Normally when the funfair rolls into town you can hear the music at night, savor wafts of toffee apples on the breeze and see the Ferris wheel towering over the treetops on the town common.
Well, in Shanghai nobody notices even if it's one of the world's largest all the way in from Dubai. The sounds and smell gets sucked into the general horn-honking-meat-juice-cocktail and the Ferris wheel has no match for shanghai's skyline. Literally nobody has heard of the Shanghai Carnival.
Well that's a little un-fair [groan]. Some people did notice and we thought we'd join them to see what will be going down for the next 100 days. Apparently a few fairground rides, a few more that aren't open and not much else.
Slathered over a couple acres of derelict expo site, the Shanghai Carnival is borrowing the ticketing and crowd control system from the Expo. Expect to endure the whole cattle-grid rigmarole one last time. You basically pre-pay for rides as part of the ticket price with a choice of 50 or 100RMB (which gets you an extra 10 for being so ace).
You'll not feel so ace when you realize there's only about 3 rides worth going on that are actually running. Yes the Ferris wheel looked like it was turning before (The sacks they've put in there looked so lifelike from a distance). Most of the big thrill rides are not yet operational, the American Eggs, the Corkscrew, the Terminator - all closed. Hopefully they'll be up and rattling the fillings out of punters before too long.
So instead we're had our fillings rattled out on the hilariously fun Stern Von Rio, stomachs churned on the Pirate Ship, inner ears confused on the Chair-o-planes and brains completely dried out on probably the lamest the ghost train in the world.
For some reason the star attraction is the Grasshopper. The queues were almost all the way across one empty expanse of concrete. For sure the Shanghai Carnival doesn't quite have all the charm of a town-fields funfair - I didn't even puke up my candy floss. They didn't have any.