There is a tourist attraction in town, Romance Park, that we experienced for the first time with David and Kelly. I love that our memories of this place will always be entangled with memories of family! It was a lot like a regular theme park in America, except…not. It had a lot of cultural moments that are pretty indescribable. It made me realize how many people groups live in this area, and how cool their customs appear to outsiders! I recognize fully that these seemingly awesome dances and traditions are rooted in evil, and it made the task before us even more real than it was before this moment.
We noticed a group of people standing around a stage area, so I asked someone if there was going to be a performance. She told me in about 10 minutes it would start, so we decided to wait there to see what it was all about. About ten minutes later we heard loud banging and saw a parade of colorfully dressed people marching toward us carrying someone on a wooden litter. They were chanting and dancing, performing what appeared to be some dating ritual of jumping over moving, clanging sticks while handing out alcohol to bystanders (picture on the left). Our hearts were beating in time with the music and the excitement flowed through our bodies as we witnessed such an interesting custom!
Romance Park is known for its big main performance, and while we were thrilled just to walk around and see the impromptu, small performances, including a flash mob to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, we were truly anticipating the main show. When we got to our seats, we soon realized that we had some of the best seats in the house!
It started with a clown performance that had us all giggling, then moved to a love story riddled with war, prancing deer, pretzel-like women, trapeze artists, piercing arrows, soft rain, flower petals dropping from the sky, and dancing flowers. Due tous not being able to understand the story, we got to make up our own story line and just enjoy the show!
Our seats were in a section of moving seats, so at different times in the performance, all of our seats would shift to the left and the floor would rise in between our section and the one next to us, revealing magical things. The photo way above with Cameron’s head shows how close the performers were when this happened! If you look closely to the blue picture above (on the far right) you will notice shapes of bodies. An enormous water filled ceiling moved over our heads with bikini clad women propelling themselves from one side to the other…I am not sure what this had to do with the story, and it was slightly disturbing in a sensual sort of way, but it was nonetheless fascinating! The end of the show featured all the warriors dressed as flowers in tights. They were all very unhappy men, and I truly wish that I could have captured their facial expressions for you, but I feel their humiliation was enough!
The show itself is reason enough to experience Romance Park, but there are so many other things it offers too! There was a man-made mountain that you could walk up (on winding stairs) or via a swinging ropes course to reach the glass overlook. My littles were my brave ones and ventured onto the glass floor with me. Cam was too chicken.
There was also a floating water course that you could run across and try not to fall in the water. I was too chicken for that. Something about Chinese water is just gross. The girls thought it was a blast though! And the bleacher seats gave us a prime people watching location to witness the
stupidity bravery of all the adventurous adults attempt the water course while keeping an eye on our very agile children. One of the first activities we participated in, other than as a spectator, was the typhoon simulator. Kelly was the smart one and said she didn’t want to do it, but we talked her into it, so she obliged us. We chose to wear ponchos after asking the attendant if it was really necessary and his reply of a resounding yes. They were more like red saran wrap trash bags with a gathered face hole that trapped all the heat from the sun inside next to your skin. I think we may have sweated off a few pounds in those 5 minutes! Once it started, we realized the error of our decision. The “wind” started blowing, then the water came. There was screeching and howling and…wetness. It was blowing up, down, and all around. Stupid, worthless ponchos. Faith and Elle chose to brave the storm with no protective gear, and it was interesting to see the way they reacted. Faith ran around in circles squealing. Ellie hid by the door where the water didn’t reach. She, without a poncho, was the driest of us all!
The park also offered a haunted house experience, but as we went to the entrance to check it out and saw all the mutilated, blood-covered body parts, we decided that we weren’t all that into scaring our kids, which would lead to sleeping buddies in the nighttime.
Once the sun sank into the sky and the moon and stars were our only light, the park lit up with fluorescent light and fire torches. It added to the magic of our evening, leaving us all a little breathless with the memories of such a fantastic day that will forever remain in our minds as remember that time we went to Romance with Nanny and Papa…