Category Archives: kitsch

VIDEO REPORT – FLOATING DRAGON AMUSEMENT PARK – GRADE A-

What does it mean to feel nostalgic about an abandoned place?

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It has been almost two years since Burbex posted one of his first explorations, Floating Dragon Lake Amusement Park. As one of his favorites sites, he feels a kind of nostalgia about the place. Burbex never visited the place when it was open, but a few Chinese friends have mentioned they loved it when they were children.

Nostalgia is all about the past though and Burbex is keen to move into new and exciting projects. Burbex is now proud to present the new Burbex Youtube Channel, whose first episode features a return to Floating Dragon Lake Amusement Park climbing up the park’s iconic Ferris Wheel. You can open the video above.

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Burbex first explores the super spooky ghost house, the aquarium, the duck boat yards, the planetarium, and then finally moves through to climb one of the arms of the sixty-four metre tall Ferris Wheel. Fans who have been visiting the website for a while will know that Burbex is not so great with heights.

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For die hard fans of the website, don’t worry, Burbex is still going to be out there sneaking into places and stealing shots of the best urbex sites that Beijing has to offer. In the meantime, be sure to hit subscribe at the following link so that you can keep up to date with all the newest videos:

SUBSCRIBE TO BURBEX YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Also be sure to follow Burbex at all of your favorite social media channels, and don’t forget to hit those heart buttons, punch those like tabs, and leave your questions and comments.

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Burbex wants to thank everyone for the fantastic support over the last two years, and he hopes that with your further help and encouragement, Burbex can keep on making strides in urban exploration. Be sure to check out the original report below, and Burbex can’t wait to see your comments and suggestions.

FLOATING DRAGON LAKE AMUSEMENT PARK – BEIJING – GRADE B+

 

 

 

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JINGJIN NEW TOWN PART 2 – TRANSVESTITE THEME PARK – GRADE B+

In the first part about Jingjin New Town we took a look at an entire city that doesn’t seem to have lived up to anyone’s dreams yet, except for Freddy Kruger who probably stalks the Americana suburbia at night. Leaving the fake suburbs though, there seemed to be a fairy tale castle on the horizon, but what’s this? First Burbex and Jude had to pass through an abandoned amusement park – Scooby Doo anyone?

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The gate to the place reads “Emperor’s View Hotspring and Ski Slope” – peaking over the red wall Burbex was disappointed by a distinct lack of a ski slope, but there were the occasional shouts of Chinese joy from the nearby hotspings. Burbex was determined to make a detour around any spot where beached Chinese men were soaking their bunions.

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Fortunately there was plenty more to see in the park. An abandoned swimming pool, always one of Jude’s favorites, glowed a gentle green with the buildup of algae probably mutating in the toxic smog of the day.

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The main feature of the park was a lake with a fake volcano in the middle of it. Climbing into the crater of the volcano, Burbex found decrepit red lights and smoke machines, presumably acting as a backdrop for the dance stage in front. How many sacrifices did they make to their heathen gods, Burbex wondered.

rocky-reflection

The lake was of course surrounded by all kinds of demi-gods, all present to show their respect to the volcano god. Below we can see the god of weird-looking clowns. His dark eyes looked a bit lonely, maybe he would have been happier at Floating Dragon Lake Amusement Park. That place always managed to cheer up Burbex.

unhappy-clown

Aside from the more typical demigods, there was the minor deity of Transvestite Pirate Queen, she may not have been so popular back then, but she’s coming out in a big way now – ha ha!

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Of course wherever the Trannie Pirate Queen goes, so too do her wild animal pals, “Dirty Nelly the Elephant”…

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and fearsome “Old One-Eye the Lioness”

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Various marine-themed slides and chutes also empty out into the vacant swimming pool. It is hard to imagine anyone ever having played in the place, but then beyond the poolside, things got a little more lively.

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A ride called “Drag Fusion” must have been inspired by the Trannie Pirate Queen…

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and this distinctly sketchy ride reminded Burbex of his childhood fear of the chains breaking and hurtling into the distance to a slow and bloody demise.

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What can be more comforting in the early afternoon than a quick ride on the carousel? Which horse do you think Burbex would choose?

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None other that Old Red sporting a mohawk that even BA Baracus would be proud of. By the way, Burbex doesn’t usually wear mascara – only when visiting trannie theme parks.

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Of course, young people these days don’t appreciate simple pleasures like riding an artificial horse going round in a circle, they want dune buggies with flat tyres…

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and everyone’s favorite, The Bumper Cars. While Burbex is a big fan of abandoned theme parks, by the end of the visit he was left feeling a little…

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deflated.

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Moving from the the suburbs of Jingjin New Town, and finding The Transvestite Theme Park, there was only one place left to visit, that shimmering chimera on the horizon The Shining Hotel.

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If you are interested in transgender theme parks, or regular theme parks for that matter, be sure to take a look at Floating Dragon Lake Amusement Park and if that doesn’t float your boat, then the water park at The Great Mall of China is for you.

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Just click the buttons on the left to follow Burbex on Twitter and Facebook for new great sites every week. Plus if you are interested in coming along, send an email to burbex@outlook.com – just don’t forget your mascara.

 

 

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JINGJIN NEW TOWN PART 1 – AMERICAN BEAUTY – GRADE B+

Ghost town… let that phrase sink in for a moment.

Does it conjure up images of Wild West one horse towns, tumble weeds rolling through the dusty streets, the doors swinging on the nearby saloon, the pianola playing haunting tunes under ghostly fingertips?

Now, take that image and throw it away. China is now the world leader in ghost towns, and they are nothing like anything you can imagine. Maverick urbexer Jude pestered Burbex to go on a roadtrip to the dusty suburbs of Tianjin to check out a new city called Jingjin New Town.

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You may remember that Burbex is no stranger to Tianjin having explored the ghostly Tianjin Chest Hospital earlier in the year. This was a completely different kind of project altogether though. As Burbex and Jude left the uncommonly blue skies of Beijing and went across the border into Hebei, the smog got thicker and thicker.

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From the end of the Tianjin subway line, a minibus arrived just in time to take us the fifty kilometres to Jingjin New Town. Neither Burbex nor Jude knew what they were looking for, but as they travelled further the already toxic smog closed in further almost blocking the view altogether.

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Finally, poking through the smog clouds the peaks of some of the faux-ancient buildings could be seen. Enormous constructions were everywhere stretching as far as the eye could see (which wasn’t actually that far in the smog). Burbex and co. jumped off at one of the many entrances, and went into a packed internet bar for refreshments.

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No wonder the complex was empty, Burbex thought as he looked at the packed net bar (note the girl picking her nose up front). This was probably the premier entertainment venue in the whole city.

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The first part of the complex that the duo investigated were the tower blocks, which while in a quite lovely neighbourhood, were for the most part completely empty. A local resident said that it was common for families to buy apartments here so they could gain urban household registration for their children, meaning they have certain advantages in examinations. At the same time they could still retain their rural registrations which has other benefits.

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Sneaking up the roof of these near-empty buildings was a cinch. Out of the smog mirage, beyond the luxury villas and faux-americana villas, there seemed to be a palace calling to the explorers.

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The apartment blocks were divided from the villas by a scuzzy filth infested ditch which the explorers chose to circumnavigate. Taking the long way round the urbexers finally found their way into a parallel universe. Americana never looked so good. Burbex was just waiting for Freddy Kruger to appear and tear this dream to shreds.

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Somewhat like the The Olympic Homko Ghost Town in Beijing, the houses are beautifully designed and are obviously intended for commuters, since most of them have adjoining garages and outdoor parking.

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The houses are all very similar and just go on for ever and ever as the map below suggests. This was just one small section of a suburban area that stretches as far as the eye can see.

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Of course, Freddy Kruger was not required to know that this place was not some beautiful dream. Many of the buildings are completely empty and falling down.

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The ones beside the river are in slightly better condition, but this is only because they have been squatted by the country bumpkin contingent of security guards, migrant workers, and janitors who run the place.

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The security guards seemed very concerned when they saw the duo taking photos and ushered them away. When asked how many of these places were occupied the security guard replied about ninety percent. This was obviously bullshit as not a soul could be seen on this winter day.

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Pushing further into suburbia the villas grew larger and more glorious until they suddenly transform into full-on mansions basking by marshy lakes. The irony of these mansions is that they are even more dilapidated than the smaller ones.

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Built on marsh lands, the mansions are prone to flooding, and most of the ones observed were impassable on the ground and basement floors. This simply meant that Burbex and Jude had a fair amount of climbing to do to get into the upper floors.

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But once onto the rooftops and the view of the sun slowly setting through the smog over the rest of the mansions was well-worth the visit. Burbex and Jude thought that they had already seen the best of what Jingjin New Town had to offer, but there was still a great deal left for them to discover.

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By the way, if you are interested in real ghostly locations like The Qianmen Gate Haunted Hotel or cursed places with horror stories of dead workers and terrible fengshui like Longyan International Park, be sure to check out the rest of the site. Also be sure to check out this great article from Lazarus about Ghost Cities in China.

In the meantime, if you ever want to come out exploring, just get in contact with Brin by email at burbex@outlook.com, and you can set up a time to meet. Don’t forget to bring your pollution mask.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OLYMPIC MASCOT MALL – BEIJING – GRADE B+

It has been eight years since the Olympics were held here in Beijing. The Beijing Olympics was the first international event that catapulted China into the world’s attention. At the time there were signs of the Olympics everywhere, but since 2008 these symbols have all but disappeared.

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The few signs that were left behind have rotted away like The Olympic Homko Ghost Town are a sore reminder to most Beijingers that the Olympics was only a short-lived glory for the city and the country. It was with great pleasure then that Burbex found not only a mall abandoned during construction, but also the the abandoned Olympic mascots rotting in the long dry grass.

Beibei's Swan Dive

For those of you not familiar with the Beijing Olympic mascots, there were five of them called Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, and Yingying, and Nini. Their names all stuck together “Beijing Huanying Ni” means “Beijing Welcomes You.” Above you can see Beibei doing a swan dive into the yellow Bejing soil.

Huanhuan's Shame

Jingjing, who was black and white and looked like a panda was noticeably absent,  but Huanhuan, who is red and has hair like the Olympic flame, was found hiding her shame behind a bush.

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Yingying in yellow was trying a bit of cycling on a very unreliable looking bike, no wonder she crashed into the thorny bushes – poor ying ying. For an animated Olympic mascot she does have a nice rump like you can see below…

Yingying's Bicycle Bootie

The last of the mascots Burbex found was the reclusive Nini, who in his post-Olympic shame tried to hide his green face from the camera. But wait… what’s this? Could it be that there is one more mascot to add to the five?

Nini's Disgrace

Of course, who could possible forget the Paralympic mascot Niuniu the Cow, which literally means “Little Cow”. Burbex was not quite sure what the connection between para-Olympians and juvenile bovines was, but in Chinese “niu” can also mean “awesome” as in the popular Chinese phrase “niubi” which literally means “cow’s cunt” or “fucking cool!” Does this means the Paralympics was “fucking cool? or a load of bull?

福牛乐乐

As you can see in the background, it was not the mascots that first drew Burbex to this yellow grass paradise, but rather the incomplete shopping mall, split in two and hidden behind a very fancy French restaurant.

Hidden in the Dry Grass

The mall itself is located close to the embassy district around Liangma Qiao (that’s Shining Horse Bridge in English – lots of animals in this report). The waste land around the mall is covered in weeds and dry grass that cover up all kinds of abandoned structures, but it was the mall that Burbex was interested in early one morning.

Ray of Light

Taking advantage of the morning sunlight, Burbex descended into the swampy cellar, where sunbeams were breaking their way through holes in the concrete to light up the subterranean world. The ground is soft underfoot and reminds you that large areas of Beijing used to be marshland.

Enclave

Beams of sunlight lit up various enclaves like this half circle…

Square Enclave

and this studly rectangle.

Rebar Garden

Burbex had to be very careful winding his way through the garden of rebar and cut off pipes with razor sharp edges. In fact climbing one set of stairs, an evil piece of rebar tore its way through the sleeve of Burbex’s favourite hoodie.

Stairs

On the ground floor, staircases abounded and glassless window frames let in the morning light.

Three by One

Morning Light

Burbex could also see the luxury housing over the fence next door to the mall.

Red Roof

He also suspected that the chalked grafitti on many of the columns was from the local children practicing their English compositions, “so that, in order to, so as to, in order that”. Burbex’s heart flushed to think that these young urbexers could write such good English.

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One kid even seemed to be writing a cement-based novel…

Full of Activity

The top floor boasted some great views of the swanky Marriott hotel in nearby Liangma Qiao as well as proving that Beijing does occasionally have blue skies.

Glassless

Other windows just provided a great sense of symmetry over the whole site.

Five by One

The real highlight of the mall, however, was the rooftop view looking out to the complex of high rises which seems to be taking forever to complete, probably another project going slow for lack of funds.

Overbearing Angels

Again the view towards the Marriott Hotel was irresistible.

Marriot Billboard

In closing, Burbex found that The Olympic Mascot Mall had a little bit of everything: a skanky cellar where lots of workers had pooed; cool window frames; a great rooftop; and of course a bunch of abandoned mascots. Not bad for an early morning’s work.

Six Houses

For all these reasons and more, Burbex awards The Olympic Mascot Mall with a firm B-. If you are a fan of other abandoned projects, be sure to check out The Guosen Mall with some of the best nighttime views of the city and also The Great Mall of China, which is probably never going to get finished.

Dots of Lght

If you want to come out with Burbex some time, just send an email to burbex@outlook.com, and he’ll be glad to take you on a double trip to The Olympic Mascot Mall and also The Solana Hotel which is just ten minutes walk away, and remember Beijing Huanying Ni!

CHINA FILM GROUP STUDIOS – BEIJING FILM ACADEMY – GRADE A-

“It’s ironic that sometimes the very security features designed to keep people out, are the features I use to get in.”

Studios From Above

In Beijing security is often just an illusion. The city may have the world’s most CCTV cameras, but is anybody watching them? Huge rusted locks snap open with enough pull, and the bars on the windows are great ladders up onto the roofs of buildings, which is exactly how Burbex got into Beijing’s legendary film sudios.

China Film Group

Fans may recall that in March Burbex posted pictures of Beijing’s historic film studios. You can check those at this link The Back Lot at Beijing Film Academy. Burbex was very pleased to receive a lot of emails about that post asking how to get in, but a little bit sad that mostly people got caught and kicked out by the lazy janitors. Burbex decided to pay another visit to the site, and even better managed to get into the main studios.

Studio No. 5

Beijing Film Corporation has been running since after the revolution in 1949, and has been renowned for pumping out streams of Communist propaganda movies, as well as the more recent <Kung Fu Kid> (also known as <The Karate Kid> in the USA) starring Jackie Chan and Will Smith’s son, Jaden.

The main gate is huge and green, with the blazing red logo painted on the front. That didn’t put off Burbex as he climbed the window bars to the flatroof avoiding the glances of the gang of stray dogs that live in the area.

Green Gate

Jumping down from the flatroof and into the main courtyard of the studios, you notice that there is one huge studio on the right and a labyrinth of three studios on the left. Below you can see the gates to the huge right-hand studio.

Comrades Gate

Inside the studio it is black as pitch, but Burbex brought along his new LED flash and lit up the whole space. In each corner, steps zig-zag up to the heavens, and even onto the roof of the studio. That was a bit too high even for Burbex.

Zig Zag Staircase

Burbex decided to leave that for another day, and went back to the central courtyard to explore the smaller studios, which lay through another massive green gate.

Green Doors

Ad then on the inside, an internal gate with a massive warning not to smoke inside the studios.

Smoking Studio

Climbing the zigzag stairs in this studio, Burbex was glad that he had brought his mask, as the walls of the studio were lined with crumbling asbestos to fireproof the room. Once in the heavens though, there was a treat to be found.

Cake Walk

Rows and rows of walkways hang high above the ground. The wooden boards are rotting and creaking, and the asbestos ceiling is falling in. With hands gripped tightly in the half darkness, Burbex made a run to the other side. Securely on the other side, peering down into the darkness you start to realise the scale of the studio.

View from Above

These smaller studios are all connected, and the walkways lead from studio two right through to studio five at the end of the building. Between the studios are huge blast doors and rotting pipes.

Electric Blast

Coming out of Studio Five, you enter into the the makeup department of the studios, which is definitely the most fun to be had here.

Makeup Department

Each room has all kinds of weird objects and equipment left over from the movie business. Especially in the special effects and prosthetic department. There are Plaster of Paris heads everywhere.

Head and Wig

Plus there is a very professional makeup department…

Professional Makeup

Gimp masks…

The Gimp is Sleeping

Monkey Kings…

Monkey King

Could you really ask for more? Oh yeah! Uncle Fester’s head!

Uncle Fester's Head

After all that excitement in that steaming hot studio, it was time for Burbex to leave the way he came into through the lucky green doors. He of course left it unbolted so that next time he doesn’t have to climb onto the roof again.

Lucky Doors

By the way, if you liked this, then be sure to check out the previous post about The Back Lot at Beijing Film Academy which is just next door, and also check out the whole set here on Flickr. Of course, if you want to come along to any other kitschy leisure sites like Floating Dragon Amusement Park or The Great Mall of China, be sure to send Burbex an email at burbex@outlook.com.

 

 

 

 

THE BACK LOT – BEIJING FILM ACADEMY – GRADE B-

Sometimes you get the feeling that the only urbex sites in Beijing are huge industrial sites like Jiaohua and Capital Steel, or projects that have been abandoned halfway and left to rot like Guoson Mall and Sunshine Park. Sometimes what the Beijing urbexer needs is a little bit of nostalgia to add to the diet of rebar and concrete. That’s where Beijing Film Academy steps in.

Shining Mao

In Beijing one of the characters that the urbexer is always looking for is 拆 which means to cut down or demolish. This character is often painted on buildings slated for demolition. The buildings may remain for years without anything happening. You can see the character painted on both sides of the back lot gate in the picture below.

Lot Entrance

Once over the wall and safely in the lot, there is the feeling of a one-horse cowboy movie, you’re always expecting a Chinese John Wayne to stride through the Chinese-style gate and challenge some dupe to a shootout at midday.

Red Gate

The only heroes here are the dogs who will follow you everywhere around the site. They are a strange breed of mutt specially designed to make as much noise as possible, while at the same time attracting nobody’s attention.

Plaster Warriors

Hidden in the back lots are props of warriors and buddhas left over from older productions. There is a strong sense of China’s histories overlapping and blending on the lots which is probably not that far from reality.

Lucky Wall

Some areas of the lot are burned down or have fallen into serious disrepair. Alleyways lead from more modern hutong scenes into ancient China.

Last Chance Saloon

China’s own Last Chance Saloon contains tonnes of props and relics from the height of the movie age.

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Climbing up to the roof of the studio, you can get a great overview of the entire site. Be very careful though, the concrete balcony is crumbling and it is three floors down.

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You don’t really realise the scale of the site until you get up on top. The main studio is all locked up. That calls for another midnight trip.

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The site combines Western and Eastern styles, probably as was seen in Shanghai in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

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Huge lot doors are overgrown with tumbleweeds and thick Beijing dust chokes the air.

Warrior Garden

In a hidden garden Laughing Buddha overlooks an army of plaster soldiers and demi-gods.

Giving Head

Four Wheel Drive

Fallen Warriers

End of the Block

Empty Gate

Demolition

Circular Doorway

There are myriad doors and gates to get lost in, and the whole place has a strong sense of the film Labyrinth with its grey bricks and twisting turns.

With all this in mind, Beijing Film Academy is a perfect slice of nostalgia from a mixture of Chinese eras that never existed. It confuses the senses, and as the sun sets you are left feeling even more confused.

For these reason Burbex awards Beijing Film Academy with a B+ grade. If you would like to come along and see the site for yourself, please get in touch at burbex@outlook.com.

 

 

SWISS CHEESY – TONGHUI INTERNATIONAL, BEIJING – GRADE B+

Beijing has its fair share of kitschy European style developments in various states of abandonment (see the Olympic Homko villas), but the Tonghui International Bar Street 通惠国际酒吧街 really takes the biscuit.

Rose and Summer

Construction on this Swiss-style bar street began in 2010, and was expected to open in 2014. Somewhere towards the end of the timeline, the project was abandoned, and now the town clock chimes to an empty village every hour.

Udderly Weird

The street itself is based on the Alpine Swiss town of Interlaken, and as well as the charismatic design of the street, the development also boasts 18,000 square metres of underground shopping space.

Stuck in Custard

You can check out some of the original designs do the complex at Su Landscape, the company which designed the wooden facades. All of the complex is still completely unoccupied, and gaining access is extremely simple.

Herr Green's Gasthaus

One very old security guard sleeps in a fairy tale cottage at the far end of the street (above: right of the green guesthouse).

Hotel California

The best way to move from building to building is either by the tunnels that thread their way under the street, or even better, to jump in and out of windows like a fairy tale goblin or elf.

When I was going up the stairs...

Unusually, even though the exteriors of the buildings are complete and boast some fantastic and unusual decorations, the interiors are just cement, and none of the buildings have stairs to the first floor.

Under the Yellow Brick Road

Apparently, Tonghui International was part of a 400 million yuan project by The Chaoyang Planning Commission, trying to invigorate business close to Guomao, the economic centre of Beijing.

Fondue Leak in Swiss Village

Whatever the case, the project is dead now, and the street and underground shopping mall both lie dormant.

Cart on the Yellow Brick Road

A metal fence surrounds the street, and in the front yard there is a bronze horse and cart created in 2008 according to the date on the horse’s rump.

Cuckoo Clock

With its easy access and fairy tale weirdness, Tonghui International Bar Street gets a B+ from Burbex.

Oh deer! What a horny stag!

By the way, if you loved this great leisure site, be sure to check out these other great urbex sites in Beijing, like Floating Dragon Lake Amusement Park, and The Great Mall of China in neighbouring Hebei.

Of course if you want to come along, just drop me a line, and don’t forget to bring your Swiss cheese. I hope you know how to yodel.

FLOATING DRAGON LAKE AMUSEMENT PARK – BEIJING – GRADE B+

Beijing Amusement Park based around the Floating Dragon Lake used to be the premier theme park in Beijing attracting 2.4 million visitors a year.

Planetarium vs. Ferris Wheel

It was famous for its roller coasters, 4D cinema, and the biggest Ferris Wheel in the capital.

Classical Luminesence

Now all that remains is the Ferris Wheel which dominates the landscape, and the ruined remains of the aquarium which has lots of graffiti.

Deep Blue Ferris

The site is sealed off from the public, but a quick hop, leap and jump make it pretty easy to enter.

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The site is connected by a series of bridges between each of the islands, and while most of them are padlocked, you can just jump into the dried out lake bed and run to the islands.

Silent Turnings

The aquarium and the horror house are easy to get into, but not much remains, but the Ferris Wheel is safely contained behind a metal fence. It slowly turns creaking in the wind.

Bright Seats

The central island is assessable by a Disneyesque bridge with turrets and a huge gate.

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Once you are past the gate, you have free rein over the park, the security guards are far too lazy to chase you this far.

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Beyond the bridge is the aquarium and the horror house. Pedlo boats line the empty basin of the lake also the lakeside.

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This is a perfect Scooby-Doo location as you poke around the horror house and listen to the creaking of the Ferris Wheel. The site is a little bare now, which is why Burbex is giving Floating Dragon Amusement Park a B+ grade.

By the way, if you liked this post, be sure to check out these other great leisure sites like Olympic Homko Ghost Town and Dalian Waterpark, plus feel free to contact me on burbex@outlook.com if you want to come along. Don’t forget to bring those Scooby Snax though.