I have heard that many people think I sound bitter in this article about the ticket thing and about the beijing team thing. I just want to say the following four things:

1. I had a really, really good time at Magic Mountain. It was lots of fun and I enjoyed myself a great deal!

2. I wasn’t upset about the tickets. It was annoying paying full fare, sure, but I certainly harbored no ill-will towards anyone about it. Both Peter and Matthew from U.C. Irvine wrote and appologized, which was very kind of them, but for the record, I really wasn’t that upset about it.

3. I wasn’t upset about the Beijing Team. Like I state below, I don’t know the team so it would be silly for me to assume I’d hang out with any of them. If I were friends with them you can be sure I’d be hanging out with them too. My only point was that it was funny how it was supposed to be a “hang out with the team” event, when I had no interaction with them (and never expected any). I am certainly not upset about it and am not upset about anyone who DID get to hang out with them. If you’re their friend there’s no reason you shouldn’t be enjoying their company.

4. I had a really, really good time at Magic Mountain. It was lots of fun and I enjoyed myself a great deal!

Anyway, I changed the article to take out all the stuff with any dry humor and that might be interpreted as “bitter”. If you want to read the old version it’s around somewhere.

The day after the 3rd annual collegiate tournament many people from the tournament went to Magic Mountain. It was billed as a “hang out with the Beijing Team at Magic Mountain!” event, but knowing how things work, I didn’t expect that would be the case. I actually had a really great time hanging out with my friends (Judy, David, Karen and Larry). ^_^

I had been told by numerous people that the 6 Flags Magic Mountain Amusement Park was just an hour or so north of Irvine. Well .. I don’t know what kind of car THEY were driving, but I sped at around 90 mph and it still took almost two hours. Needless to say, I was late. We arrived around 11:30 – 11:45, which didn’t worry me too much because I was told by several U.C. Irvine folks that Matt would be at the gates with tickets until 1:00. After 30 minutes of standing there picking my nose, no one resembling Matt was to be seen. I evntually gave up and shelled out the $36.00 per person (x 2 people = $72.00 !!!!) to get in the park.

After walking a short while Judy and I hooked up with Karen, David and Larry who had just experienced the “Viper”. We walked up towards Samurai Summit and got in line for the “Ninja”. We also ran in to Peter (U.C. Irvine guy) who said that they didn’t wait out front for us because they weren’t sure if we’d show up or not. But didn’t they say someone would be at the front gate until 1:00? Yes, Karen confirmed they said that. I even confirmed the night before that I would be arriving and to be sure and hold my tickets. Oh well .. I guess some things just aren’t meant to be. Besides, I was too nervous to care.

Oh, I should probably also mention that the last time I had been to an amusement park and gone on rides was in the early 80’s at Bush Gardens in Florida. I nearly had an angina attack going on that double-looper down there. Basically, I was traumatized for life and had become a total wuss on amusement park rides (which is odd, considering the way I drive) I thought the Ninja looked like a good starter-up ride. Not too crazy .. not too tame. I had forgotten about the screaming thing though — my head nearly exploded on the first drop. Here’s a word of advice: don’t hold your breath .. you’ll regret it.

After learning my lesson on the “Ninja” we walked down the hill and explored some of the calmer rides. We rode on the “Log Jammer” (tame) and the “Scrambler” (VERY tame) and I watched dutifully as my group of friends braved “Riddler’s Revenge”. Afterwards they assured me that I was indeed too wussy and it was a good thing I didn’t partake.

We saw a bunch of Berkeley people with Beijing people doing the rock-climbing wall too. It looked like Pat came in a distant third to Kong Xiang Dong and Li Jing. Actually, a very distant third .. but heck .. they’re professional athletes … and plus Pat was climbing the most difficult wall.

Oh, one thing I should mention: unlike many other people at the Park, I have no real connection with the Beijing Wushu Team. Aside from my teacher being an ex-member and training with them briefly last year, I don’t actually know any of them, and they certainly don’t know me. I’ve never fallen in to the category of people who have either known them from China, or have spent lots of time with them, or even speak Mandarin. So, as I expected, I never once spoke to any of them (or made eye-contact for that matter). That being the case, I don’t really have any interesting pictures or anecdotes about the team. I think Raffi has some on his page so you might want to check there.

After the Riddler’s Revenge we went and partook of our $15.00 lunch fare. We had the lady guess our ages and went on the gravitron thingee. That was probably not the best thing to do after lunch. We also rode the “Tidal Wave” and took the tram around the park while our stomaches digested the grease. We walked from there around the north side of the park enjoying increasingly tamer rides. The tamest of which was probably the “Granny Grand Prix”. You sit on the car as it takes you around a course at a whooping 1/2 mph. At least we got to see some poor animals caged up.

Judy went on the .. uh .. well .. I don’t remember what it’s called, but I have a picture of it here which you can see. Then her and Karen (the bravehearts, that they are) went on some big rollercoaster thingee while David, Larry and I played some video games. Then we made our way out of the park at 6:00 and drove up I-5 to the Bay Area. Along the way we stopped at a Denny’s with service that made Dave and Busters seem like Nazi Germany. I finally arrived back home around 1:00 barely able to keep my eyes open.

I had a lot of fun and enjoyed my trip a lot .. but next time I think I’ll just go to Disneyland … the rides are more my speed.

Oh .. and if you read this hoping to hear fun stories or anecdotes about the Beijing Team, sorry to disappoint you, but I’m sure if you go to raffi’s web page he’ll have lots of great pictures and stories for you to check out.

You can check out my take on the tournament from the day before too.