After yesterday’s cultural experiences, today we went back to the usual here in Dubai, Western focused tourist destinations. On tap for the day was Atlantis on Palm Jumeirah (the palm island), one of Dubai’s most impressive megastructures. Our team had heard great things about the water park they have, Aquaventure, and we didn’t want to miss out. For a visual, the hotel and park are at the center of island and are the furthest point on the island (about 3 miles out to sea). As you drive onto the island, it is so large and developed, that if you didn’t know you were on the palm before you got in the car, you would never know you were on a man-made island. Given the sheer size of it (as with many things in Dubai), and to think that it was built only with natural resources, sand and rock – no concrete – is downright impressive and unbelievable.
As we walked into the park, it seemed like the group was a thrill seeking group. While I like roller coasters, I’m not a fan of straight drop rides (a la Tower of Terror and Top Thrill Dragster). It just isn’t my thing. There were two towers which had multiple water slides on them and we started at the one closest to the entrance. The first slide we went on was a speed slide, called Leap of Faith, which dropped 9 stories. I thought this was my peak level of adventure for the day and that the other slides would be nothing compared to this. I had no idea what was coming next…
We spent the morning on the first tower, which had good/fun slides but nothing compared to the speed slide in terms of thrills. After lunch, we moved over to the other tower, and that’s when it got real. We got in line for one of the group inner tube slides and noticed two slides coming through the waiting area at what seemed like an 80 degree angle. After noticing the nearly vertical drop, we looked outside the structure and it went back up two stories or so. It looked so extreme that we couldn’t comprehend how this ride was possible. We figured the only way it could start was by hanging off a metal pole over the slide and just letting go and falling straight down the slide.
But we really had no idea. After we made our way through the line we were in, we decided we had to try it – the ride was called Poseidon’s Revenge. Where did we have to go to get on it? Could it possibly be as extreme as it looked? When we got to the top, all questions were answered: it was one of the most extreme rides I’ve ever seen. You get into this small tube, the door slowly closes, encapsulating you in the tube, and then the floor drops from under your feet, and you essentially free fall on the slide.
This video is the only way to truly show what it was like.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf9ibLVIaNg (this is not our group, just a random Youtube video I found, but it is only 1:36 and definitely worth it)
Now that you’ve seen that, and as I was standing near the top, I was immediately regretting this decision. I hate to sound like a wimp, but after hearing the screams from the stairwell, watching a bunch of people go back down the stairs with fear on their face, and then finally seeing what it looked like (and for you, seeing the video), could you blame me? My heart was pounding and I’m sure my face told everyone my level of terror. I conveniently let the entire group go before me, which worked out well, because I could have just walked down the stairs… but, not today.
I decided to get into the space ship type container. As I stepped in, I thought, what if the floor gives way as I’m inching in. Luckily it held, but really what did it matter, it was going to give in a second anyway. The shell closed around me. I’m looking out the tube seeing people waiting in line with fear as they look at me. I’m looking back at them wondering what I’m doing. Then an audible countdown, no turning back now: 3, 2, 1 – the floor opens and I’m dropping quick. The entire slide lasted 7 seconds, dropping about 110 feet (remember, after the free fall, you wind around and go up a couple stories, before going back down). I didn’t realize I went up and I also didn’t realize the ride was over when I got to the bottom. The adrenaline was pumping. Did I just become an even bigger thrill seeker? That question will not be determined today. But what I can say is this, I ended up doing that slide three times, and I was scared out of my mind every one of those times (just ask my teammates that saw my face the second and third times). On the second try the countdown went “3,2,1” and the floor never gave way. Immediate terror!! What is happening??? Then “3,2,1” again, and the floor dropped. It added thrill to a person that had already maxed their thrill for the day. Regardless, I loved every second of it.
After the thrills subsided, we also had access to the Atlantis Aquarium. It was pretty impressive, or maybe it had been a while since I had been to an aquarium. We were told it had one of the biggest tanks in the Middle East (what, not the biggest in the world?), and it housed 16,000 fish in that one tank. The entire group sat on cushions that were on the floor in front of the tank and we were there for probably 30 minutes just taking it in. Maybe it was the sun, but there was something relaxing about that tank and the fish: big and small, basic colors and multi-colored. We all seemed to enjoy it a lot. As we got back to the condo, everyone was exhausted from an incredible weekend. I don’t know how we can top it here, but we will sure try. The work week starts again tomorrow, let’s see what kind of fun we can have.
Note, all of today’s photo’s were courtesy of Kate and/or her amazing camera.