$2 park


This post was originally published in 2007
It may contain stale & outdated information. Or it may have grown more awesome with age, like the author.

Ok here is the post about the park, I've ranted enough about .Mac, I no longer feel like vomiting into an envelope and mailing it to them. As one does in China, we took the bus to the park. The bus wasn't hellishly crowded this time, which was a nice change. I amused myself by memorizing the announcement, which is repeated after every stop. Chinese: "车辆起步请拉好扶手。上车请主动投币。不设另找。请给需要帮助的乘客让个座,谢谢。" In English it would be: "When the bus starts moving, hold on. When boarding the bus, pay the fare. Don't forget your things when you get off the bus. If there are old or sick people aboard, give them your seat. Thanks." So at the park we finally arrived. Actually, the bus stop was miles away from the park entrance. We had to walk beside the park for some time before finding the entrance. Before we paid, I didn't understand why the park has such a forboding wall surrounding it. The all comes complete with iron spikes. I remember thinking that I wouldn't find it difficult to scale, considering my incredible agility. At the park entrance there were a few knots of street merchants. We bought a kite from the one who yelled at us first, as we respected his enthusiasm. We bought the "vampire" kite, which is not a vampire at all, in fact it is a bat. A bat that looks as if it was assembled by a blind child. Good thing attention to detail doesn't mean squat when the item under examination is sixty meters above. He even gave us a spool of string for free. The park ticket cost $2. The park wasn't packed, but by New Zealand standards it was quite crowded. There were about three different couples having wedding photos taken that I saw. I'd say the park is a few hectares*, and has a lake in the center. There were a few boats floating around the lake, which looked like fun. We walked around for awhile, until that became boring. When it did, I demanded to be allowed to "ride the boats". We started to circumnavigate the lake, certain that we'd find the boat rental shack somewhere. Before that we found a bunch of people fishing. I couldn't really believe my eyes, people fishing in the centre of Shanghai! There were quite a lot of them too, given the small partition they were fishing in. It didn't take long for me to realise that the fish they were trying to catch had been introduced to this part of the lake. Turns out that fishing is free, but taking a fish home is 8元/gram. Throwing the caught fish back is not allowed, anyone convicted of this crime is required to pay a fine. I took some photos of the anglers. A short walk later and we had found the boat rental shack. Yvonne read the sign quickly, and I read the prices, because they all use the same numerals as us for numbers, unless one is in a fancy place, in which both Chinese and arabic numerals are used. I don't know why. The prices were 25元 or 40元. Before actually reading all of the sign, we agreed on the 25元 boat. Yvonne talked and paid the money, and we stepped onto the dock. The "dock master" took our ticket and led us past the nice looking boats to an area populated by blue pedal driven ones. It was not quite what we'd expected, but we didn't complain. Pedaling the boat around the lake was quite fun, not totally gay like it sounds. The main reason it wasn't totally gay was that we were a heterosexual couple. I quickly realised that my pants were too tight, as my testicles began to ache. I solved this by undoing both the button and the fly, and pulling them down a little bit. This made me much more comfortable. Pedaling at a comfortable pace caused the boat to travel slightly faster than the more expensive, electric boats. As the lake was quite large, especially from the perspective of one sitting in a pedal-powered boat, I set my phone alarm so that we'd have plenty of time to get back to the dock before our hour was up. This turned out to be an excellent idea, as Yvonne, the captain, was unable to pilot the boat in a straight line. Instead we'd travel in a series of 'S' shapes. I think she did this on purpose because I have been eating too much lately. Returned boat, recovered bond. Bored of the park now, we headed to KFC. On the way to KFC we passed a kid carrying a rabbit in a tiny cage. I took photos so I could give animal rights activists another whine item. The kid obviously loved his pet, and was very cute. Yvonne asked him what the rabbit's name was, and the kid said it didn't have one. Yvonne suggested he call it "rabbit", and the kid nodded his head. I thought it was a good name. The rabbit-sized cage was another thing one wouldn't see in New Zealand. Oh the joys of China. KFC in China, like I've said before, is quite a different beast. For NZ$10 we were able to buy the equivalent of two burgers, chips, a potato & gravy, another side, and a pepsi. I think that lot would come to about NZ$20 if purchased from one of the filthy New Zealand stores. Because we're in China though, the meals are also very different. I had a combo which consisted of: A "twister" as they like to call them (burrito style wrap), that was some strange flavour entitled "Beijing Sauce", three fish ... things, two chicken nibbles and a drink. Yvonne had five chicken wings, some soup and a strange pudding tart thing that I don't like very much. While we were eating a dog came into the shop, which obviously made the manager's day. There was a lot of yelling and chasing before it was expelled. It must have fled into KFC in an effort to escape the crazies outside singing their heinous christmas carols. Yes, they have christmas carols in China, and yes, they are just as terrible as the New Zealand ones. I really hate christmas carols. KFC being eaten, we walked to the Grandma's house, where dinner was to be had later that night. Dinner was fun, I was given beer. According to Yvonne, I am an alcoholic, therefore having dinner with her family is the highlight of my trip, as I at dinner I am given beer. I managed to speak with the relatives somewhat successfully this time, as I am no longer afraid they will challenge me to a duel or whatever. Actually I just wasn't very confident before, as they all speak very swift Shanghainese, making my attempts at conversation feel like I am butting in, since I can't understand what their conversation is about. I'm still not very confident, but they don't seem to get angry when I try to talk to them, so I try more often. I've managed to crack a few jokes, but as they have to be explained afterwards in fine detail, none of them have been successful yet. I still think they're funny though, which is the main thing. Honestly we really are going to the big fish tank tomorrow, so I'll have some awesome pictures of fish to upload tomorrow night. *I don't have any idea how big a hectare is. What I mean is: "the park was pretty big".
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