Saturday, October 16, 2010

Revisiting Longtan Hu Park

Close to 4.5 years ago, Wayne and I were at this place Longtan Hu Park - a favourite of bridal photography studios. It just seems like yesterday that we took a small van with two other couples and headed out as we posed for photos under the glaring sun, glaring reflector, as well as the glaring eyes of passers-by.
Fast forward to today, and seeing it was nice weather, we decided to head to the park for some outdoor fun with our girl. There were lesser photos at the beginning as I was feeding her chunks of apple (surprisingly, she woke up at 8am that day and had an early breakfast so that we could reach the park by 10am), and Papa isn’t the kind to wield a camera ready to capture shots… In any case, maybe it was because she got up way too early, but she wasn’t her perky/excited self in the car and at the start of our park journey.

However, she soon became her bubbly self again when she saw an older girl sliding down the stair ramp. She also wanted to try it, so of course I let her since the other girl had effectively already cleaned off the first layer of dust, haha!
We then saw families of ducks on the nice lake – the whole place is actually very scenic and I can imagine many nice shots, but both father and daughter were not in the posey mood, oh well…
I especially liked the waterfall area with its red leaves, and I had no choice but to just take a shot of the scenery itself as our girl did not want to cooperate in a photo shoot.
I managed to trick her into this one as I sat on a huge rock and asked if she wanted to join me in sitting on the small one next to me – she refused to even look up… sigh!
This was hastily taken as she played around the area… as best as I could get – at least I tried!
As we walked around, we chanced across a couple taking their wedding photos. It’s strange that there weren’t more couples around, maybe because of the cold weather, though we saw a lot of kids having their photos taken professionally as well.
As our curious girl looked on, she started to imitate the couple and also cocked her head sideways, even wanting to pull her collar downwards so that she could have a revealing bustier like the bride – haha!
As we walked on, we saw many other activities going on – a lot of elderly people writing calligraphy with big brushes and water, kids learning to rollerblade, singing and erhu accompaniment, and even this group of kids learning wushu. 10 seconds into viewing, I quickly pulled Rosabelle away – a boy standing at the corner wasn’t very good at differentiating his left from right, and the instructor was very harsh on him, too harsh, in fact. He used his pole to hit at the poor boy’s leg till his eyes watered, and as he nervously continued to make the same mistakes, he hit his hand really hard a few times. Oh dear me…
We moved on to something more child-friendly and saw this older girl skipping away. She wasn’t very good with it and kept fumbling, and the fact that we were cheering her on made her more nervous. So Rosabelle started going around a tree, as we sang her current favourite ‘Round and round the garden like a teddy bear’, when we spotted a hairclip on the floor. Rosabelle quickly picked it up and the older girl ran over and was grateful that we helped her to find it, heh!
We then went on to see some elderly people singing…
But she very quickly lost interest and preferred to climb up and down the ramps instead…
As she was walking along, we spotted a very beautiful red leaf – 5 small leaves in all, and she wanted to pose with it.
We then took a slow walk to the last destination (the park’s actually bigger than that) – to the kiddy rides area, and sat the first ride we came across. There was a short wait as there was a queue, but it wasn’t cheap – costs RMB10 for each of us. There was a kid behind me who was bawling away as he was devastated his two rides had ended. As his mum had to take him down to buy more tickets, he could not figure out why those in front of him were getting onto the train and having fun. I let my girl wait with Wayne as she chomped on some biscuits first (since she had an early breakfast and fruit snack), and finally it was our turn. Although we could have let her sit alone, I’m glad we didn’t – even with a loose seat belt on, there would be two kids sitting together, and I can’t imagine if either of them pushed each other when vying with the ‘controls’, and it was rather jerky as we took the corners. Anyway, for a 3-minute ride which seemed to be very fast, I’m glad it ended as soon as it did as it wasn’t exactly comfortable, haha!

We then came across this display of a big pig and two golden piglets, and Rosabelle was so taken by one of the piglets that she kept hugging and caressing it, shaking its hoof, and even kissing it on the face, ewww!

We then slowly proceeded to head back to our car, of course passing by the rest of the kiddy rides. Again, our good girl did not clamour to sit on them, instead waving bye bye to the kids, saying that she was going for lunch, heh!

Next stop was Chongwenmen New City, as we headed to Pizza Hut for lunch – it was one of the worst service we ever received – or was there any service to speak of in the first place? Firstly, two choices we wanted of the many-course set meal wasn’t available, then when we asked for children’s cutlery, or at least plastic spoons they use for take-away, the waitress said that it was only available upstairs. So you can imagine me rolling my eyes that Wayne had to go upstairs with Rosabelle to get them, sheesh.

Next, I asked for soup bowls to prepare Rosabelle’s food in it, but they told me they’d run out of it. Oh great. They then came with a take-out container – better than nothing, I guess.

When the tuna spaghetti came, it was spicy – why didn’t the waitress warn us? Oh great, so I had to go and get a menu myself and order a different spaghetti for Rosabelle as she first chomped on some potato waffles and drank some corn/bacon soup. In the end, she still managed to almost finish the bowl of chicken/spinach/mushroom spaghetti, and was very eager to get down and say hello to an older Caucasian boy at another table, who was strangely shy, heh!

We then made our way home since she had a long morning (and woke up too early), and finished up all 3 of the small tangerines I’d brought for her… she was really tired out after I nursed her, sleeping like a log that afternoon, heh!

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