Friday, April 29, 2005

Swiss amusement parks

Good even all.

Thought I would post another of my entries from my old blog, this time my post about Swiss amusement parks.

Enjoy, and all that jazz. Comments are appreciated, as always.

2004-05-20 - 2:03 a.m.

It's too late to be writing, but oddly enough I feel like I'm going to be more coherant now than I will be in the morning.

Went to the fair tonight, this giant amusement park that sprang up in Ouchy, apparently while we were all sleeping or partying or travelling or being otherwise unable to pay attention to major events in our adopted hometown. It's right by the lake (Leman, of course) and I imagine it would have been spectacular though also wickedly hot in the daytime, but we went at night, when the lights were on, the music was up, and all the kids had come out to play.

I was astonished at the sheer volume and variety of very young teenagers at this fair. There were dozens of girls looking 13-going-on-25, loaded with full makeup, massive hoop earrings, skimpy outfits barely covering their prepubescent hipless bodies, carrying cell phones complete with camera features, and nattering in their incredibly nasal Swiss French about their "ex-copains." I was with Dag, who asked me as we're watching this little pixie of a girl caressing her babyish little boyfriend if I thought these girls were already having sex. I actually shuddered at the thought, and then tried to remember how far I was in the sex game at age 13. I remember getting my obligatory first kiss at age 9 in spin-the-bottle (I enjoyed it but I was supposed to pretend I thought it was gross), and I certainly slow-danced with a fair number of boys before high school, but my first "relationship" at 13 was a joke, and we never did anything except kiss, once, and then only out of social pressure. I saw a movie last year called Thirteen, a luminous, near-tragic tale of teen antics involving the usual holy trilogy of sex, drugs, and rock n roll, and I felt the same way watching that as I did watching those girls tonight: sad, confused, and very very old. What exactly has changed in the seven years since I was thirteen? What was it that made me wait for sex until I was seventeen and very much in love that holds no inspiration for girls these days? I don't have any of these answers, but I'd like to find them out.

Anyway, the fair was full of these girls and their macho, trying-WAY-too-hard boyfriends who were attempting to win them outrageously huge stuffed animals in the midway. The stuff of cliches before you're even aware they're cliches. Fantastic.

We met up with Dag's friend Marie (sweet Lausannoise with a bad-news boyfriend from the sounds of it) and her friends, who all seemed pretty nice and all smoked compulsively (VERY Swiss!), and we went ride shopping. The first of many funny things about Swiss amusement parks is that unlike in Canada, where you pay to get in and then the rides are included, in Switzerland they make you pay PER RIDE, which is usually a ludricrous 4-6 Francs EACH! So we tried to pick our rides carefully, which is hard to do when you're all doped up on lights and music and the general overstimulation of the fair. We ended up on one that looked like a branch from a giant palm tree, and everyone gets strapped in and then it's like a baby picks up the branch and flings it randomly in all directions: sideways, upways, upsidedownways, moreways, highways, anyways, until I was thoroughly nauseous and pleading to get down. When will the Swiss learn that charging 5 Francs per ride and then making the ride longer does not result in more customer satisfaction but rather in simply more nausea and more freak-outs. I was dizzy and sickly afterwards until I had gotten some water and revived my co-dependent but very loving relationship with the ground.

Our second ride was something resembling the Wild Mouse at Playland, for those of you who know it. It's a big roller coaster built on metal tracks that are for the most part flat, and everyone sits in these mouse-shaped four-person cars and off you go. It looks pretty fucking tranquille from the ground, but on the thing you feel like you're going to fall to your death at every corner, the motion is jerky and painful, and the whole thing is really more terrifying than fun, especially when the car starts to spin 360 degrees before slamming into the next corner with a sickening thud. Dag hit her head rather hard on the headrest near the end, which will unfortunately not leave her with a cool scar, as there was no blood. I bought a photo of the mousy ordeal from a woman at a booth who closely resembled a 45-year-old version of a hooker on Richards, complete with gaudy (not God-y) rhinestone cross, sequined jean jacket, abundant cleavage, unsmiling demeanor (even in amusment parks Swiss people are not amused!), and cigarette permanently in hand. The photo of us is actually brilliant. I'm looking unnaturally happy, Dag looks like she's finally descended into hysterics, Marie looks like she's holding on for dear life, and Marie's friend Nicole looks deeply concerned.

After our second unpleasant ride experience we headed for some food, or in my case a candy apple, which I'm sure serves as food to some people. Works for me. I'll be back to have some cotton candy. What a wonderful substance that is. Fluffy, pink and edible. Can one really ask for anything more from life?

Our third and last ride was the Enterprise, a favourite of mine from home, and one I thought I knew well enough to know what to expect. Apparently not. They strapped both me and Dag into the same car (a bad idea, but they really left us with no choice) and we were off on the initially predictable amusement of a spinning wheel that goes 360 degrees around and then upside-down for a few turns before heading back to Earth. However, the initially predictable amusement of the ride was NOT predicted to go on for a very painful 20 or so rotations upside-down and to last for what felt like ages. Note to the Swiss: when it comes to equilibrium diplacing amusement park rides, best to be Swiss and stick with small, expensive portions, if overcharge you must.

Dag and I headed home literally staggering, despite having drunk nothing all night but coke and water.

Either I'm getting too old for amusement parks or a bunch of people with no discernible sense of humour should not be trying to amuse people for a living.

And that, ladies and gents, is my two cents.

Bonne nuit.


by Nome at 12:43 AM
2 mews

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