539: Metamorphasis-A Change in the World
Shekou has been my home for five years now. It may not seem like a long time, but it’s enough for me to witness some enormous changes take place on this land I’ve grown to love. I’ve watched the dirty mud path leading to my school change into a busy, crowded road. I’ve watched the ocean slowly get filled in. I’ve watched the strawberry field I always went to get destroyed, just to build another high-rise out of millions in this metropolis. Then, something happened, and it changed everything: SeaWorld was taken to a whole new level.
I remember when SeaWorld was nothing but a few restaurants, bars, and the retired Minghua ferry. That was it, nothing more. Sure, it wasn’t much, but it was enough to make for an amazing experience. Going to SeaWorld after school used to be so relaxing, just chilling in a quaint café without all the city noises. It was a place without tens of thousands of purring car engines, stores blasting pop music, or the buzzing of an excited mob. Although we didn’t have all the fancy shops and attractions there are now, we also didn’t have all the crazy crowds and massive lines unique to all the major attractions in any city that’s worthy of calling itself ‘popular’. SeaWorld used to be a peaceful retreat to escape to when I needed a break. I remember going there with friends before our school’s spring concert, going to Starbucks and wondering about the night ahead of us. During the end of the school year, our teacher would take us to McDonalds for a sweet treat, complete with spilled tears and warm embraces. The venue held many memories for me, and I’ll always treasure the precious moments I spent there, whether in joy or despair. It was the first place that I truly enjoyed going to ever since coming back from Canada, and it always made my day.
Later on, two or three years ago, there was a corner of SeaWorld that was always fenced up, the area behind the ferry. There was a sign that said it was under construction, but nobody knew why. It used to be a favorite pastime of mine to try and somehow peek through that fence, to see what was going on. I always loved imagining what might be hidden back there, all the possible treasures just waiting to be discovered. That place could be filled with gold, diamonds, and pearls, I would think, or maybe even priceless antiques! There could be treasure maps hidden there, and nobody will ever know about it! I knew it was as unlikely as it snowing in Shenzhen, so I didn’t hold out much hope. So, even when it was revealed that what was really there was an extension of SeaWorld, I was still quite excited.
The Christmas of the year 2013, the new SeaWorld was revealed. At that time, I couldn’t wait to go take a tour of the enlarged version of paradise. The first time I went there, it was just as amazing as I imagined it, maybe even better than that. All I could see were the new shops waiting to be discovered, and more exotic food to taste. That excitement didn’t even last for six months. The thing is, when we found out about this new and interesting place, so did the rest of the world. Suddenly, it seemed like SeaWorld was where everyone wanted to be. The people just kept on filing in, and it kept on getting crazier and crazier. At the same time, the old boat was turned into a hotel, which naturally attracted even more visiting tourists. Soon enough, crowds were everywhere. They made it hard for us to get home during the weekends by car, because everyone seemed to think that they could park anywhere they want and block an entire road. By then, SeaWorld had lost most of its original appeal. I felt like I was an ant, and a whole army of predators had discovered my hiding place.
Through this experience, I realized that living near a tourist attraction isn’t all that fabulous. I used to think that it would be awesome to live near Windows of the World, because then I could easily go there whenever I wished to. SeaWorld sure changed my perspective. Now, I see how your entire life changes because of one attraction. It was crazy to see the nearly deserted square turn into the place for everyone to be. To be honest, I don’t exactly hate the way it turned out, but I sure don’t love it either. This crazy change altered not only my life, but my perspective of the world, too.