Archive for January 12th, 2007
Friday 1/12/2007 1:15 pm
70 degrees and a little overcast
Here is the story of my bubble ride. I had sent photos a while ago showing people in the park riding in giant bubbles on the lake. I mentioned to Lillian that it looked like fun and would she go with me.
Went bubble riding yesterday. On the lake in the big park. On Tuesday, Lillian had reminded me we hadn’t yet gone for the bubble ride we’d promised ourselves. She would be free Wednesday afternoon, so we would go then. I said, OK. I really did want to try it and my cold was pretty much gone, so why not. We planned to meet after lunch, about 1:30 pm. That would give us enough time for our adventure and Lillian to be back for her 4:00 ~ midnight shift! I would have been too tired to go to work after an adventure, but 23 year old Lillian has lots of energy. She would work till midnight the night before so would "sleep in." An afternoon adventure would fit her schedule just fine.
Ling, who works in the hotel office joined us and the 3 of us set off for the park about 1:45. It only takes about 10 minutes to walk there and we walked briskly. I had on 2 sweaters, my Red Sox hat and a scarf. It had been cold and I had been a little sick so didn’t want to take any chances. Lillian and Ling had shirts and light jackets. Smart girls! Being inside those balls was like being inside a mini-terrarium. Very warm and humid. But I jump ahead and have to back up.
We got to the park and at first thought the bubble unavailable. There were none on the lake that we could see from the far side. But we walked over to the bubble ride stand and there was a lady selling tickets. 30 RMB about $4.00 US for 2 bubble rides. I "graciously" told Lillian and Ling to take the first ride and they "heroically" did. The deflated bubble was spread along the little dock area. The zipper of the flattened ball was lifted open and first Ling and then Lillian squished themselves inside. A vacuum hose tube is inserted into the zipper and air is pumped in. When the bubble is fully inflated the zipper is closed and the bubble riders step the bubble down the 2 little stairs into the lake. The bubble is tethered to the shore with a long rope. Picture 2 human hamsters in a ball running in opposite ways or the same way or every which way.
But in this case after a few movements legs and arms go flying and everyone ends in a heap on the bottom of the ball cushioned by the water. I have the photos to prove it. Lillian and Ling stayed in for about 10 minutes and then were reeled in to shore. Next, my turn!
The bubble staff took the 2nd bubble and unzipped it pointing for me to get in. A giant round deflated Ziploc bag, and I’m supposed to get in? You betcha! Off with the shoes and socks, hat, and top sweater and through the zipper into the Ziploc bag. Then Lillian came in and then Ling came too! The gang was all there. Smelled a little like feet, but no matter. It was a little claustrophobic too. But then they pumped in all of the air and told us to prepare for "push off." You just, all three of you at one time, step off the little stairs and you’re floating away. The water was a little cool, but the air in the bubble was warm. Luckily for us it was an overcast day of about 68 degrees or we would have been really REALLY HOT. IT WAS SO FUN!!! You try to run, but slide down the sides. And if you do get it going after a second or so you are flying through the air to the bottom of the ball and it’s look out below because there is someone else there you land on. Arms, legs, and heads everywhere. IT WAS SO FUN! I have the photos to prove it. We took the camera inside and I have great photos of us. I am so glad that Lillian "reminded" me to do this. Lillian and I have shared so many adventures.
After a while we were really warm, and humid, and tired, and it was time to be reeled to shore. Getting out means squishing yourself through the zipper again as the bubble deflates. We took more photos, put on socks and shoes and started back to the hotel. It was about 2:50 by then. Lillian really needed to be back by 3:30ish to have time to change and rewind. But on our way to the park Lillian had mentioned the public library so on the way back we stopped for a look. Turns out I have walked passed the library lots on my way up to the mountain monument. It is half way up the stairs. We went into the library and looked and the librarian cautioned us not to mis-shelve the books or no one would be able to find them. She spoke this in Chinese, but Lillian translated. I laughed and asked Lillian to tell the Librarian that I could completely understand and that led to a tour and an introduction to the Head Librarian and more talk. Lillian translated, but all Librarians speak the same language. RATS that I can’t speak Chinese! I would love to talk with them in depth. They said they would welcome my views on the new library they would build soon. My former bosses would maybe warn them off on that because I always have lots and lots of opinions. By the time we had said our goodbyes it was after 3:30 and Lillian and Ling rushed back to the hotel and work. I had to stop at the market for milk and a giant plastic box for the remaining bandanas and compasses to be given to people we meet on our voyage. I lugged it all back to the hotel where my only task for the rest of the day would be to walk to KFC to bring back dinner later, (Randal needs to stay in and rest so it’s take out for a while.) Lillian would have to work from 4pm till midnight. When I returned from the grocery store Lillian was already in her uniform in the hotel lobby.
That evening I downloaded the photos from the camera to the computer and to cds for Lillian and one for me. I watch the pictures as a slide show and could laugh again at our antics in the ball.
I have lots of photos but have only been able to download these so far.
Ling getting in the bubble
Ling and Lillian in the bubble
Me and Ling crashing to the bubble bottom
Ruth and Randal
Boston Red Sox hat travels the world.