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Martin & Cheryl Do Jinan, China!


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Sun Tribe on Page 2!

 

Cheryl and I went to China in late-May/early-June. We stayed in Jinan, about 2 hours south of Beijing by high speed rail, and then we tried to hit all of the credits in the Jinan area. Jinan is the capital of the Shandong Province. There are some really nice parks in the area. Hope you enjoy the report.

 

First day was just settling in.

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We had to fly to Seattle first. That's UW below. See Husky Stadium? Looking for Gary Taylor, selling beer...

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It would appear that we had WiFi on this international flight.

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Delta is a blessing...and a curse.

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Like when your luggage doesn't arrive in China! Awesome.

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We couldn't understand it. We had a 5 hour layover in Seattle, and Cheryl's bag didn't make it out of New York, apparently.

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Finally, a real bed.

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These are in our hotel's closet. Just in case.

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Since our toiletries are in Cheryl's unrecovered luggage, I'm shopping for new a razor.

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This appears to be deodorant.

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I do not envy Cheryl's current shopping prospects. I think this is a top for running.

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Fortunately there are some amusements in the mall.

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High speed train to Jinan.

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Not bad.

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Jinan Train Station

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What it looks like to get a taxi at Jinan Train Station.

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A decent first meal at the Sheraton Jinan.

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The next morning, we went to Thousand Buddha Mountain. I didn't count a thousand, but there were quite a few.

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Temple and incense.

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And rides!

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Lots of kiddie flats spread around.

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And an alpine slide!

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See the sleds at the bottom of the shot. This was fun, but I prefer the coasters, because you can go faster, and there is something to lean back on on the vehicle. These sleds are not comfortable.

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Chairman Mao in black and white and Chairman Mao in color. We started climbing up these stairs for quite a while

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And here we are having conquered Thousand Buddha Mountain. Dig Cheryl's Chinese top.

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Next stop was the Baotu Springs, which is a really nice park with a system of paths and streams and pools. It really is gorgeous and my pictures don't do it justice.

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Connected to the spring system is Daming Lake. I assume the springs empty here. There are boat rides and such.

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And rides!

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Again, lots of kiddie flats, with a few adult thrills thrown in.

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And here's Three Loop Roller Coaster / 三环过山车

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It did not look like it had been operated for some time and there was a sign saying that it needed to be inspected, according to a friend who we sent a picture to.

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Locked and no sign of operator.

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I took some extra photos.

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First credit missed.

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Here's another adult ride, a skyscraper. Didn't appear to be going.

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You lost your money through a hole in your pocket? We're taking you in.

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Three handle meat

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Time to shop for Cheryl's wardrobe at Chinese Walmart

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Socks next to the moving walkway

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And bulk condoms! Not hidden away from kids in a special section. Tomorrow: Euro Park!

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Yes, I remember following the Lost Luggage Saga, as well--sorry about that, Cheryl. Was the WalMart loaded with American-made products?

 

I rather enjoyed walking through some of the Chinese city parks during the last TPR trip. Many of them were quite lovely; the coasters in them, well not so much.

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Thanks for the love, guys!

 

Day 2 brought us to a major new park that opened just last year, Europark! It's just to the Northwest of Jinan. It was huge, so this is a long report. Enjoy!

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This was a billboard for the park that we saw in the city during our city sightseeing first day.

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On the way out there, we saw this for a sister marine park, which is apparently nearby. I had seen it on the maps but we didn't plan to go there.

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In the distance.

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And there is the hugely grandiose entrance arch.

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Ticket prices.

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Logos in the queue, sort of like a real theme park, with cute mascots that have mushroom antennae!

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RMB220 came to USD$36 at the time! Should be pretty good.

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Quite the entrance.

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Our driver took our photo on the way out later.

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This is the arch from inside.

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Have to show you some of the detail on the inside....

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Looks like they spent a little money maybe.

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Pretty cool.

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This is the immediate view walking in the gate. The train station is just inside, like another park we all know.

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Random gazebo.

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Here's main street, also hearkening to a familiar place, but here's the random Chinese thing. See that green thing at the bottom?

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It's a rabbit.

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For some reason, they have a rabbit baking in the sun on Main Street. Wtf? Springtime? It was early June.

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Quick bathroom break to remind us that we're in Asia.

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It's actually a sweeping view, which makes sense because the place is huge with really long sightlines.

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Giant plaza with fountain.

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Looking back at "Main Street"

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Heading counterclockwise to the right like a good theme park lemming, the first credit is Spinning Coaster.

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"Please don't close to" Why does this never get old?

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Motor Coaster was a knockoff of a Vekoma boosterbike. It opened a bit later and we came back. I wished we hadn't.

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We watched some testing in the morning. This was the most rattly head destroyer bike coaster I've ever been on.

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I didn't get good photos of the structure but did get some video of the launches. This is a screen grab. Utter rubbish.

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Here was the gate to the "Mine Coaster"

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This one wasn't so bad.

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Relatively harmless.

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I actually have a better pic later from across the park.

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Does this remind you of anything?

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This perhaps? We didn't ride the raft ride. For all of the effort put into the front gate, you would think they would try to be a little more creative.

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As I said, some sweeping sight lines across the park. Giant Chinese Frisbee.

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This building had some sort of large sim ride.

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We walked into Animal Crisis and the theming was all about eco-disaster and other disasters. We just didn't want to wait so we turned around.

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Crazy Skateboard was the only coaster that was down the whole day.

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This was the shoot-the-chute entrance.

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And the ride.

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Speaking of head rattling...

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This SLC knockoff was awful. Cheryl got knocked around pretty badly.

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Twister.

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Another nice view with a starflyer and, I think, a carousel, and the castle.

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Here's another credit

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We thank these ladies for allowing us to ride...

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Children Coaster

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Hot day.

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There was a big building in the very back of the park and this flat was outside of it.

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Inside was this large area

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And this, White Horse Coaster.

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White Horse Coaster in action.

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The moment you've all been waiting for: Battle of Blue Fire

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Yes, there is a Mack Blue Fire clone here!

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I have to say, it's a great ride, especially after all of the knockoffs.

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I hadn't been on blue fire Megacoaster since the year it opened in Germany at Europa Park.

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This doesn't have the same heart-rate monitor or much in the way of theming, but it's still a solid ride for a regional Chinese park.

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Before I forget, this is that big building with White Horse Coaster.

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And here are happy Battle of Blue Fire riders.

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Continuing our counter-clockwise walk, this building comes next (although I'm shooting from the "wrong" side of the building)

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Global Journey?

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Map of the world gave it away.

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See the seats? It's a terrible CGI "Soarin'" ripoff. Cheryl didn't think it was that bad but I hated it.

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Giant Disko

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Big theming and a Top Spin

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Another huge building.

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This holds Galaxy Coaster

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An indoor that looks like this. Zero theming or effects, just darkness and spinning.

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Here is a view across the park of the Mine Coaster.

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Think we're done? No, there's a zoo!

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Why No Jumping?

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'Cause there are tigers!

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And peacocks.

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And another tiger!

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And bears!

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And camels. Bactrian or Dromedary? I know.

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We actually entered the castle from the rear.

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And found this bizarre empty space. I guess perfect for a banquet? Or just weird.

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I love trains, so we waited forever for the train. Finally the train arrived.

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Then the train took forever to leave, and the jaunty train music started driving me crazy. And then the train moved at about 5 mph. We got off at the first stop.

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Back through the main entrance gate to find our driver.

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We asked him to take us to "xiao long bao" and he brought us here.

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It was a most excellent food street and we found tons of good things to try. My selfies with food came out terribly because my lens was dirty.

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This stall sold penis-shaped cakes on a stick and was surrounded by giggling teenage girls.

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The highlight of my evening: A dessert of sticky rice, pineapple, and some tart-sweet cranberry or plum stuff. Delicious. My blood sugar went through the roof. Hope you enjoyed Day 2!

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Great report so far! Some random comments...

 

Pretty sure this Europark is the next park on the Disney Lawyer's radar! Castle, Main Street, Font, Train, etc. Although I wonder about the rabbit as well...was it in front of a restaurant?

 

I had the same question as Chuck...did Chinese Walmart sell all American products? Poor Cheryl, sometimes lost/delayed luggage is really a mystery. I'll never forget the time we arrived in PHL with a 1.5 year old KT only to be told "Sorry, your gate checked stroller didn't make it on the plane." How the hell do you forget a gate checked item when it's sitting in the jetway!!!!

 

Love your comment about the love/hate relationship with Delta...it's like a drug you can't quit.

 

You should have brought those Chinese smoke masks with you outside to protect you from the air!

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Great report so far! Some random comments...

 

Pretty sure this Europark is the next park on the Disney Lawyer's radar! Castle, Main Street, Font, Train, etc. Although I wonder about the rabbit as well...was it in front of a restaurant?

 

I had the same question as Chuck...did Chinese Walmart sell all American products? Poor Cheryl, sometimes lost/delayed luggage is really a mystery. I'll never forget the time we arrived in PHL with a 1.5 year old KT only to be told "Sorry, your gate checked stroller didn't make it on the plane." How the hell do you forget a gate checked item when it's sitting in the jetway!!!!

 

Love your comment about the love/hate relationship with Delta...it's like a drug you can't quit.

 

You should have brought those Chinese smoke masks with you outside to protect you from the air!

 

Yeah, the font on the train? The bear? lol

 

Cheryl maintained her calm regarding the luggage. I had the meltdown instead, of course.

 

And yes, the air was funky, as expected. No surprise that warehouse blew sky high!

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Sorry for the delay between updates but school has started and I sometimes have to work on my actual job.

 

Our next day started out iffy and ended really well with the discovery of an incredible theme park, Sun Tribe. There's only a single coaster and there aren't a ton of rides, but the park had a lot to see.

 

But first we had to get 2 other parks out of the way. I like adding to rcdb when I can so we first went to some out of the way parks. The first had not yet opened its gates, and the second had seen better days.

 

Enjoy the report.

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This was our view from our hotel room. This is facing west, and the hotel is at the western edge of the city of Jinan.

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Driving to the first park, I noticed a few of these ghost towns. They're built up, but there are no windows in the buildings.

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Here's our route for today. The first park is in the SW and then we'll cut east to hit the other two. The green area in the east is Mount Tai, which I'll mention again below.

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Our driver had trouble finding the first park but I was able to navigate with Google Maps!

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I learned to say "turn left" and "turn right" in Mandarin pretty fast.

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The driver couldn't find it because it's not open yet. Dream Star Park is opening 2015 according to rcdb. You can see that the plaza paving stones aren't finished.

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There was no activity whatsoever. It's unfinished and no one was working on it.

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The only person on site was a security guard in that booth. Our driver talked to him but neither of them spoke English. It was easy enough to get the message though.

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There is a credit.

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Cheryl looks longingly at the rides she will not ride today. So you'll see some of these pictures on rcdb now. Woo hoo.

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The next park is called Taishan Tianting Paradise / 泰山天挺乐园 and it's near Mount Tai, which is one of China's "Five Great Mountains" and was a place to which emperors made pilgrimages. The area has a city and is popular with tourists. We didn't do any of the mountain hikes that are popular. I think Tai Shan means Tai Mountain.

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Here's the front gate.

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It was empty. It's seen better days.

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First stop.

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There was some natural beauty and this was the first glimpse of that. Complete with China's famous cities that have been built for people who don't want to move to them.

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Lots of kiddy flats. I won't bore you with them.

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But I will bore you with this powered coaster.

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With a great name that can now be found on rcdb.

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The woman in the booth seemed pleasantly surprised that she actually had some clients today.

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Wondering what this meant, we climbed up a big hill.

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And found this weird rocket car looking thing. Those cracks in the concrete inspired confidence.

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Apparently you shoot down these cables.

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This did not look very safe.

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Fortunately, there didn't seem to be anyone to operate it.

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But the top of the hill had some decent views of the surroundings, including the empty buildings.

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There was this nice lake.

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And I think that's the Tai Mountain area. Anyway, we decided to move on to the next park. We had no idea what to expect.

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Little did we know that we'd come to one of the nicest Chinese theme parks we had seen up to that point.

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The Sun Tribe.

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We had no idea what it was about, but it had great theming in the parking lot. We also discovered at the booth that there was an off-season sale going on so the admission was really cheap. We did like visiting at this time of year (early June), because it seemed that students were still in school and the weather wasn't too too hot. Of course I forgot to take a picture of the price board. You cross a kind of moat along a path.

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This giant figure guards the entrance and you then go through this mountain tunnel...

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and come out on this side.

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After you come out, you're at this huge, themed plaza.

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Apparently Sun Tribe is themed to the early human history of this area.

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The province has an early role in ancient Chinese civilization.

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We assumed that these scenes represented ancient myths and such.

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It was beautiful, and it was huge, and we had just entered the park.

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Huge tracts of land were in several directions.

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And it was filled with sculpture and such. This is just a taste.

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And theming.

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It took us a while to actually bump into a ride.

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But it was mostly this kiddie stuff, albeit well-themed.

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We walked by a giant Zorb hill, but we didn't see anyone zorbing. There were not a ton of guests around us.

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We entered an area that had some small shows and crafts. Those giant puppet things were for a show called: Ghost Wrestling (Emperor War Human God). The players were just sitting around in plain sight.

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We didn't linger to see if a show would start.

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Sweet.

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We entered another sector of the park that had another huge square.

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Random Chinese high school band. They weren't bad.

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Top Spin (probably a knock off), but not operating. Great theming. We saw similar Top Spin theming on the TPR China Trip in 2012, but the giant beast was a green ogre-type thing.

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There is one credit here, a Golden Horse Moto Coaster called Bull Fight in the Sky. I didn't know motorcycle bulls were a thing.

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If memory serves, this was crap, but not as crappy as the Booster Bike knockoff at Quancheng Europark.

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There's a good pic of the coaster and the Top Spin.

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I forgot what that was, but excellent theming again.

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How about this great shoot-the-chutes?

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This building was closed for construction, but another theming win.

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Okay, animal rights activists, you might want to look away. The translation was "Pig Olympics", or "Sports Meet of Piggies".

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See the racing pigs. Okay, we've had greased pig contests here in America. But check out that little house and the little moat that runs from it.

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The show started innocently enough with a doggie show. Cute.

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Then the pig races began. They go through various obstacles around a track, chased by a guy. Each time around, he changes the obstacles a bit.

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But on the 3rd and last go-around, the piggies are herded on top of the little house, and they're forced to jump. It was like a train wreck where you couldn't look away. The crowd absolutely loved it. You had to feel sorry for these pigs. Obviously they do this several times a day, but every time you could see that they did not want to jump. For one thing, pigs have shitty eyesight, so they can't even see where they're falling. They are not going voluntarily. They either fall off or they get pushed or they're running from the stick.

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He poked them and whapped them with his stick, pushed with his foot, and even kicked one off the house. Crowd loved it. The Shamu protesters should focus on this for a minute. SeaWorld treats its animals like kings in comparison. This is inhumane. I took a video but never posted it on YouTube because I was afraid of starting an international incident. An animal activist sees this, and I lose my Chinese visa when it goes viral. But it's an interesting illustration of differences in values across cultures!

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There was this really cute parade with a cartoonish depiction of the early pre-historic culture. I was filming and the performers were giving me shy smiles. They seemed a little embarrassed.

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Especially these guys, who were clearly workmen and gardeners and mechanics, all required to put on goofy costumes and do the parade twice a day.

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It was funny to see all of the parade floats in an openly visible storage area less than an hour later.

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This funny scene had to be investigated.

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Eventually we found the ride entrance, and it was great. The ponchos came with little leggings too. This was like a five minute raft ride that went really fast. It was awesome. Had to buy the on-ride photo. I should post the video. Robb, want it?

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This is the part right after that scene. It was fun.

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Again, good theming, even for just a bumper boat ride.

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We didn't ride the drop tower, but there were big attractions here and there.

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Well, there's the exit, through the longest and windiest gift shop area I've ever been through. Thanks for visiting Sun Tribe with us!

Edited by milst1
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Yeah, I think we're going to need to see the peeing log flume video! I hope you sang "We are on a peeing log flume" the whole way around.

 

I believe we saw that Flying Wing Glider Ride at some sketchy park on the 2008 China Trip. I also think some of our people were dumb enough to do it. The amount of half or nearly done construction in the country is scary. I wonder if that park will ever actually be finished or if it will just sit like so many ghost cities/towns/parks.

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