Monday, October 1, 2012

롤러 코스터 - Rollercoasters (Daegu pt. 1)

A native Korean speaker might have a hard time saying that...
A view of Daegu from E-World.
Last Saturday, I traveled to Daegu with my host family. The plan was to spend the afternoon at E-World (previously known as Woobang Land), and then my host family would take off to meet their extended family, and I would be left to my own devices. Although I was kind of anxious about the latter half of these plans (you know, like, not having a place to sleep), my mind was completely worry-free for the few wonderful hours we spent at E-World. Why? Because there were ROLLERCOASTERS.
Rollercoaster yayyyyyyyyyyyyy
Dear friends, I love rollercoasters. I have ever since I became tall enough to ride The Demon at Paramount's Great America. One of the best birthday presents I ever received was the computer game RollerCoaster Tycoon. I used to spend hours surfing through the rollercoaster database, memorizing types and records and locations, making a list of every amusement park I'd visit before I got too old to ride the tallest, fastest, and most vomit-inducing terrors out there.

So when my host father tells me that there's a 놀이 공원 (noli gongwon, or amusement park) in Daegu? Before you can say "No hands!", I say, "I'm in."

Well, we arrived at E-World at about 3pm, due to traffic, and that left us only about two and a half hours to do everything, since I was going to meet friends for dinner later. Fortunately, that was actually plenty of time for us. E-World is quite a small park, with only three coasters and a dozen or so other attractions ranging from awesome carnival-type thrill rides (a Top Spin, an inverted pirate ship) to typical kids' fare (merry-go-round, haunted house).

My host brother and sister got passes that would allow them to ride anything they wanted. My host parents bought me an adult ticket, which meant that I needed to buy individual tickets for each ride. I decided to save my money for just the coasters: Hurricane, Camelback, and Boomerang. (They were $3.50 to $4.00 each.) The best of these by far was Boomerang, which is a standard boomerang coaster but also was, curiously enough, the first of its kind that I've been on. (Great America's Invertigo is the wicked older sister of this type of coaster, and I guess having been on that one many times spoiled me for the original ride, such that I never bothered to ride it anywhere else.) But the other two had their perks, too: Hurricane was like what The Demon would be if it were forced to exist in an space only half as large, which was neat, and riding on Camelback gave me an absolutely gorgeous view of Daegu.
A daring photo I took with my phone while on Hurricane with my host siblings!
Besides the coasters, I also enjoyed just looking around and trying to figure out what it was that made this amusement park Korean. One aspect was how overtly the whole place was catered to couples. Every few feet there was something cute and romantic and neatly positioned at a photo spot. Then there was the influence of American culture in a not-so-American way. I mean, yes, there is a KFC in the park, but I'm talking about more... subtle indicators. Like the Philly Love Park sculpture, re-appropriated only as one would expect for the lovey-dovey theme. And the fun house attraction named "Aladin".
Hi, Philly, I've missed you. Because I LOVE YOU. (Also of note: the Ghost Adventure in the background.)
Somebody call Disney. Something horrible has happened to Genie.
And one thing I'll briefly mention: over Chuseok weekend, the park was doing some kind of promotion for foreigners ("Foriegner Invitation Weekend" or something like that), which included an international food fair and a singing contest for foreigners. They were trying to appeal to the growing population of immigrants from west and southeast Asia, and I think it was a nice initiative. As a foreigner myself, I took a "Where Are You From?" survey at the entrance of the park, but there wasn't a spot for 미국 (USA), interestingly enough.

I definitely enjoyed my first Korean amusement park. A trip to Everland or Lotte World in Seoul is on my bucket list, though, so this only whetted my appetite a bit. Also, I'm happy that I got to spend more time with my host family, since I'm going to be out of town for a few consecutive weekends.
My host family and me at E-World! (Minus my host father, who took the photo.) Please note the two derpy dogs in a stroller.
Okay, and here is a photo of my host siblings tumbling around a pool inside giant inflatable balloons, just because. 그냥.
Hahaha!

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