In my previous post I spoke of my great journey to the largest building in the world, but like the bastard I am I ended with a cliffhanger just as I took my first steps inside. Today I finally reveal my adventure exploring, eating & shopping in the world’s largest building!
This enormous building, called ‘New Century Global Center’, has many entrances for many purposes. Containing offices, a mall, restaurants, an ice-rink, a water park and hotels. Dazzled where to start I took excited steps into its ridiculously huge mall.
Having been years since my last visit to a mall my initial excitement was justified, but quickly disbursed. Within minutes I remembered why malls are the most boring places on earth. When you’re already satisfied with your current laptop anything a store has to offer seems like unnecessary junk. I had two hours to kill until the restaurants open for lunch, yet each passing shopfront seemed more depressing than the former. Then, to my surprise, I walked upon the perfect place to spend my morning.
Global Center Gaming Arcade Hall
Finally free from window shopping for things I don’t need, the arcade hall was just the entertainment for me. Quite literally as well, since I was the only one there!
As a hardcore gamer I found the games to be surprisingly unresponsive. At times I was questioning whether the games were more interactive than the play/pause button on a remote control. In their defense I guess the venue was oriented for children rather than old gaming snobs such as myself.
After hours of intense gaming and a restaurant too mediocre to waste words on, it was time to visit Global Center’s main attraction.
Chengdu Paradise Island Water Park
In the middle of this monstrous building is an equally impressive indoors water-park. Featuring an artificial sand beach, water slides, river rafting, surfing and the world largest indoor LED screen.
This being Global Center’s main attraction I find it hilarious that it’s closed most of the year. My Chinese friend explained that anything outside of peak summer would be too cold.
I keep thinking if a regular water park can be open during Sweden’s harsh -50 degree winters, why can’t such an ambitious project stay open year around in Chengdu? The obvious answer is the size difference, but that’s just begs the question; if you can’t keep a big space warm, why then make it the largest in the world? Is the sake of it being big more important than keeping it open during the majority of the year?
Not in the mood for swimming I decided to explore on foot instead, I discovered something surprisingly creative. The little children were actually building their sandcastles using motorized caterpillars. It’s no wonder they grow up to out-build us modest-building westerners.
Intercontinental Global Center Chengdu: Mediterranean Village
Further from the beach I approached an entire fake Mediterranean village, complete with pools, hotel rooms, restaurants and even a catholic church. All inside, of course!
It often feels like the architect had more visions than what is yet implemented or perhaps has been scrapped for budgeting reasons. Since no self-respecting Christian would go near the depressingly fake church I assume it is built to some day hold weddings, but at its current stage it feels less like gods house and more like a abandoned headquarters of a serial-killer. I tried looking through its massive cathedral windows up close, but couldn’t tell if there was anything inside.
As I was walking through the streets of the Mediterranean village I had to admit that it reminded me of my previous place of residence Cyprus. Tho the details might not have been right, surprisingly enough the Mediterranean feel was undoubtedly there. So much in fact that I felt a spooky feeling when I finally reached the end of the world.
Approaching the Edge of the World
The beautiful horizon was there, filled with forests, lakes, birds flying and distant mountains. Unlike a beautiful nature scene however, this horizon was merely painted onto the concrete wall.
It reminded me of the spooky scene in the movie Dark City, when John Murdoch discovers that the official way out of his depressing town leads only to a painted brick wall.
I had reached the end of this adventure, but China is full of strange architecture and adventures to explore. So stay tuned for more adventurous posts, and make sure you don’t miss them by signing up to blog updates by email!