Well, it’s been closed since long before we moved here, but on September 1, the Үндэсний Сөёл Амралт Газар, or Children’s Park as it’s more commonly known re-opened. Kinda. It’s actually still under construction, but they wanted to have an introductory opening with the 12 or 13 rides that are ready to go. They are also selling tickets to the rides at 50% off during this period. They plan to have an official opening next summer, although there will be ice skating and other activities throughout the winter.
We knew Sept. 1 would be a zoo, so we decided to wait a couple of days. We should have waited a couple of more. Don’t get me wrong. Despite the ongoing construction, it is a beautiful place. There’s lots of nice green grass. Granted, it’s all roped off so that kids can’t play on it, but at least it’s there. The rides seemed to be in good shape and the surroundings, fountains, lake and walkway were all attractive. However….
They only had one place open to buy ride tickets. I waited in line for more than 2 hours to buy tickets. Sadly, rich people in Mongolia are not accustomed to waiting, and rich people were disproportionately represented at the park. So, many people would just go directly to the front of the line and try to get someone up there to buy their tickets for them, or just butt into line. Very frustrating. Finally, I got to the front. I was pleased to find that Joel did not have to have tickets. We were going to go on the boats, the merry-go-round, and something called the air bicycle. First, they told me I couldn’t use my credit card, despite the fact that they had a credit card reader and signs up saying that they accepted cards. I said, no problem, and named off the three rides for which I wished to buy tickets. They said I couldn’t buy tickets for the boats; I couldn’t really understand the reason why. So, I scrambled and bought tickets for bumper cars instead.
Fortunately, as soon as I came out of the line, Elijah said, “I don’t want to ride the boats today.” Crisis narrowly averted! We walked over to the merry-go-round and rode without incident. We headed for the aerial bicycle. Again, the same frustration as person after person crowded past us to get to their friends and family members saving places for them at the head of the line. Finally, we got on the ride and rode uneventfully. It was way past lunchtime now, so we headed to the nearby “Grab & Go” stand. Again, the pushing and the shoving. Just as I was about to make it to the window, the announcement came, “The food is all gone.” I headed to the next snack stand. The same scenario was repeated. There’s only one snack stand left. The line wasn’t long and I got almost to the window in time to watch the last burgers go out the door. Frustrated and hungry, we queued up for the bumper cars. After waiting a long time and making no progress, I went back to the ticket sales line and sold my 3 tickets to 3 people in line.
I think we need to wait for things to settle into more of a routine before we try that again.