September 29th, 2004

krazy koati

Challis Borealis -- how does your garden glow

I trust you had a good Mid-Autumn festival. The Chinese Gardens theme was ``Lantern Fun-Tasy: East Meets West,'' meaning lanterns commemorating the classic Chinese myth -- which, muck conversations revealed, everybody from North America except me knows -- ``Journery to the West'' mixed with lanterns of the first Disney movies that came to mind. My camera, to my surprised delight, treated internally-lit objects against a black background in a haze with remarkable good grace. Select photo tour to follow.

Most of the scenes are charming or whimsical, like the Heavenly Peach Garden. Many are motorized so, for example, hydra heads wag around Hercules. The Disney sections include low-fidelity speakers blasting ``It's A Small World After All'', Mulan's ``Honor To Us All'' and ``I'll Make a Man Out Of You''; Beauty and the Beast's ``Be Our Guest'' and ``Something I Couldn't Make Out''; and Aladdin's ``A Whole New World.'' Over and over and over and over and over. They had a diorama for Home on the Range, the cartoon Disney made after deciding making cartoons was too much bother. I must have missed the 48 minutes it was in theaters here. The creepiest display was a herd of four-foot-tall, biped (black and white) pandas frolicking down a hill, inexplicably in the Disney section.

A great set of humorous acrobats near the Lilo and Stitch really held my interest most of the night. They had a healthy array of amusement park rides -- carousels (going clockwise), Public Domain Cartoon Woody Woodpecker airplanes, bumper cars, that sort of thing. Concession stands sell all manner of trinkets, from sparklers to magic wands to inflatable ``Gray'' aliens, commemorating the key role in Chinese history of inflatable aliens with magic wands and fireworks. You should've been here. I'd expected there to be more Mulan.

Trivia: Walt Kelly endorsed the ``new-type concrete'' of the Interstate Highways. Source: Pluperfect Pogo, Walt Kelly.

Currently Reading: Chulo: A Year Among The Coatimundis, Bil Gilbert.