Friday, October 17, 2008


A teacher who works at the school decided to organize a Canadian Thanksgiving event for teachers and their families at "Kingdom of Discovery". I have heard this place touted as "China's Disneyland" but after visiting, I doubt the comparison... except for the price. At first, it looked very promising...Even though we were only allowed to come from 2pm-5pm, all the rides were included in the entrance fee, and kids were free! Better than the Saanich Fair! So we began to look for suitable rides for the kids. After walking around for a while and taking pictures of the typical theme park rides (roller coasters; boat-that-swings-you-all-the-way-around; ride-that-spins-you-in-three-dimensions-till-you're-sick) we realized that the kids were too small for any of the main attractions so we set off to find a "kiddie" area. We found it easily enough right next to a live show that promised crazy stunts and action. We thought we would take this in for a minute having heard that there were some good motorcycle stunts lined up. Well, it turned out the show was a bunch of Russian "actors" shooting round after round of blanks at each other and intermittently engaging in hand to hand combat to a miss-timed soundtrack of "whams!" and "Baps!". The kids don't even know what the purpose of a gun is (yep, they're sheltered) so they were bored so we moved on.

The kid area there looked pretty good. There was a large two floor carousel, bumper cars and a large play area with climbing equipment and slides. The girls wanted to go on the carousel first so we lined up behind about 50 people... shouldn't take long, we thought, it was pretty big. Well, after the thing started and stopped twice, we realized the line wasn't moving very fast because they were only filling up about a third of the seats on the ride. It didn't make any sense until we took better notice of the fair-goers eagerly waiting their turn to go up and down and spin around on the carousel... they were ALL adults!!!!. I guess there was some sort of weight restriction on it so they couldn't fill it up (I guess the manufacturers weren't aware that there would be no children on a ride built for children). We finally had our turn and it was well worth it for Lily and Zoe. I kind of felt sick after. Rides have never been my thing.

We decided to try the bumper cars next... the line up was long... but the kids were willing to wait. As we were getting ready to que up, an employee of the area came up and motioned toward Braden indicating that he was was too little for bumper cars. "Ha, ha, no kidding" we all laughed and continued lining up. She waved her hands again and motioned our way again shaking her head. Lily and Zoe were not big enough for bumper cars! Sure enough, we surveyed the line and there was not one child in line. Apparently, in China, bumper cars are adults only. Oh well, we told the girls, lets go to the climbing area.

We crossed back past the carousel (yep, adults still waiting to ride horses) and noticed the play area had gone dark. Kyle read the sign blocking the door, "Closed at 3:00". It was 3:10! Darn that carousel line-up!!!!!. We continued our walk around the park and noticed very quickly that all the rides and entertainment suitable for kids under the height restriction closed at 3:00, or were broken, or were just "game over" as one lady told us. We lined up for one more ride that took people up 100 feet to the top of a look out tower in little airplanes to scope out the countryside. There were only a handful of people in line so I was willing to for-go my fear of heights to get my kids some entertainment. The lady handling the ride and the microphone seemed to be saying something over and over to the people sitting way up above us in the little metal airplanes. Another operator came up to us and ushered everyone out of line "Huai-le" she said with a charming smile, which means "broken". The people were stuck up there!!!!!!! Ok, I had had enough "rides" for one day. It was almost 5:00 anyway, time for Thanksgiving dinner...

They seated everyone (about 100 teachers and kids) in this incredible Hall with huge wooden chairs and tables. It was like a castle. There was food being laid out buffet style everywhere, western and eastern cuisine with a big fat turkey being carved. We gave thanks. We were all very happy. We ate and ate and ate. There was even a huge slab of pure chocolate for Lily.... It didn't matter anymore that we hadn't been on any rides; it didn't matter when the Russian Karaoke singer dressed like Captain America with bling came out to sing Eric Clapton songs; It didn't even matter when the half dressed belly dancer came out to shake herself at all the children (Lily and Zoe did not call her a princess) and married men that were there (don't ask!). We all felt extremely Canadian and thankful anyway. - Kelley

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