I could see the fairground from high up from a nearby peak. Even from the distance it looked abandoned. Later when I got closer and could see through the stout fencing, I could see that it had been deserted with all the rides, buildings and signs like the Marie Celeste.
I walked along the road checking the perimeter fencing for somewhere to get in. Occasionally there were gaps and holes, but these had been carefully filled or repaired with wire. Even where the ground had been washed away to leave spaces large enough to crawl had been stopped with metal poles or wood.
Eventually, like a spy I found a large storm pipe that went under the road and fence into the other side. During a heavy rain it must wash down the hill side through here and into the reservoir. The weather had been dry for weeks and I scrambled through easily to emerge in the wooded banks of the reservoir.
I walked back towards the funfair through thick reed bed and refound the perimeter fence. Inside the reservoir area security was slacker and I was easily able to climb a side gate into the fair.
It was silent, but I walked carefully between the buildings which I imagined were chalets.
I walked past one of the main buildings, overgrown with climbing plants and shrubs. It looked like a restaurant and inside expensive lights hung from the ceiling, menus faded on the walls. The doors were open but I didn’t dare go inside. I’ve no idea about Chinese law but to be caught wandering outside seemed a lesser offense than being inside.
I soon came out into what would once have been the central square. Many of the attractions branched out from here.
I gradually made my way towards the tall pagoda I had seen from the hill. It was reached by a long narrow bridge. Below canoes still lay usable on the bank of the reservoir and around them the heads of dragons that must have once been the symbols of this theme park. Now they stare sadly back at me abandoned.
I walk gingerly over the bridge, it feels solid and at the end I can see a lone security guard playing some game on his phone. I walk on hoping he may be friendly enough to let me look inside the pagoda. I’m only a few paces from him before he sees me. I try to explain what I’m doing pointing at my camera and the pagoda, but he’s not interested and shoes me away. I walk back over the bridge and he follows me pointing towards the main gate that I would never be able to climb.
I give him the slip and double back to climb over the side gate where I got in and find a heap of motor boats, their engines still attached and a shed of dusty bumper cars.
It was tempting to stay and look for more, later I would rue not entering the buildings, but maybe it was better to leave with what I have.