Presenting the Happy New World Happy Slide! (Happy.)
The concept is this: they take quivering, maddened, and shaking masses of flesh at the top of this thing, pulverize them into a long metal tube, and then digest them through five stories of shopping mall before ejecting them out at the bottom floor in bulbous, docile, tube-shape capsules of fat and sweat, inhibitions erased through petrifying fear and direct threat of death.
Shanghai, if there is a better, more dramatic metaphor for late-stage global capitalism than this, I’d like to see it.
But yeah, we’re totally down for this! It’s a Happy Slide! Sounds like terrifying fun!
The Happy Slide hit the Chinese interwebs a few weeks ago, and blew up into a viral phenomenon inspiring awe, fear, incredulity, and excitement among the netizenery. This is pretty much exactly what it was supposed to do to get people talking about the shopping mall. The slide was inspired by a nearly identical one currently operational in the Singapore airport. Shanghai’s version is 18.9 meters high, 54 meters long, and takes 16 seconds of your day to get down. The stainless steel tube has a drop at the start to get your momentum going and then spins around in two loops on the way to the ground floor.
After undergoing some safety checks -- the Official Mall Slide Safety Task Force, I'm guessing -- it recently opened to the public (-ish — details on how to try out the slide at the bottom).
So SmartShanghai went to go test it out!
Alas, when we got out there they told us we were too big and fat for the thing, and wouldn’t let us go on.
The person running it gave me a sympathetic shake of the head and gestured tai gao le, tai gao le. Gotta say, hats off to China for finding yet another way to tell me I’m too big and fat for this world! Respect!
But hey, it’s heartening to see they’ve got some safety standards. Kudos.
You must be between 1.3 and 1.9 meters in height and under 100kgs to qualify to ride.
(Feel free to go for the easy fat joke in the comments. I'm pitching you a slow ball here.)
After, sizing up the SmartShanghai.com photographer, I thought to myself, “hey, this is Shanghai, I can easily find another photographer if this one plunges to her doom in a mall in Pudong.”
And so we strapped her in.
Enter the brave and the talented, Rhiannon! Our official SmSh slide tester!
And here is her perspective going down the thing:
Yay! Good times...
The Post Slide Interview
So! How was it! Was it like a roller coaster?
Rhiannon: Ugh, It's good to be alive. I didn't pee my pants or anything. It was… pretty alright! Yeah! It’s not really like a roller coaster. It’s like an… um… well, a slide. It was a little scary from the moment you take off because it has that drop. You get that similar feeling to when your stomach drops from the gravity on a roller coaster. But after that it’s just a slide that loops around a few times to the bottom.
Is this the best mall slide you’ve ever been on?
R: Well, this is the only one I've ever been on, so I have to say… yeah!
I saw them giving you some instructions there. What did they tell you?
R: They we like, “Lie flat on your back, don’t reach out and try to touch the sides or the top, stay calm, everything’s fine, everything’s fine, don’t panic, and enjoy the ride.”
Did any rivets or screws catch you on the butt on the way down?
R: Nah, it’s a smooth tube…
Would you do it again?
R: Um. Yeah sure! I might get bored after two or three more tries though.
Man, it looks really scary. Is it scary?
R: You know, it’s just the idea that’s scary. The actual doing of the thing is not scary at all. Once you get passed the idea, and you go for it, it’s not scary. Like life, right?
Very true. There you have it, y’all. Life lessons gleaned from a big slide in a mall in Pudong.
How to Ride the Slide
Aye that's the rub. What they're doing now to avoid a huge line of people is requiring you to spend at least 1,000rmb at the mall to get let on. Ouch, right. Crazy.
However, I talked to another laowai guy who just got out of the thing and he said he found a place on the fifth floor towards the back, scanned a QR code and then let him on as well.
So… maybe that second way, right? That's the sneaky way. NOTE: No guarantees with this, though. Don't go all the way out there and get all pissed when they start talking up this 1000rmb rate. We expect this will change yet again after May 1 when the initial crowds and buzz dies down. The rate will probably drop significantly. We'll update the article if (when) their rules change.
It’s operating Monday to Friday and on weekends after May 1 in three time slots: 12pm to 2pm; 3pm to 5pm; 6pm to 8pm.
Here's the address.