Monday, March 5, 2007

No Really, What do YOU Think?

Yes, a new format. I know what I think. What do you think?

And since I really don't want to talk about it, here are other things I'll blather on about. Just so I can ignore the elephant in the room.
Skyline Chili. The Valentine's gift I ordered for Ian came way late. But we opened up a can of Skyline chili, poured it over some spaghetti, topped it with shredded cheddar and oyster crackers and chowed down. The boys were baffled by it. Rebecca didn't know if she liked it or not. Katherine ate it because she eats everything. Next time, some beans and chopped onions. For $40, the 4 cans, 8 peppermint patties and 1 box of oyster crackers was a total rip-off. But for the little blast from Cincinnati, it was well worth it.
Dizzy World. It was what it was. What it wasn't was DiSNEy World. Or even Enchanted Kingdon in Alabang, Philippines. No, Dizzy World is where condemned rides go to die. Pathways bordered by horror flick worthy buildings, complete with broken windows and exposed wiring. Shells of concession stands. Rides, working or not, surrounded by cast-off pieces and broken parts. Rides that spun in a circle or a circle within a circle (aka, a spider, or the teacups). Rides that spun in circles near the ground, rides that spun high off the ground. A swing ride, raised 15 feet off the ground, spun an additional 10 feet higher, spun so fast and spun so long, we pulled our physics knowledge together to see how far indeed we would fly should one of the chains snap.
The park is broken into 3 areas we could define. There was no handy map of the grounds so it's more a wandering experiment. The front section with carousels, the swing, a spider, a train that made a tight oval, a small arcade. Marry World for kids, with the hit of the entire day: bumper cars for the small set. The kind of cars where a side hit recalled memories of the Suzuki Sidekick safety warnings. More than once we spotted the underside of the rubber base. Marry World also was home to all the kid rides that go in circles. Fly a plane... ride a dragon... drive a car... one after the other. One functioning, or at least one with someone to press the green button. And then the big kid section, with the boat that swings back and forth, the twin boat things that swing opposite directions until they are held straight up so everyone is upside down, big bumper cars, additional spinning rides. If it's not completely obvious yet, I'm not a big amusement park ride person. I know these all have names, something like Ship of Death, but I don't know them. I know everyone understands what I'm talking about though.
There is a definite method to the park's functioning. When rides worked, they run when someone a) expresseds an interest in riding them and/or b) when someone happens to man the booth to push the green button. The latter depends on which ride is currently already operating and whether that button pusher is also responsible for a different attraction. We were lucky with the bumper cars, all 2 1/2 times the kids used them, they were the only kids there. Where did the 1/2 come from? Twice, a lady was there. The last time, the ride was empty (again), but the lady wasn't there. Ian hopped the gate to see how difficult it was control and learned... green button:On, red button:Off. Simple enough, the kids took the cars, Ian pressed green and they were off. But then a pack of school kids poured in, hopped the fence and ran all over the bumper car field. And the lady came back. We grabbed our kids and backed away quickly.
So what does Ian's foray into amusement park management expose about Dizzy World? Complete chaos. The norm was gate hopping, people pouring off rides before they hardly slowed down much less stopped, rare safety checks to see if doors were closed or bars down, folks standing on rides... you get the picture.
But there was a strict adherence to park wrist bands. Child bands could only go on child rides, adult bands could only go on adult rides. Anyone over 4'4" was an adult which pleased Katherine at first. And there was strict adherence to the unwritten rule that everyone had to leave a ride upon its completion. So when the kids went on the Carousel, and were the only kids on it, and there was no one in line, they had to get off. And they couldn't go again, not right away at least. I guess it was to give the operator a break after hitting the green button -and- the red button.
Katherine was bummed. She had an adult wrist band, and she couldn't go on the kid rides. No little bumper cars for her. We wouldn't let her on most of the death trap adult rides and the adult bumper cars only allowed one turn. That's a surefire way to cut down on demand. Never mind there were only 4 functioning cars anyway, and for as obnoxious as Indians are while driving real cars on actual highways, at the park they nearly killed themselves with courtesy. Practically apologizing for bumping someone. And most definitely avoiding any contact if at all possible. While our crew (us and the Feldmanns) were waiting our single turn, we watched in disbelief as folks took on bumper cars like a Sunday drive. Our guys showed them how to do it right, I felt a little bad for the one car that wasn't from our group, but the sparks were flying and plenty of bumping went on.
I guess I can't finish up without mention the decor. Decor isn't the right word though. The ambiance? The "Je ne sais quoi"? It's moderately forgiveable for Chennai to have a lousy amusement park. It's even kind of understandable how it's run like any other Indian business. What I don't get was the use of blowtorched, reminiscent of Terminator, manequins sprinkled around the park as decoration. I kid you not. And while I could try to describe them, a picture is truly worth 1000 words.
So you'll just have to wait until I get the pictures up.
Cats: Tikka the tiger has finally decided not to hiss every time someone comes near him. Tandoori is a nutcase, the most playful and curious about everything. Masala is a little more reserved but not by much. Lucy is getting fat. We've opened up the living room to them for a few hours a day, but four cats is a lot to have running around. Everywhere we look there's a cat. I think three will be our limit. But if Lucy has another litter, I'll be curious to see which three we end up with.

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