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1998 Beijing Wushu Team -- Universal Studios Trip
It took a little while, and a lot of money, but we eventually got to the
park with the team. We immediately rushed to the backlot tram and all
piled on. I ended up sitting in the back of the tram with Wu Jing, Grace,
Lisa and Greg, but it gave us the opportunity to see our friends sitting
up front. I imagine a lot of the details of the tour were somewhat lost
of the team members. (How many of them saw Psycho or know who the
A-Team is? [OK, don't answer that last one!]) But they did really
like the King Kong attack, as well as the SF subway station earthquake
(hey, there's no BART station in Golden Gate Park!)
The Backlot Tram ride. That's He Jing De in the third row.
The Beijing Team did get the opportunity to see how one of their other
special friends is doing, we got a bit of an update on the career status
of our good friend Russell Wong (see the photo). Once the Tram was
over we all split up and took off. (for SOME reason some of the athletes
seemed to not want to spend their day hanging with the coaches...) Kong
Xiang Dong grabbed me, so he and I along with Wu Jing, Lisa and Grace took
off for the Back To the
Future ride. Liu Juan and Jian Zeng Jiao ended up getting in line
with us too, so we had a enough people fill a time travelling car.
Another very special reunion, sort of. The Beijing Team sees a backlot
left over from Russell Wong's Wushu TV Show, Vanishing Son
The Back to the Future ride was incredibly awesome. We were all freaking
out from the incredible effects. It's a pretty basic premise, and the
athletes were familiar with the movie, so once we all jumped in our eight
seater DeLorean, we travelled through time and space. After screaming and
nearly vomiting from the ride, we decended to the park's newer front
section, where we hit the Jurassic Park river ride. We were really
lucky, it had been raining earlier in the day, so there weren't hardly any
people there. We only had like a 5 minute wait for most of the rides.
Jiang Bong Jun, in his best Doc Brown impersonation informs Wang Xiao Na
that "We're going BACK to the FUTURE!"
Along the way, we actually ran into Beetlejuice, (or rather a big freak
dressed up like the movie character). The Beijing Team of course wanted a
picture with him, but they were really freaked when he started speaking
to them in Chinese, "Ni Hao!" We were scared and tried to run away, to
which he replied "Zai Jian!"
The Jurassic Park ride starts out as a lame-o slow ride through some
Jurassic Park movie scenes, with a couple of robotic dinosaurs. The only
exciting park of the ride is the big ass drop (something like 80 feet)
into a big huge splash. Jian Zeng Jiao and I were prepared, zipping up
and covering our heads. Unfortunately the other people in our boat
weren't as well prepared (and apparently were sitting in worse seats...)
as they all got pretty wet! (I couldn't tell if Liu Juan was crying or not
since she was covered in water, but she was definitely wailing pretty loud
after she got WAY wet.
Liu Juan was NOT a happy camper after we made our big splash.
Of course what
happened to us is nothing compared to what happened to He Jing De, he
brazenly took the front row of the boat, and came out absolutely soaked to
the bone (Hey, they don't call him 'The Stuntman of the Team' for
nothing!) But he paid the price, as a cool breeze kicked up and he ended
up freezing his ass off (til we hit the Backdraft show and got toasted
dry). There did seem to be some fires smoldering between some of our
Chinese friends and certain members of our group, but I was hanging
with He Jing De at this point and we were only interested in getting
as close to the flames as possible.
Backdraft was pretty cool, but a little too much talking for a bunch of
non-English speakers. ("Ooh! Fire!") Afterwards we decided to hit the
other big ride in that part of the park, the E.T. ride! Mind you I
haven't seen E.T. since it first came out, but I definitely know that 90%
of the shit on that ride was never in the movie. It looked like some kind
of heroin induced hallucination, as we glided through the woods in our
Liu Qing Hua and Liu Juan search for Botanicus, Grand Wizard on the
Planet of the E.T.'s.
Flora, Steven, Eric and I accompanied the Team on BTTF a second time!
We stopped to grab some food, chatted a bit with the team members who I
hadn't had a chance to spend much time with. Amongst other things, I had
to explain to the Beijing team members that in America, people who are
friends can give eachother hugs even if they aren't dating. (Don't ask!)
Upon devouring our $4 hot dogs, we decided to hit Back to the Future again
since we were running short on time. Liu Qing Hua didn't ride it the
first time (since she gets car sick), but Jian Zeng Jiao convinced her
that she should try it.
I had the unique pleasure of sitting in on Liu
Qing Hua's ride, it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. After
crashing through a few buildings and jumping back to prehistoric times,
Liu Qing Hua started flailing her arms at the screen (trying to deflect
the falling pillars of stone and ice, obviously) and screaming. According
to Flora, the only comprehensible statement she made was something along
the lines of "I'm going to die!" I got a plastic bag ready just in
case she decided to let her hot dog resurface, but I think she was too
busy screaming to get motion sickness.
Hey Wang Xiao Na and Jiang Bong Jun, how many times did you guys vomit on
Unfortunately we were running out of time and we missed the last show of
The WaterWorld Stunt Show (although I understand that Shang Yu and
Qiu Dong Xing enjoyed it). So we decided to mosey on back towards the main
gate where we were all supposed to meet up.
We stopped by the Marvel Comics restaurant thing they apparently just
added to the park. We stopped to take a few pictures, including one with
the Incredible Hulk. I was about to climb up on the Hulk's arm,
but there was a security guard milling around so I chickened out.
Jian Zeng Jiao, Eric, Raffi and Jiang Bong Jun team up with the Incredible
Hulk to battle the forces of Evil!
As we got to the front of the park we ran into more and more of the rest
of the team. As we were waiting for the last few people at the front gate
we decided to take pictures with Hercules and Xena who happened to be
hanging around (I saw He Jing De eying Hercules' sword, I think he wanted
to give it a try). After that we were assualted by a Harpo Marx
impersonator. I must admit, he was a pretty good study, he had most of
the gags down pat. The hat on the rubber band, the telephone that squirts
water in your ear and of course the appropriately timed horn honking.
Once everyone was back together we headed out, but not without a fit of
picture taking mania. (I think the Beijing Team members were trying to
finish up their rolls of film or something). Jeff and I decided to stick
around for dinner, despite the late hour. Eric, Flora and Steven headed
back up to the Bay (ha! jobs! I laugh at thee!) After a somewhat decent
all you can eat hot pot meal, we shared stories, including the "What ever
happened to that girl that liked Shang Yu back in '95?" story. Kong Xiang
Dong, Jian Zeng Jiao and I enjoyed the last few minutes of our time
together, not knowing when we might see eachother again.
Hey, is that Jet Li over there? Let the record show that the dinosaur
drinking bottle was NOT mine. Han Jing bought it and was trying to get me
to finish her Sprite.
Finally we bid our fairwells, and took off for the highway. Leaving LA at
11pm wasn't the best idea, but it was well worth it to spend as much time
with the Beijing Team as possible.
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