玩(wan)means to play, to goof around, sometimes just to hang out. Wan is allied to 放松(to relax)and opposed to 工作(to work). Children are said to crave wan (贪玩), which is not a good thing, but nevertheless natural. Youngsters who can overcome (克服) their impulse to wan have reached the age of understanding (懂事). In contrast, adults who crave wan are childish (幼稚) and unreliable (不可靠); rumor has it these party animals make lame (赖) spouses.
Most importantly wan connects people to each other; playing, goofing around, and hanging out are not solitary activities, but group events, which often require planning and time in order to bring everybody together. Here, wan becomes an important element of friendship. People think about activities that others might enjoy and invite them along. They also invite others along on activities that they want to do. Be warned, however. Playing together sometimes slips into forms of 陪 (pei), where the pleasure of one person becomes the point of the entire trip. I believe this to be true not only of business outings, but also family vactions. What’s more, there are moments when nobody is having a good time, but everyone thinks everyone else is, and so everyone plays until they exhaust themselves (玩累自己).
This summer, friends invited me to join them in a trip to wan Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park. And I went. There were about 20 of us, from seven different families. In the morning, we all met at the restaurant, took pictures with Mickey and Pluto, and then went to the Magic Kingdom, where we broke up into smaller groups based on the age of the children.
Hong Kong Disneyland is small. Indeed you can walk around it in a day. It does, however, offer four fantasies: shopping (on Main Street, USA), romance and shopping (in Fantasyland), exploration and shopping (in Adventureland), and science fiction and shopping (in Tommorowland). There are also many famous characters walking around for photo-ops.
Given the crowds, we spent our time waiting to get into rides or attractions, and then meeting up with the group for lunch.
I returned to Shenzhen and spent the next few days doing yoga and sleeping, necessary antidotes to too much of a good thing.