10. The World’s Largest Carousel

Shadow inspected a bulldog, and a mer-creature, and an elephant with a golden howdah, and then he climbed on the back of a creature with an eagle’s head and the body of a tiger, and held on tight.

The rhythm of the “Blue Danube” waltz rippled and rang and sang in his head, the lights of a thousand chandeliers glinted and prismed, and for a heartbeat Shadow was a child again, and all it took to make him happy was to ride the carousel: he stayed perfectly still, riding his eagle-tiger at the center of everything, and the world revolved around him.

Shadow heard himself laugh, over the sound of the music. He was happy. It was as if the last thirty-six hours had never happened, as if the last three years had not happened, as if his life had evaporated into the daydream of a small child, riding the carousel in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, on his first trip back to the States, a marathon journey by ship and by car, his mother standing there, watching him proudly, and himself sucking his melting Popsicle, holding on tightly, hoping that the music would never stop, the carousel would never slow, the ride would never end. He was going around and around and around again…

Then the lights went out, and Shadow saw the gods.

This is the next room where we spent quite a large chunk of time. The public is not allowed to ride, but I did make a couple of videos of the carousel and the room itself with all of the mannequin angels flying, giant drums, and dragons mouth door that leads you to Section 3 (FINALLY!)

This place is mesmerizing and I recommend everyone sees it at least once in their life.

One moment Shadow was riding the World’s Largest Carousel, holding on to his eagle-headed tiger, and then the red and white lights of the carousel stretched and shivered and went out, and he was falling through an ocean of stars, while the mechanical waltz was replaced by a pounding rhythmic roll and crash, as of cymbals or the breakers on the shores of a far ocean.

Video of the carousel up close

Video of the room

 

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