While in Shanghai visiting Expo 2010 (essentially the World’s Fair), I took the opportunity to visit Happy Valley theme park to ride, or as we researchers like to say, “test drive” the first wooden roller coaster ever built in China. Since returning I have asked many people when they thought the first wooden roller coaster was built in China, and the answers ranged from about 50 to 1,000 years ago. Well, it turns out it was actually built last year by none other than the American designer known as The Gravity Group. The coaster was a combination of an “out and back” and a “twister” and was a pretty good ride.
What struck me the most, however, was how the Chinese kids rode the coaster. Every time the train accelerated and then hit the maximum G force, all 23 heads (I was the 24th) surged forward as if they were reducing wind friction on a high speed bicycle. And as if they were in a symphony, all 23 heads reacted in near perfect unison. I returned to the station in absolute hysterics saying… “Again, again, again”. And then I switched from the back seat to the front seat to see all 23 heads do precisely the same thing from a different angle while everybody, including me, was screaming and giggling. It was so great to experience the common language of laughter.
- Jack Morey