Monday, 31 October 2011

It's Always Magic at Everland

Everland Resort is much like many other theme parks across the world but its unique (especially for me) as it’s in Korea (this opens it up to all kinds of strange possibilities, huh?). There was a lot of debate as to what we were going to do over Halloween weekend. It was originally going to be spent at the Busan Firework Festival where we would also swim with sharks, but that fell through so we started thinking up other ideas. I came up with Everland, a theme park literally 40 minutes away from central Seoul. We expected it to be really busy on Saturday, especially since the park was holding a Halloween Horror Night. Alas, we woke up to a small downpour on Saturday morning (made hilarious by the fact that Natalie left her shoes outside of the hostel door the night before thus allowing them to get absolutely drenched over night). We hoped this downpour would deter the crowds from the park, which to some extent it did. We hopped on the tube which is always a fascinating people watching experience. There was a drunk (or at least very tired) overweight Korean falling asleep on the shoulder of a young Korean lady who he didn’t know. You had to be there. It was hilarious. After the subway ride it’s a 40 minute bus journey across town and through the misty weather to the Everland bus terminal.

Entrance to the park is much like any theme park, there is fantasy music playing and people dressed in costumes in a mythical magic castle type setting. It sucks you in and entices you to enter and get swept away (spend your money) for the day. We started off by checking out the Go Africa exhibit where you could feed some birds, spy on some rather large tarantulas, and watch a hyena get very horny as he tried to get it on with his female friends. I had never seen a hyena before; they are actually quite majestic and fascinating to watch.

Not all of the rides were open at the beginning of the day so we had to wait a while. We did manage to get on the carousel (slow but no queue), the haunted house (where you’re given a laser gun to shoot things with), and the rotating house (an experience much like HEX at Alton Towers). All of which were pretty fun. After this we got some lunch at the European themed section of the park, I had a sausage selection and it was wonderful.

After lunch fantastic news, the rides are all open. Let’s go! How long is the queue? 80 minutes. Damn! So we queued. And we queued and we eventually got on the ride, which has an almost vertical drop on a wooden roller coaster (it’s called the T-Express if you’re interested enough to look it up). It was super fast and didn’t work wonders for my headache. I was actually pretty terrified on that ride, as you slowly turn the corner and see the sheer drop in front of you. After the ride to recover we went to check out the animals. They have an amazing selection here and loads of animals I had never seen before. We saw a beaver making himself a damn, loads of orang-utans and chimps, tigers, lions and some exotic creatures that I can’t remember the names of. Oh, and polar bears.

What? Yes. Polar bears. World population: between 20,000 and 25,000. It was a privilege to see them even if they were in a cage, but its good that there is some conservation work going on for these animals. They are stunning. You can get really close to the animals on this side of the globe, nothing near the amount of health and safety there is in England. So, it was a pretty good time. Polar bears! I know, right?

Once we had checked out the animals and gone on a lame water ride we went and watched the parade. A sickening experience akin to a Disney parade where people are dressed up in scary animal costumes dancing around singing overly happy songs on top of floats. Magic? Maybe. Then we went on a pirate boat which made my stomach do back flips. Oh, and the cat show, another sickening experience where cats are exploited live on stage performing tricks to an overly excited audience. I didn’t know cats could do tricks like that, but come to think of it, I didn’t care.

Night was ascending and we went and had some more food before getting in line for the horror maze. Where you walk around a very dark building with live actors inside who try and freak you out. The live actors succeeded and I was scared, its this over active imagination of mine. The theme was abandoned hospital and there were people in bloody hospitals gowns chasing you, jumping out on you, following you in wheel chairs and grabbing your feet. Spooky. The whole park was dressed up for Halloween and in horror village everyone was dressed up for a spooky old time.

We had some time left so we went on the Safari. Something very similar to that of Jurassic Park, with big gates that you drive through. They had lions, white tigers, a liger (never seen one of them before, mental), elephants, and these bears that were really playful but if they decided to get less playful and more angry I swear their paws could easily go through the safari cars windows.

After walking around a little more we left to get back to Seoul for about 10pm. I was knackered. As was everyone as far as I could tell. Had a wicked kiwi ice shake on the way out. It tasted so good after a long day!

On Sunday we went to the Korean War Memorial to go to the body worlds exhibit. The exhibit puts on display plasticised bodies (all the bodies that are preserved have been donated, mostly by people who declared while living that they would like their bodies to be plastinated to advance human knowledge). The bodies are pumped full of plastic replacing the water in the bodies cells wit plastic and so on and so forth. It was fascinating. Parts of it creeped me out though and made me really consider my health. They would display normal sliced up brains next to sliced up stroke victims brains (knowing they were real made it quite intense) and it makes you really think about how well you look after yourself. Health is important it seems and I should stop eating burgers. Normal lungs next to cancerous ones, heads chopped in half, dead babies from embryo to nine months showing the progression of human development in the womb. If you’re not squeamish the exhibition is well worth it and can be seen in different cities across the whole world. It’s educational, it’s exciting and its entertaining. You come out a more health aware and health conscious human and you are in a way more appreciative of the fragility of your life. Not every exhibit can boast that, right?

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