Friday saw the three of us heading out to Splendid China together. Let's face it, when you're only in China for a few days it pays to pack it in . We took the 30 minute bus ride, which gave Dave an opportunity to see a bit of the city, and paid the 120 RMB (AU$20) each to get into the park. Since we've blogged about Splendid China before I won't bore you with a blow-by-blow account of what's there to see, you can read about it here.
Once inside we found ourselves in a veritable sea of little Chinese school kids, each with a teacher trying to bring some order to the chaos. The instructions to the kids seemed universal - form a line and grab the loop on the top of the backpack of the kid in front. We saw these kids all over the place. Whilst we were watching a Tibetan performance they were standing up in the front to see, but we could see straight over the tops of their heads whilst we were still sitting down.
Some of the school kids were quite unruly, running back and forth through the scale models, causing some occasional damage as they went. At another point in the day we were beseeched by some older school kids, who obviously had English assignments to complete. Gail not-too-subtly looked at their book to see their list of questions and then proceeded to lead them on in getting the right answers as efficiently as possible. The whole morning was a continuous string of "Hello's" from all the school kids.
When you first enter Splendid China you are actually in the China Cultural and Folk village part. We were greeted with people doing a musical dance with many drums and cymbals. This was followed by a cool display of brightly-coloured folks on stilts. If you click the picture above you should get a short video (10.7MB). There was this really short guy playing one of those Chinese kazoo-style instruments as well as other musicians.
The morning was spent looking around at all the miniature displays. It's still impressive the amount of effort that has been put into manufacturing all the replica models. There's just hundreds of miniatures and thousands upon thousands of details. In many cases they even use sculpted bonsai trees to keep the scale correct. Speaking of keeping scale, the actual scale that the models are built to seems to vary for every item. This messes with size perspectives somewhat. The accuracy and the detail of the natural formations impresses, too. There are gorges, the stone forest, waterfalls and mountains, all faithfully reproduced in miniature.
Lunch was the usual fare, where they still don't trust the shop owners with the money. The sequence is: 1) Choose your dish, 2) get a ticket from the store for that meal and take it to the money booth, 3) pay for your meal and get a meal voucher, 4) return the voucher to the store where you ordered your meal, and 5) sit down and wait for the food vendor to bring you your meal.
We spent the afternoon looking around through the Chinese Cultural and Folk Village half of the park. Here there are representations from most of the minority groups in China. There's also a few other models as well as the usual small entertainment spots. We made it back to the main arena just in time for the Mongolian war display, which included some very skilful horsemanship, along with some extremely loud PA and a good dose of pyrotechnics. Good fun. Happy and tired we took the Metro back home, where we had home-made pizzas for tea and put our feet up. Now to wait for the arrival of our next two guests!