Sunday, April 29, 2012

Adventures in an Adventure Park

I have to be honest. I've somewhat lost interest in blogging. I'm not a natural writer, nor do I enjoy it particularly. Besides, lately I've been more than filling my quota of it, helping Jason with his scholarship and bursary application letters for Law School. Still, I know that, if for no other purpose than to document our travel memories for years to come, to come back and read about our adventures in fifty years when we're old and have nothing better to do, then I should do it. With my first Master's and AQ courses starting up in a few weeks, I know I'll have my hands full. So it's now or never. Here's my first attempt at attacking the backlog of posts Jason and I are faced with due to our excessive procrastination. Let me take you back to a warmer than average mid-February Saturday...

 We've mentioned numerous times in the past how generous our Korean co-teachers are. Here's another great example. As a 'thank you' gift for Jason's Christmas presents to one of his co-teachers, she offered him two free tickets to what is probably the largest amusement park in Seoul, Lotte World (not bad of a deal in exchange for a Starbucks mug). We were thrilled to be able to enjoy it for free, since we were planning on checking it out eventually.

The tickets were promotions, probably aimed at boosting poor winter time attendance at the venue, which means they expired in early March. With activities planned for most of our weekends, we had no time to waste. We decided to spend the afternoon at the half-indoor, half-outdoor play palace, which caters primarily to families and serves as a weekend hangout for middle-schoolers.

The site was actually pretty impressive, with a few large roller-coasters outside (yes, they were running in February) and a decent amount of indoor space for rainy days. Thankfully though, we chose a nice, sunny winter day and were able to enjoy a good number of outdoor attractions.

Line-ups in Korea are notoriously long, so we decided to hit up one of the larger rides first to get it out of the way. A few years ago, one rider fell out of his seat on Atlantis, as we learned later, and died. Jason had assured me that this would be a 'baby' ride and a good way to start off the day, and gave me the usual pep talk thing he does when he knows I'm scared sh*tless of doing something.

'You'll see, it'll be fun... If you don't do it you'll regret it... Look at the four year olds in the line up: if they can do it, you can too!'

Argh. Fine. I HATE rollercoasters. In highschool I truly tried to convince myself that I was crazy about them, forcing myself to ride them against all intuitive voices inside me that were screaming 'DON'T DO IT! YOU HATE THESE THINGS! WHY WOULD YOU PUT YOURSELF THROUGH IT?'. I would get zero thrill, zero fun out of it. Simply put, it was hell. Nowadays, I feel much the same. Don't get me wrong, however. I do enjoy the sense of accomplishment that I get from feeling fearful and hesitant, then just doing it anyways. Great examples: zip lining in Mexico (I had a panic attack climbing up the ramp), skiing down a double black diamond ski hill alongside moguls (I had cheerleaders urging me on from the bottom), repelling down rocks in Korea (I was swearing through tears the entire time).

Not such a great example: riding Atlantis. Honestly, thrill rides do not provide me with any feelings of satisfaction whatsoever. I walk off feeling nauseous, headache-y, with irritated vocal chords and an elevated blood pressure. BUT, being the reasonable wife that I am, I agreed to accompany my thrill-seeking husband on this, just this once. He assured me that he would not bother me for the rest of the day, as long as I did this one ride with him. So I agreed, laughing at the sign that advised passengers to stretch before taking a seat, and upon disembarking and noticing that I had a hip cramp, wishing I had followed those instructions. Still, I suffered through, survived, and hope to never have to do it again. Of course, Jason went on to seek bigger, better coasters, but he held true to his word and didn't bother me to do them with him.

Later that afternoon we agreed on some more attractive rides (a.k.a. the ones meant for kids, as Jason would put it) and a balloon ride around the indoor park, which was quite interesting, actually. After sunset, we made our way down to the skating rink, where we rented old, blue, half hockey half figure skates, and attempted to join the young Korean couples for a romantic stroll around the rink. I'm pretty sure we were the only ones who actually had any skill at it; the overload of people wiping out right in front of us, cutting corners, losing control was a little overwhelming. At one point, some guy attempting to break his fall grabbed Jason's arm - he managed to stay up - and apologized profusely afterwards. It was hilarious. This was surely not a Canadian ice skating experience, but enjoyable nonetheless, especially considering it would be our only such opportunity this year.

All things considered, Lotte World is one of those places you only need to visit once. It was a great fun filled afternoon, and it was free. Although I'm not sure it would have been worth paying for, but that's my opinion of course.

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