Regular readers of these pages will be very aware of the amount of time and effort that goes into producing the itinerary for a coaster trip, especially in a country where it is not possible for a foreigner to rent a car. Bruno did a masterful job assembling two weeks in China, but he wasn't able to control the weather, as this privilege is reserved for the local authorities.
The forecast for the Nanchang area today was for continuous rain from dawn to dusk, and while we woke up to better conditions than predicted a torrential downpour started just as we were approaching our first planned stop at Nanchang Star Amusement Park. Staff told us that the coaster would not operate in rain, and that was that. After a quick photo run we moved to our next stop at Qixing Square Amusement Park. The weather had improved by the time we arrived, but no rides were open, and a Google Translate conversation made it clear that nothing would be happening before "tomorrow". It was a shame to miss out on the Jungle Flying Squirrel; with luck it'll still be there the next time I'm in the area.
People's Park Nanchang
24th April 2019
Our GPS coordinates for People's Park Nanchang led us to a wide open space that was entirely devoid of amusement rides, but it turned out I'd programmed them incorrectly. Bruno went to make enquiries in a nearby shop, and found a helpful member of staff who was kind enough to walk us to the correct location. It was obvious once we got close that the area had been recently renovated, as the attractions looked absolutely pristine. The Jungle Flying Squirrel we'd hoped for was gone, but its replacement was something that promised to be even better: a brand new mouse from Guohui Machinery. The only problem was that it was closed due to the earlier rain.
We were rescued by a manager, who announced that the ride could operate after spotting three western tourists in his midst. Moments later we'd taken our seats in the imaginatively named Roller Coaster (#2612), which turned out to be an excellent ride. The layout was not particularly aggressive, but the tracking was perfect and the padding in the cars ensured that the corners were great fun. I particularly liked the way that a number of trees had been planted within the track area; the experience will likely be even better in a few years time when these have grown a little. The staff were very amused when we bought a second set of tickets to ride again.
24th April 2019
Bayi Park is a 262,000 square metre park located close to the centre of Nanchang. Three quarters of the space is occupied by a natural lake, with the rest containing landscaped gardens. A small selection of amusement rides can be found in the north-eastern corner, almost all of which are aimed at younger visitors.
Our target was Jungle Control (#2613), a family coaster manufactured by Zhongshan Ridong Animation Technology Company, trading as Nitto Fun. The ride features a five car train of spinning cars that navigate a track with a height differential of about four feet. The track has a "hot rail" but this is only used to power an onboard sound system; the train is lifted using tyre drives and completes its journey using momentum. We made it about half way to the apex on our first attempt, before the rubber began to slip making an awful howling noise. After a few seconds the operator cut the power, allowing the train to roll back to the start point. I thought that this might be game over, but it wasn't; our new best friend produced some towels and dried off the mechanisms, which did the trick. The cars spun far more than the closest western equivalent, and I was quite dizzy by the time that our second five lap cycle came to an end.
Nanchang Star Amusement Park
24th April 2019
We decided it was worth making a return visit to Nanchang Star Amusement Park after our earlier miss as the weather had improved and we had some spare time before our evening flight. Our persistence was rewarded, if that is the right word; though Roller Coaster (#2614) had yet to operate for the day a member of staff removed a restraining hook as we boarded and sent us on our merry way.
My first encounter with a Medium 3 Ring Coaster from Hebei Zhongye Metallurgical Equipment Manufacturing was not a particularly happy one. The design begins with a 540° helix and a drop to ground level that are handled without particular issue, but that is only to give passengers a false sense of relief. It continues with a loop, a turnaround, and a corkscrew, and all three elements are actively unpleasant due to severe headbanging. To make matters worse the train is too small for tall riders to be comfortable, and though I managed to shoehorn myself into the back of a car my knees were firmly wedged into the seat in front. I've since learned that there are another thirty-six examples of the type around the country, a fact that should be considered by anyone thinking about coaster counting as a hobby.