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Confessions of a theme park virgin

Pearly Grey Ocean Club features

“Why don’t we go to Siam Park today?” she asked.

I was a theme park virgin, unaccustomed to looping the loop or tumbling head first from 100 metres in the air. “Hmm… let’s not,” I shuddered.

“Oh, come on it will be great. It’s Tenerife’s biggest water park with some brilliant rides. There’s one called the Tower of Power – a 28m vertical drop water slide where you go through an underwater tunnel and a shark-infested tank,” she enthused.

“Not a chance!” I said. “As best I can remember torture is illegal in Tenerife.”

But too late she’d already booked tickets and so off I went entering virgin territory with a face like a wet Wednesday in winter.

On entry the first thing I saw was a raft of sea lions basking in the mid-morning sunshine. I thought theme parks were for adrenalin junkies but watching them was rather relaxing.

As we moved on I spotted signs to unnecessary sounding rides like the Giant, Volcano and the Dragon.

But wandering through lush green walkways and across a bridge I saw people gently floating beneath us in giant rubber tubes, along the Mai Thai River. I took a mental note – I could manage that ride.

I’m a control freak. Sitting in a rubber tube, hurtling down a water-filled, pitch-black tunnel without being able to steer, brake or control it didn’t appeal.

Further along we came to a beach. Yes, in the middle of a park a handful of miles from Tenerife’s southern coastline is a beach and broad sweep of water. Suddenly a deep boom rang out and a huge wave erupted at the far end of the land-locked ocean. Then children and adults alike tried to jump it, dive into it and out swim it, each of them emerging from the water with a delighted grin to wait another 30 seconds for the next breaker to hit Siam Beach. Second note to self – that I must try.

Next up was the Lost City – a vibrant watery playground where children seemed to be having a whale of a time. Then I looked on in horror at the Naga Racer, a huge bumpy slip and slide with water cascading down and people of all ages gripping rubber mats as they shot down face-first at high-speed.

Next door the Jungle Snakes’ large tunnels spewed deliriously happy people with a giant splash into a waiting pool, after passing through a labyrinth of turns from up on Siam Park’s hills. Ok so they seemed happy, deliriously so, but delirium is surely a form of madness, I figured.

Then we came to the fabled Tower of Power and I watched as deranged individuals were dangled, their legs crossed (was that for luck?) over the edge of the giant water slide before dropping at a near vertical angle into a Perspex tube where they shot like bullets into a pool seconds after leaving the top. “Right, that’s quite enough for me,” I said. “I’m off!”

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Remembering Siam Beach’s waves which I figured didn’t require me to risk life and limb to have a good time I decided to have a go. Large waves hurtled from the base of the Wave Palace’s two towers with the pace of a Formula 1 car and the power of a raging bull, but as I was swamped by the water I felt perfectly safe as the waves receded leaving me in thigh-deep water. Laughing heartily as I was knocked about for 30 minutes, I felt like a child again. And suddenly found a tiny, deep-seated sense of adventure.

As we ambled back past the Naga Racer I developed an urge to put an end to my theme park virgin ways and show off my manliness. A little unsure as to what had come over me we climbed to the top and hurtled head first in a race to the bottom. I have to confess – I’d started to enjoy myself.

After reaching the bottom we struck up conversation with another couple and growing in fearlessness (and ever so slightly putting on some bravado) I agreed to join them on the Volcano. Up and up we climbed to the Volcano’s mouth and with each step I felt less and less certain that this was for me.

You see I have to admit I’m a bit of a control freak. The thought of sitting in a rubber tube, hurtling down a water-filled, pitch-black tunnel, and being thrown from side to side without me being able to steer, brake or control it, quite inexplicably didn’t appeal.

But then we were off on what seemed the longest ride of my life, which in reality was probably only about 30 seconds. As we reached the bottom my fellow riders revelled in the adrenaline rush. But I could’ve done with a stiff drink.

“Ok, you’ve been building your way up to things slowly. Ready for the Tower of Power?” she said, heading straight for the steps to the free fall water slide.
I couldn’t lose face – not now. Quaking slightly I climbed the steps, trying to look nonchalant. Reaching the top much of Tenerife’s southern coastline came into view, but I could barely focus.

It’s now or never, I thought. So I stepped up to the slide, took a deep breath, and thought: “Never,” as I scurried back down. I was a theme park virgin, a control freak in an out of control setting – I figured I’d already earned my stripes.

Watch another, braver park visitor take the plunge on the Tower of Power

We visited Siam Park while staying at Pearly Grey Ocean Club.

About

LiveShareTravel's co-founder Terry has never met a country he didn't like. In fact the more he has travelled the more he appreciates the world, and realises that people are largely reassuringly similar. He also enjoys discovering new cultures and has an endless wanderlust only matched by his passion for bathing in beer with new friends. Oh yes, he's most at home in the spa. Terry is also co-author of the The Luxury Traveller's Handbook.

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