Tag Archives: 紫荆公园

Zijing Ferris Wheel Working. Or Is It?

It's the largest in the world. I swear! It also looks like something out of Stargate
It’s the largest in the world. I swear! It also looks like something out of Stargate

This _________ (fill in the blank) the biggest in the world!

–Just About Any Chinese Person Who Loves Their City.

This is not meant as a slight against Chinese people, but it’s more of a comment on Chinese urban development. Chinese construction projects sometimes have prideful ambitions behind them. It seems like most developing or developed cities want to have the biggest “something” in the world. People love to brag about their hometown. Changzhou is no different. Tianning Pagoda, for example, is supposed to be the largest wooden pagoda on the planet. Over in Zijing Park 紫荆公园, there is allegedly the biggest Ferris Wheel without internal support spokes. This is why the structure looks like a big letter O.

For years, there was one problem with that last example. Zijing’s Ferris wheel actually didn’t work for the longest time. Each time you would go to the park, the carriage cars always remained stationary. That changed. The last time I went there, the cars were moving. I watched for awhile. Only, I noticed that nobody was actually in the cars. I reasoned that it was the middle of a work day. So, I walked around the thing looking for a place to pay for a ticket and get on.

That proved very difficult. The Ferris wheel is in the middle of a body of water. The boarding station is under the pond itself. Eventually, I found some elevators. They didn’t work. I found a staircase. It was locked. I also noticed a few smiling locals trying to figure the same thing, only to shake their heads when they realized access remained denied. Yet, I take this as a positive sign. If the locals are intrigued, the moving carriage cars must be a recent development. The fact that the cars are moving may indicate this this attraction may one day be open to the public.


Unreadable Corridor of Cognition


The architecture looks futuristic. You are standing in Tianning’s Zijing Park 紫荆公园, and glass walls flank you. If you look forward, you are have a side-on view of the big spokeless Ferris wheel at its carrier cars.Both of the buildings are locked and unused. You are standing in what a park sign, in English, calls, “The Corridor of Cognition.” Sounds, fancy and literary, right? It did for me. I was wandering around this park, saw the sign, and said, “Ooooh! I want to be in the corridor of cognition! It might enhance my cognitive abilities! It might make me smarter!”

It didn’t. This is a weird place. The glass is frosted so that it displays white pictures and white Chinese descriptions. Both sides of the corridor have timelines from the dawn of history to the present. So, each begins with something prehistorical and ends with a display of wrist watches. I think one side is western themed, and the other is Chinese. I only say this because one time line as ancient Egyptian details. So, what is my problem?

It’s all really hard to look at. The white characters and illustrations are against a light colored background. There is no contrast. I couldn’t use my translation app to decipher anything, and if I had a Chinese friend they would just squint and have a hard time reading their native language. In short, this was really poorly designed. You would think that having a white fonts necessitates a darker background for readability. It’s design 101. Anybody who has tried to ever do a website knows this.