Monday, August 19, 2013

Water Park? More Like Slaughter Park.

Do you know what’s a really cool place? Vietnam. Vietnam is hilarious and delicious and wonderful. While there I saw a woman pooing in a river, I also saw a man fall off his fast moving motorbike as he tried to eat a cob of corn. Oh, and best of all - water puppets. Water puppets are pretty much the best, worst things you’ll ever see. They are screeching and nightmarish and comical and wet (check them out here, they are AMAZING). But one thing that I suggest you never, ever, EVER do in Vietnam is go to a waterpark. Namely, Vin Pearl water park in Nha Trang.

This water park was definitely not constructed in line with any sort of OH&S standards. After a very long, very high, ride over the ocean, in a gondola run on only a nine-volt battery (mmm… safe) I arrive in a creepily deserted fun park.

“How strange,” I thought, “this place is so awesome. Why is no one else here?” And like any good Stephen King novel (not Rose Madder, because that is a terrible Stephen King novel) I would find out soon enough.

The first water slide I came across was about fifty metres tall, supported by only one pole. Standing beneath it, you could see it sway violently as the rider was rocketed through its length. Probably due to having lived in such a safe country my whole life, I assumed that surely these waterslides were safe – the government would shut them down otherwise… wouldn’t they?! So I mounted the giant metal staircase and scaled the heights of the brightly coloured tube. Once at the top, I stopped to catch breath, and noticed that it was only upon my arrival at the summit that the operator turned the water on to lubricate the slide. The attendant quickly ushered me into the entrance and shoved me on my way.

It immediately became apparent how poorly built this structure was – I could feel the joins between each piece of tubing (I would soon discover that these joins were actually cutting me) once inside, the swaying of the poorly supported tube was no longer whimsical, but terrifying, and when I reached the bottom – of a fifty metre descent, having worked up some serious speed – I was dropped into a body of water, no larger than a three foot deep bath tub. How I wasn’t paralyzed, I really don’t know. I pulled myself out of the tub – slightly disoriented but alive – and wandered off only a little shaken and bloody.

For the rest of the day I stuck to the safer rides. You know, the chip stand, the gift shop, that one where you lie in a tube and float down a stream… And I should have continued to listen to the little voice of reason inside my head that told me how lucky I was to have escaped (relatively) unharmed from my first brush with those vicious waterslides. But of course I didn’t, and I was punished in probably the worst way I have ever been punished for anything before or since my trip to Vietnam.

Right by the exit to the waterpark were some pretty pedestrian looking slides. They were similar to slides at the Easter show – not too high, open to the air and with a pretty shallow gradient.

“One more before I go....” I thought. I didn’t realize it would be the last water slide I would ever go on. Because after the experience which ensued, I have a certified phobia of waterslides.

So again, I climbed to the top, sat down and launched myself down the slope. Now, upon initial inspection I didn’t realize that this slide was missing one thing crucial to all waterslides. While speed and velocity are directly proportionate to the amount of joy of a waterslide provides, the rate of deceleration is equally as important for, you know, not dying. Unfortunately for me this waterslide, while fun and zippy, did not provide enough room to slow down before you went straight into a solid wall. As I rapidly approached said wall, it became apparent that perhaps I was about to shatter my legs. Just as I opened my mouth to scream I discovered that a safe guard had been built into the waterslide to stop such an occurrence– in the form of two supercharged water jets spraying back towards the rider to slow them down rapidly.  

And this is how I came to be raped by a waterslide. It turns out that the mechanism which worked very effectively to stop me injuring myself, doubled as a very effective enema. So I found myself running as fast as my legs would carry me, to the bathroom. I didn’t make it. You don’t know shame until you poo yourself, in swimmers, in the middle of a water park. I declared defeat and went home, with a little bit more empathy for the water puppets. Perhaps I had judged them too harshly. Now it seems, I knew why they screamed so much while they were being whooshed around in the water – and they were certainly not screams of joy.

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