Tucked away, in the center of the Yunnan Nationalities Village is a delightful slice of Americana which I like to call Jurassic Park.
It's a little island/park full of dinosaurs made of upholstery foam, under which are located tiny little outdoor speakers spewing out helplessly distorted Godzilla sounds. Most of the dinosaurs made the same sound. This park was a cross between Twilight Zone technology and The Simpsons amusement park clichés. Now this is no Itchy and Scratchy Land, but it does contain all the joy and wonder that you'd expect from a hastily thrown together and severely under maintained theme park.
I couldn't stop laughing once we got here. If you're in Kunming, and you really want to find some old-fashioned fun like you haven't had since the last time you saw a Godzilla movie. This is definitely the place to go.
At the gate of the park, a T-rex head looms hundreds of feet above you, uh, well it would if it had a body, but nevertheless, it belches out a horrible scream every few seconds. My host for the day claimed that it was calling out my name, "allllll... allllll"
I think she was right. Incidentally, the eyes and the mouth opened and closed, though not necessarily in sync with the noise it produced.
Not far inside the park, we find a pair of dinosaurs engaged in mortal combat. They're not fighting over anything that I can see. Perhaps it is a philosophical dispute over China's revolutionary past versus their current trend toward reform.
When we arrived, we knew that they could fight because of the tracks beneath their feet, but as we watched for a while, they didn't do anything. So, I yelled out "DOU!" which means "fight!" and sure enough, their movements were sound activated and they snapped into action. They slid to within about three feet of each other, and the dinosaur on the right tipped his head forward and back.
It was no Godzilla versus Mothra mind you, but certainly, the next best thing!
True to form, this park had a little kiddie train, with a dinosaur head at the front. It hadn't moved for a few years, based on the amount of bushes that were found growing on the tracks.
There weren't too many people there the day that we chose to explore the Chinese Jurassic Park, so there wasn't anybody to appreciate the "Yippee-i-oh-ki-yay" that I was screaming at the time this picture was taken.
You may notice that I don't have my legs straddling the dinosaur as any self-respecting prehistoric cowboy would have done. Cowboys don't mind sitting on horses because they're nowhere near as dirty as this dinosaur was. Heck, its been standing there for 60 million years... What could I expect?
We were really lucky to get there at feeding time. Here we see a T-rex munching on some old furniture.
You won't find this Jurassic Park listed in any tourist manual. It isn't exactly embraced by the locals as an important cultural legacy, and there isn't even anything there to buy, beyond the 65 cent admission. But it is, without a doubt the best reminder of home that I have yet to find in China.