Next on the agenda was a trip to a theme park – a world of fun rides, ice cream and candy floss, tacky souvenir shops and wide-eyed kids. Normally I’d rather have a root canal than visit such a place of horror but, having no choice, I decided to make the best of it.It was bad enough taking a chairlift which swept through the park – remember the temperature was well below zero. Waiting time: 15 minutes. “Fun” time: 3 minutes. Things got even worse on the “Amazon Ride” (waiting time: 35 minutes). For this ride one sat on a sort of raft and then hurtled downstream over rapids and close to waterfalls with the ice-cold water sloshing up from below. To the great amusement of the students I was with I got comprehensively soaked. Afterwards I took refuge in a souvenir shop to warm up and dry off a little.
Forever the masochist I then tried sliding down a snowy slope sitting on a miniature inflatable paddling pool. Oh, the joys of having one’s shoes fill up with snow as one tries to control the speed! Even greater the joy as the snow begins to melt! (Actually, it was great fun, so I went twice.)
I also enjoyed what might loosely be called a cultural show. Dancers and drummers in traditional Korean dress. It was very much aimed at the young children, but I like to think I’m still young at heart myself. There was lots of dragging unsuspecting youngsters from the audience to join in, and of throwing small gifts into the crowd. I managed to catch a foam rubber ball, which I gave to a wide-eyed toddler next to me. (I could almost hear her think “why is this strange, white-skinned stranger with an enormous nose giving me his prize?”)
At one point there was a lion dance with two lions. Then a third lion joined in, which surprised the first two lions. The third lion then … how can I put this delicately? … pooped. One of the dancers then grabbed the incontinent lion’s coat which came off, revealing the beast to be … a golden pig! (It’s currently the year of the golden pig.) The miscreant beast was then chased unceremoniously off stage.
And then it was back to the coach, to its warm embrace.