Saturday, 2 January 2016

Seoul Land

Terrible selfie brought to you by Budget Power Rangers
So, we've been to Everland and rated it, so this time we went to Seoul Land for Nick and Justin's joint birthday party, even despite the forecast for rain, because what could possibly be more dismally fun than a slightly creepy off-brand theme park in the pouring rain?

But first, I want to turn your attention to this:

This is human ingenuity at its finest.
I'm totally blown away by this. I'm not even kidding. I was so amazed. This, my friends, is basically the best snack invention ever. Why fumble around with a box of popcorn chicken in one hand and a paper cup of cola in the other? Why not combine them?

Basically, it's a specially designed cup that you fill with a drink of your choice, and then a tray of popcorn chicken slots in over the top, with just enough room for a straw to poke out. Bam. Problem solved. They even give you little sample sticks so you don't have to worry about getting your hands dirty (or your dirty hands on your food, whichever).

"Elephant Train" sounded a lot cuter and less ethical than it really was.
Seoul Land is in a huge area of Seoul Grand Park, along with a couple of zoos, a lake, an art museum and basically all kinds of cultural development and entertainment. Due to this, there's a little 'train' that drives around, similar to the ones you find at the beach (at home, anyway), to save you some time.

Quite possibly the most confusing sign if you can't read Korean. One is for the exit and one is for the entrance.
We bought tickets for the little train because, in addition to being lazy, it was also raining a lot and we didn't really want to be soaked before we even got there.

We also bought some cheapo ponchos from some entrepreneurial old ladies and ended up looking like some sort of superhero team. I'm not sure what we were fighting against. Soggy jeans?



Looks nothing like an elephant tbh


When we arrived we were met with the most gloriously bleak and disheartening theme park I've ever seen. The rain and grey skies contrasting with the bright, cheerful colours of the decorations only seemed to highlight just how dismal it looked because, although the colours of the buildings and props came in every colour of the rainbow they were also kind of run-down and a little creepy.

Like an off-brand Disneyland, the mascots and settings were kind of familiar but not polished enough to be comforting or hold their own. On a sunny day, like the time we spent at Everland, when there's lots to do and it's packed with people, it's easy to overlook little details and see it in a more positive light. But considering the weather had been poor all week and the forecast for heavy rain came the day before, not many people had bothered to brave the journey and the elements on the off-chance it wouldn't rain.

So, empty and kind of abandoned-looking, it felt a little bit like we were walking into a horror film.
A little bit.


But the rain also worked in our favour. Considering nobody wanted to drag rain-soaked children everywhere, there were no queues, no wait times, no masses of people to push your way through against the grain. It felt like we were the only ones there sometimes, which was great. Also, to be honest, the rain wasn't even that bad.


MY NAME IS OLIVER QUEEN AND I SHOOT THINGS
The first thing we actually ended up doing was an archery session, which required some extra payment but was really quite fun! I definitely remember being better than this when I did it a couple of times as a kid, though.

It's one of those things that's really enjoyable even if you suck at it though.


Kiegan actually got a high enough score that she won a little prize! Even though one time she hit someone else's target, hahaha. And Nick, I'm pretty sure, managed to split an arrow? I took a photo, which is the one above, and it definitely looks like one arrow went through another.

We found a mirror house, and I love this sort of thing so we all crammed inside (also, indoors from the rain, yaaay!) and ran about injuring ourselves, I suppose.


We spent an awful lot of time in the illusion rooms that made the use of tilted floors and angled doorways to mess with your brain. They were actually really cool and disorienting in real life as well as in photos. I think some people weren't really sure about how to make it work though, because the guy in the photo below (on the right) kept watching us with the most bewildered face and repeatedly gasped and said "wow."




This room was called "The Playground" or "The Circus" or something and confused us, but not in a perception kind of way. We just weren't massively sure how we were supposed to use it, haha.

The whole room was heavily slanted, with everything in it arranged so that presumably you do the same wonky tricks as the others...but it didn't really work so well.


I think we ended up just playing because we were the only people in the room for a while.

Me.
I decided that, since we were playing like children, I'd do the classic thing of rolling down the hill. Turns out the slope was so steep that I couldn't actually stop and rolled uncontrollably and smacked into the wall (causing me to also laugh uncontrollably), just as a mother was coming into the room telling her children to be careful and not mes around too much. Ooop.

The next room was just full of doors, like a cartoon chase sequence.
We got a bit split up in this part. Some of the doors open and some don't, so once we got to the exit, we doubled back one room and pinned the door closed so that the other part of our group thought it was a dud. At which point we ran back outside, giggling like small children and waited. I think it's really important to act really childishly sometimes. To be fair, what better time than a group of 24+ year olds in a theme park geared mainly towards kids?

One of many rides where I feared decapitation.
The rain had pretty much completely stopped by now, so we went on a few easy rides to get into the swing of things (including one that was basically a bike you had to pedal, on a very high up monorail. As in a tiny, thin track. That definitely didn't feel safe.) and ate a few snacks to keep us going.


Birthday Criminals
Trying to take a selfie on the log flume without dropping my phone in the water

Actually, the rain held off for most of the day and towards the end it was even a little warm and sunny. We went on the bumper cars even though I'm the worst bumper car driver ever, in that I drive too carefully, which I suppose kind of defeats the purpose.

There were also these slightly distressing Pepsi statues dotted around with no explanation.


We paid a little extra to go on a sort of boat version of the bumper cars and it was  absolutely hilarious. I'm not sure why. But I can remember crying laughing more than driving around. I think the handling on the boats wasn't exactly responsive so despite our best efforts it was actually quite hard to hit each other. It was easy to lock the wheel too, so you could just drive endlessly in circles.

It felt so ridiculous, it reminded me a little of the Doctor Who episode where they're on segways and can't help but laugh at how ridiculous they look.




OH! The boats were also painfully slow, hahaha.
When our time was up, we found a few more rides to go on, and took the log flume again to pose for photos, and they're excellent:

Fake EPCOT. Fakecot? Fepcot?

We took the standard Instax at the entrance on our way out, bought a distressing amount of merchandise, and headed off to get some dinner together.


We ended up eating at a food court in Seoul Station which was like the world's most stressful and boring game of bingo ever, waiting for your number to be called, checking all the various screens to make sure it IS your number, then having to traverse the hundreds of near-identical booths until you find the one holding your meal hostage. And then work your way back through the jumble of tables without dropping your very heavy tray.

The food was great though, even if we did order WAY too much.

Survey Corps represent


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