Saturday, October 17, 2009

China's Biggest Screen Show

I'm probably the last person in Beijing who hadn't yet checked out The Place, or 世贸天阶 Shi Mao Tian Jie, a few blocks north of Silk Street Market until tonight.

It's a wide open-concept mall, with such names as Zara and Starbucks, Golden Jaguar Restaurant and Adidas that opened at the end of 2007.

The highlight is the giant LED screen that stretches 2,296 feet, or equivalent to the length of a city block (in North America). It is 88 feet wide, 80 feet up in the air suspended by pillars. The massive screen is second only to the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas.

When we got there after dinner, a number of text messages were displayed on there, probably paying customers who thought it would be cool to have their marriage proposals for the rest of the world to see -- "I love you, will you marry me?"

Kids were either busy skateboarding or throwing up giant round foil balloons that aren't filled with too much helium so that they could throw them up in the air and then try to catch them in the area. Some were of Pokemon, others were colourful rainbow swirls.

Because the place is such an attraction, companies are taking advantage of marketing their products. Tonight we saw some Volkswagen cars that were painted in fantastic designs, one even looking like a qipao complete with the embroidered frog buttons.

And then every 15 minutes a show comes on the giant screen above. It took a while to figure out what was going on, a volcanic eruption, which made it seem like rocks were falling on our heads.

But then there was some kind of Chinese fairy, complete with a full bosom and bird-like wings who flew around in an idyllic scene and eventually clashed with this violent eruption. At the climax, she felt like she could not sustain much longer and started to cry, her tears creating these gem-like rocks that finally triumphed over evil.

The 10-minute show was quite long to watch, considering there wasn't much of a plot. Also our necks were sore from looking straight up. It's no wonder that most of the people weren't interested in watching anymore, probably because they had seen the same show 15 minutes earlier.

I'd love to come back again in the winter, when the skating rink is set up... and skate around with the LED lights above me. I hope I don't crash into anyone, too mesmerized by the giant screen to be watching where I'm going...

1 comment:

ks said...

i had the good fortune watching this wonderful modern led display last year in beijing. the theme was more like star war. they should charge admission covering the cost. but then this one way to attract customers to the open mall. it is called "the place"