On my Xian trip, later that day after we’d gone to see the terracotta warriors, my Cantonese travel buddy and I went to the Tang Paradise park (Da Tang Furong Yuan 大唐芙蓉园). It’s a large, scenic, and exquisite theme park that recreates Xian’s glorious Tang times, replete with a palace, gardens, pavilions, surrounding an actual lake, with performances as well. Despite initially thinking it’d be kind of tacky, it was actually quite nice. The palace had colored murals filled with Tang Dynasty court scenes, and there was a music hall on the second floor, which actually hosted none other than German leader Angela Merkel and then-Premier Wen Jiaobao. Tang Paradise is near the Big Goose Pagoda, and outside the walled city center.
Around the grounds, there were various complexes and pavilions, and statues of ancient Chinese objects as well as a “self-cooled pavilion” cooled by water from an actual waterwheel. One of the more interesting exhibitions was statues depicting Chinese stories and sayings, like making a needle out of stick, a legend of Tang poet Li Bai that illustrates how if you work hard, you can achieve the impossible’ and why a foolish person would be called wooden cock (in ancient times, cockfighting was popular among the nobility, and commoners who couldn’t afford cocks, would imitate the wealthy by making wooden cocks). We also saw a short show with Chinese acrobats, who did the usual tricks like tumbling and balancing objects with their feet while lying down. A female acrobat took it to a new level, balancing a pole with her feet with two male acrobats hanging on each side.
At night, the lake, the palace, and the pavilions surrounding the lake made for a really lovely scene. The main reason we were coming here though was to see the world’s largest water movie, a short film projected and shown over the lake with lasers and fireworks.
Unfortunately the water movie turned out to be a cartoonish show with fighting gods, demons and even dogs borrowed from Chinese legends. We left before it was completed and by that time, it was past 8. It was impossible getting a taxi as every single one that drove by was full (which I was kind of miffed about), so we went to a restaurant by the guy’s hostel. Afterwards we said our final goodbye and I took the bus to the subway.
The water show. It got progressively ridiculous as it went on.
A mural inside the palace. It’s seems to be a Central Asian or Indian dancer entertaining Chinese officers at a foreign court.
Ms. Merkel and Mr. Wen enjoyed themselves at a show here.