The Audacity of Slope

After a decade in real estate, I can safely say that right now, if you want to see the most creative buildings and structures in the world, you go to China.  It’s not Dubai.

On almost every trip, I’m left speechless by a building or structure that is breath-taking in its creativity and sheer audacity.

Let me present Exhibit H.  Nestled deep in the mountains west of Beijing, this serpentine structure is so large as to be visible, several zoom levels up on Google Earth.

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What is it?

This is none other than the longest waterslide in the world.  Made of some kind of welded metal, meant to be ridden on these bamboo rafts with no harnesses, and shooting through power transmission lines and what looks like a transformer, this slide starts 500 feet up.  At ground level, you can’t even see the beginning.  The edges of the slide look uneven and the contraption looks completely unsafe.

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The local story (in my mind: legend) is that the villagers ignored the authorities, who told them not to build it because it was unsafe, and they built it anyway.

I would like to nominate this ride for an award.

On another note, the sheer audacity and the mind-blowingness of this waterslide reminds me of the time I was in Changchun and stumbled on an AK-47 shooting attraction at a theme park, but that’s a story for another time.

China is in many ways a blank slate.  It’s a country that few outsiders understand.  Visiting it always leaves me in awe.  If you think you know China, you likely don’t.

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