This year J-Dawg Jammyfresh’s birthday was celebrated in two parts. Friday, her real birthday, we went to a fine dinner of raw fish and other Japanese cuisine at an exquisitely designed restaurant named Shintori. If I were to define “Shintori,” it would be a place that serves delicious food. If my dictionary application were to define “Shunter,” it would be a small locomotive used for shunting. Our dinner was from the set menu: six small courses that ran from soups to sashimi, shrimp jelly to beef, and everything in between. The meal was not cheap at 220RMB($32) per person, plus drinks. Afterward, we walked home along a fifty minute route that passed by bustling shops, road construction, and subway construction.
Part two involved a trip with friends to Jin Jiang Action Park, a lot of amusements sandwiched between the corner of two highways and a sea of new residential towers. On the subway, we overshot our stop. We had to navigate the unclear, ancient feeling subway station to the other side and catch a train northward. The Jin Jiang Park station dumped us under towering elevated highways. The street was loud and packed with illegal vendors selling head bands, jewelry, and stuffed animals. More exotic vendors sold cages of bunnies, guinea pigs, and baby turtles. Various street food was for sale, including skewers that the vendor was pressing to the grill with his hand on a circular piece of bread. Oh the flavors on that hand!
To get to the park from the station, we walked along the highway and into a complicated tunnel system used only for pedestrians and people on two wheels. I haven’t seen other tunnels like this in town, though certainly they exist. Underground, it was fun to imagine that the whole city was populated by scooter riding mole people.
Silly Santa Fe style office tower.
J. discussing architecture over smoothies.
Lights at an intersection.
Packed Line 1 subway car.
One station past Jin Jiang. It was like another city out there.
Ramp to the scooter and bike underpass tunnel.
The scooter and bike only underpass.
Tickets to the park were a little confusing. We didn’t know at the time, but apparently there are two classes of rides at the park. You can also buy tickets to most of the rides individually. Not sure what to do, we bought the 80RMB($12) option that allowed for six rides each.
Inside the park it felt like Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk or Santa Monica Pier, only instead of gang bangers it was all Chinese people. I was worried that the place would be full of rusty rides crashing all around us, but everything seemed to be in top shape. I don’t know why all rides look the same all over the world, but they do. There must be an international standard for amusement.
The rainbow gates to Jin Jiang Action Park.
The crossing elevated highways near the entrance.
Pirate Ship ride sign.
The hilarious moto GP coaster.
The coaster and apartment towers.
Midway game involving throwing bags at pale beatnik children.
Spinning racers and swings.
White people enjoying the park.
Haibo and his flowery gate.
Chasing daylight, our first stop was the massive ferris wheel. We discovered that it was one of the few rides in the park that needed a separate ticket. 20RMB later and we were floating around the sky in a small, air-conditioned cabin. Despite the smudged windows and foggy early evening light, the view from the top was scary and expansive.
Enormous ferris wheel.
Ferris wheels cars dripping air conditioning water.
The nerve center of the wheel. Jars of tea and a man reading a paper.
Housing complex seen from above.
No shortage of apartments in this part of town.
D. and A.
The view of the park from the top of the ferris wheel.
After sunset, the lines started getting long. We waited with the huddled masses to ride a short loop coaster. It was the first time I had ridden a loop. Luckily, the ride was short. Up the track the train ascended, then backward through the loop and up the other side for a moment of weightlessness before plunging through the loop again.
More white people.
Night falls on Action Park.
E., H., and A about to board the looping coaster.
Spinning ride and coaster loop.
Lonely looking pair on the spider ride.
Awesome Space Travelers = lots of spinning and time upside down. It was sickening to watch.
Some other rides we went on included another fun coaster where you sat on stubby motorbikes, a fun house train, a trip on a circular raft through rapids, and bumper cars. D. and I sat out while the rest of the group went on a certain vomit spinning thing and some derrick that propelled you into the air.
Horror House. Waiting in line was a noisy experience. “Bam! Bam! Bam!” went the metal walls. Cackle. Scream. For some reason, there were two nude female mannequins inside, perhaps to cover both “horror house” meanings.
The slamming exit doors.
Tree monster with crow!
Face on cart!
Erotic and confident devil stirring a cauldron!
Inside the Horror House. Exactly.
Restaurant advertising boiled chicken with head.
Waiting in line for a coaster.
This frog garbage can was up to something.
People watching was half the fun. Some people had severe breakdowns after the rides. Women had to be lifted from the coaster seat. People stumbled about. Some were crying. Others looked like all the blood had drained from their bodies. I imagine that many of these people were riding a coaster for the first time, and that the speed and g-forces were a new and equilibrium upsetting experience.
Four prepare to liftoff.
After the park, we took the subway back into the French Concession and had a late dinner of Taiwanese cuisine at Charmant.
It was a long and amusing Saturday. Happy birthday J.