I got), OzIris, Tonnere de Zeus, Expedition GeForce (which was running even better than on my previous visit), Wodan and Blue Fire (and pretty much all of Europa Park!), the new Karacho and Olympia Looping. The surprise of the trip was definitely Phantasialand, without a bad coaster in the bunch, particularly it's amazing Colorado Adventure, which was nothing like you'd ever expect from a mine train! But I also got to explore a lot of cities I've always wanted to visit like Prague, Budapest, Vienna and Lisbon, as well as take more time to explore cities like Paris and Amsterdam better. The fun of the parks and coasters was balanced with sobering visits to Auschwitz and the Anne Frank House, reminding me that the same humanity that makes these fun rides is capable of such extreme horrors. All in all, an amazing trip!
But this thread is about my PREVIOUS trip to Asia. Now that I'm back, updates will resume shortly with Chengdu, China.
Well, given how long it's taken me to get last year's TR done -- and to be honest, all of the anti-ACE hate on here (I try to stay out of these fights and not take sides) -- probably not. Until then, I've posted some pics on my Facebook page, though I had them tagged to only be viewable to friends, so that potential thieves wouldn't know I was away. (A good tip for all of us travelers!)
Between the two trips, I have over 31,000 pictures to sort through! (19k from the Asia trip and 12k from Europe!) Let me get this one done first before I decide, though.
After spending our first night in a new city, Chengdu, we were ready to hit our first park here. Floraland was one of those parks that when we looked at the coaster list, seemed like a place you would only go for the credits and not much else. After all, they had an SLC knockoff and a spinning mouse. Woo hoo. But it turned out to be one of the parks that I enjoyed the most on the trip, for a bunch of other reasons. For a medium sized park, they put quite a bit of money into landscaping and theming, though most of the theming was more for the park itself than for specific rides. The park even had its own mascots, which were pretty reminiscent of Mickey and Minnie.
Needless to say, we headed straight for the coasters. The SLC knockoff called Dragon Rider was an SLC knockoff. Do I really need to say more? It wasn’t quite as painful as some – or had we just gotten used to them, and desensitized to the pain? I’m fairly certain that no one rode twice. From there, we headed over to the spinning mouse called Revolving Pulley. Like most of the spinning mice in China, it spun, but not all that much. Check. Check. Now what?
Robb insisted that we head over to the Tagada ride. Most of us had never heard of these rides, but those who had were excited. I’d first seen one of those in the TPR video at Gyeongju World in Korea. I’d been particularly disappointed that the ride hadn’t been open on my visit two weeks prior, since it had looked like a CRAZY ride in Robb’s video. And here was my chance to ride one! Watching the ride in motion, we knew it was going to be crazy. For those who don’t know, a Tagada is a round ride that spins. The ride op not only controls the spinning, but can make various parts of the ride bounce. Since this model had padded seats and a padded floor, the ride op was free to literally THROW us all over the place. And he did! The ride op seemed particularly overjoyed to have such a willing group of American victims, and gave us some particularly crazy rides, sincging along to songs like a newer dancier version of ”I Will Survive.” In fact, since we hadn’t all fit on the first ride, I jumped right back on for our second ride! I can’t describe how crazy these rides were, but the floor was covered with experienced enthusiasts rolling and bouncing all over the place, laughing our asses off. On the second ride, I was mostly able to sit up, after being bounced onto the floor – mostly. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard on any ride before or since then! Since then, I’ve ridden two Tagadas at German fairs, but since those rides weren’t padded, they weren’t nearly as much fun, since they kept us in our seats (mostly.) If you haven’t seen the video that Robb posted of our second ride, go look it up now. It’s hysterical! It’s so rare these days for many of us jaded enthusiasts to get a new experience at a park. And this was quite the memorable experience!
The other ride that Robb insisted we hit up was the ice house. I’d seen some of these at parks in Japan, where the attraction is mainly a cold house with various ice sculptures and decorations, mainly meant to give you a chance to cool down in the hot summer heat. But this one was one of several in China that had an actual slide made out of ice, hearkening back to the Russian ice slides that are the precursors to modern day roller coasters. (Or montana rusas – Russian mountains – in Spanish.) We had a blast on the slide, even if it wasn’t particularly thrilling. Still, sometimes old-fashioned fun is great.
After that, we split up around the park. A bunch of us found a giant frog hopper. Basically, the same ride that parks have for kids, but a larger model for adults. A few of us braved a Booster knockoff, which I didn’t manage to get a picture of. Still, if you know what the ride is, you’re asking yourself what the hell we were thinking, trusting our lives to a very tall Chinese knockoff ride with seats on a very long stick. After I got on the ride, I asked myself the same thing, wondering if we’d made a fatal mistake!
I grabbed a couple of “meat on sticks”, which were flavored with the local Sichuan – which our new tour guide made sure to tell us was properly pronounced “soo-chwan” , not “seh-shoo-wan” as most Americans pronounce it. – spices. Luckily, these weren’t as hot as the local fare is known for being, but they were tasty enough that I went back for more! Chengdu is in the Sichuan region of China.
Soon, we were on our way to more parks. But as we left Floraland, we noticed another park down the street. Apparently, this was a MAJOR expansion for Floraland that they were building. There were at least three coasters there, including a large multi-looper. The bus pulled over for a short stop, and many people got outside to take pictures, but I opted to just get a few from inside the comfortable air conditioned bus. I’ve never been all that excited to take pictures of coasters and rides that I cannot yet ride!
Floraland has an impressive entranceway for a medium sized park!
We should have paid to have all of our pictures on here, just to confuse the locals!
There's all this nice theming in the midways, but surprisingly little on the rides, other than in the ice house.
Why does this seem a little familiar?
The park has nice landscaping, too.
What do you mean NO HAMBURGERS?!?!?
Does that mean I'm not allowed on the SLC knockoff? (Secretly grateful and releived!)
Can't you almost hear the screams of pain?
It's almost over!
More random theming.
I feel like I've seen one of these before....
It spins... a little.
I'm sure the name makes much more sense in Chinese.
Robb and Hanno look like they're really enjoying their ride!
What a cute kiddie ride!
I don't think I managed to ride any of the Top Scan knockoffs in China. Too bad, because I really enjoy the rides. Then again, I'm still alive, and maybe I might not have been able to say that if I'd ridden them!
The Tagada. Notice that we're all (mostly) sitting -- for now!
Oh crap! Here we go!
While Dan struggles in the middle, I'm happily sitting with my arms up! Then again, it's my second ride.
I managed to stay up for most of the ride -- on my second ride!
The really cool ice house.
Don't you hate it when everyone accidentally wears the same jacket?
I'm so fashionable!
Sometimes simple pleasures are the best!
Do you think Neil will enjoy it?
I guess so!
The ice slide is built into a castle setting.
Some nice ice sculptures in the ice house.
The ice house was so cold that it fogged up Jon and Brian's glasses -- and my camera lens!
While my camera lens was still foggy, we apparently travelled to Spain.
A nice fountain with a Frisbee knockoff in the background. But wait, what's that I see? Let's zoom in....
Mermaid boobs! See, now you're glad you read this update, aren't you? ;-)
Adult frog hopper.
Floraland spared no expense in investing in the very latest in cash register technology. Yes, it's a cardboard box!
The upcoming major expansion to Floraland, as seen from the bus. (Cue lots of nerds rushing out to get pictures!) ;-)
Floraland was indeed a nice surprise, only to bad that the expansion part wasn't open yet. It seemed even more fun!
As for the Revolving Pulley coaster, for me it was actually the best one we did. We spun like crazy! But then again, what do you expect if you have 2 big guys like Karl and me on one side and only Scottish Steve on the other as counterweight.
The cardboard cash register isn't the only high-tech system they've got at the park. Remember on both coasters how a guy took pictures of riders (standing under the coaster track), then ran his A$$ off to the photo boot to upload them on the computer? Great way to get your body in shape!
Member of the Brussels Black Angels: BAFL's 2017 undefeated, national champions!
One of the reasons I wanted to do this set of trip reports was so that I wouldn't forget all of the little details that make trips memorable. Since it's been almost a year already, a lot of them are already fading. (In fact, I left for Tokyo 9 days from today, last year!) So it's good to hear from others on the trip to fill in the holes. Feel free to keep adding in your own reminiscences, everyone, even if you've been to the parks, but not on the TPR trip.
One thing I'm discovering is that in the midst of all the fun and dashing around on this trip, I managed to not get pictures of a lot of things I wish I had. At the time, I was expecting that I'd be able to see everyone else's pics, but others may not have cared about or remembered the same things I did. Something to remember for future trips. After all, one of the big advantages of having a digital camera is being able to take TONS of pics. Especially if you upload the pics to a laptop every day or so, like I do. (I've had a friend on another trip lose her camera on a coaster towards the end of a trip, and lose ALL of their pictures of the trip!) Still, it's weird to realize that I took 19,000 pictures on this trip (yes, you read that right) and am still missing lots of things I wish I had pictures of!
I don't actually remember riding any dark rides at Floraland. I'm not sure if that's just my memory going bad, with much of the trip a blur, or if I didn't ride any there. I know I didn't get any pictures of any. And I'd usually try to hit them up, since they're always unique. But there were a lot of great flat rides there, so I may have just run out of time. I remember thinking before we got there that we probably had too much time there, but it turned out that we could have used another hour or so.
And I'd completely forgotten about the unique "onride photo" system at the coaster there! Thanks for the reminder.
I was on the first TPR trip there and the only things I remember about the park was the Tagada was awesome. Not sure how someone didn't get seriously hurt. The ice slide was "cool" and we had to come back for the coaster because it was closed the first time we were there.
Day 19, part 2: People’s Park, Xinhua Park, and Chengdu.
(Note to those coming back to this TR after a while away, while I didn't post new updates during my new vacation: there's also a new update for Floraland park just above this one.)
After Floraland, it was time for a bit of credit whoring. We stopped in to two more small amusement parks inside two city parks in Chengdu: People’s Park and Xinhua Park. Neither park really stands out in my memory, since both were small and had exactly the same cloned coaster: a Golden Horse Space Car, a small kiddie coaster with a helix, similar to so many other kiddie coasters we’d ridden, and would continue to ride on the trip. For the record, the coasters were called Space Car and Outer Space Flying Car. For both amusement parks, we had to walk through the large city park, past some nice statues and people doing exercise, martial arts and dance routines, to get to the coasters. They seemed to be selling goldfish EVERYWHERE, whether it was in actual aquarium tanks, or makeshift ones in the middle of walkways, or even in small kiddie swimming pools! At Xinhua, one woman was making candy out of melted sugar, making cool lollipops with intricate shapes. Mostly, we just traipsed through the parks, got our credits, walked around a bit, and headed out.
After the two parks and dinner, we headed back to our hotel. Martin wasn’t feeling well, so a few of us headed out on a quest to find him some medicine (I gave him some to hold him over, since I always bring a pharmacy with me on trips, especially overseas) and an ATM. Along the way, we found an entire street full of pet stores, bursting with overcrowded pets, most of which were in cages out on the sidewalks. There were the usual goldfish everywhere, but some of the stores actually had some tropical fish. But the other animals were so overcrowded that I just wanted to buy them up just to set them free! I’m not an animal rights activist by any means, but seeing 6 puppies or kittens in a small rabbit cage makes me sad. Eventually, we were successful in our quests for both the ATM and the cold medicine, though the medicine took some working. I used my fine charades skills to mime someone coughing and sneezing to get the pharmacist to understand us! Strangely enough, in order to buy the medicine Martin had to fill out this sheet with all sorts of info about him, including I think his passport number and what hotel we were staying at. I’m not sure if that’s the case for all drugs, or just for foreigners. Or if they were concerned he’d be making crystal meth out of the drugs. (Martin looks a little shady that way!) But it was kind of weird.
They headed back to the hotel to rest, while I headed out to see more of the city. It was getting dark out, and I wanted a closer look at all of the bright neon lights on many Chengdu’s taller buildings. As we’d headed into the city the first night, we noted how almost every taller building was all lit up with many colors, making for a gorgeous skyline. Several cities we’d visit would have lots of nice lighting, but I think that Chengdu had the most. Even the smaller hotels or business buildings had some sort of flashing and changing light patterns. So, I headed toward the city’s center, just walking around and taking a ton of pictures. As I hit the main hub, it started to rain lightly. I was a big hungry, so I stopped at some local fried chicken place, and tried a few different very tasty pieces of chicken, which had different spices and seasonings on them. While there, some local kid was fascinated about this visiting white kid and struck up a conversation with me. Needless to say, he was surprised that I was in his city – and his country -- to ride roller coasters, but we talked for a while before I headed back to the hotel. He invited me out clubbing with his group of friends the next night, but there wasn’t really time for that at this point in the trip. Still it was a nice gesture.
I walked back to the hotel in the light rain and called it a night. This was actually some of the only rain we got on the trip. And none of it really interfered with our coastering very much. We were VERY lucky, considering that we were there during typhoon season. In fact, right about at this time, a typhoon was threatening Hong Kong and Southeastern China – right where we’d be heading soon. But luckily, it beat us there, and managed to suck most of the moisture out of the air!
A pond in the park on the way to the coaster at People's Park
It looks like we're headed in the right direction....
Getting a little culture on the way.
A nice landmark to something.
Now, this looks like something we might be looking for....
Yes, you're going to have to do some work now!
They sell goldfish EVERYWHERE in China. Even in the city park.
This is how crazy busy the coaster was before we got there. Soon the coaster would be full of adult Americans!
We've actually moved on to Xinhua Park, though you wouldn't know it from looking at the coaster. It's exactly the same model, with a slightly different paint job.
And more whores!
Bjorn seems kind of Zen about his whoriness!
Yeah, this didn't look too dangerous, right over the helix!
Elissa, it's not worth losing your head for the credit!
The lady making lollipops out of melted sugar. Neil's enjoying his!
And more goldfish. With a real fancy $2 filter that looks like a blender. Or maybe it IS a blender, and that's why the cocktails taste so weird?
Some cool building we saw on the road.
A park fountain on the way to the hotel.
This was the lovely view from our hotel room!
Let's get a nice closeup of those fine Chinese construction skills!
Even the stores have tons of lights and neon!
The view of the river from the bridge next to our hotel.
Anyone want some "purple romance"? LOL!
Once it was dark enough to kind of hide the collapsing building, the view of the city's neon lights was gorgeous! All of the building's lighting patterns were constantly changing.
Time to see some of those lights up close!
The TRON building.
The Sichuan Science and Technology Museum, which I only know because I zoomed in the picture!
Our hotel. By this late, many of the city's neon lights were off.
Our hotel's funky lobby.
This vase was in our hotel room. Classy!
Last edited by David H on Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:09 pm.
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