Monday, June 25, 2012

Pattaya Thailand Trip, Doing the Water Park

We head back to Thailand for two weeks the day after tomorrow and I still haven’t posted on all the cool stuff we did and saw on our last trip there this past May. I do have plenty of good reasons for being so far behind though; after all, we dove the USS New York in Subic and just before that we spent a week way up north in Claveria doing a nine dive scuba expedition. So all in all, we’ve been some very busy beavers.

I do want to post a real quick one on our afternoon at the Pattaya Water Park during our last trip to Thailand last May. That is the same park where we all rode the cable down from the top of that super tall tower--they actually call it "tower jumping." I posted on that here. The water park was our next stop as soon as we arrived back down to Mother Earth at the end of our "big jumps."

Water parks have never really attracted me but being the team player that I try to be I went along with the group and "forced" myself to have fun at this one. A few days before, during the day we had rode our scooters around town getting the documentation completed for our Thai drivers licenses, Don and I had scouted out Pattaya Park, including the water park. Looking through the chain link fence into the water park area, the water  slides looked like a blast. I got it into my head that if the Thais in charge let me that I wanted to film going down the slides holding my underwater camera package. I was pretty sure that no park in the litigious good ol’ USA would ever let anyone do such a thing, but in Thailand almost anything goes, and so I figured I had a good chance of being allowed to do it.  

Anyway, that’s what the YouTube video above is mostly about—it shows Janine, Don and I sluicing down several times into the water, including me holding and aiming the camera in video right into the drink.

The first part of the clip shows the great spot we managed to get, right in the middle of the park with a perfect view directly in front of the of the slides, and of course with a great view of all the sliders. But here’s a hint, don’t try to walk barefoot over any of that tiling during the heat of the day. Hot! Hot! Hot! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!
The girls took this when they rode the overhead tram
In the vid, from 38 seconds to 2 minutes, Janine and I test the waters, so to speak, by going down the blue "baby slides." I wanted to see how it would be holding my camera in an easier situation than the tall yellow ones would surely provide. I also wanted to see what the attendant might say about me holding my camera on the slide. Actually, he couldn't have cared less. 

We finished our baby slide experience and turned around in time to catch some footage of Don flying down one of the more precipitous yellow slides. Going down feet first like he does, it’s hilarious to see how the butt of the slider becomes a huge water brake—the bigger the butt, the faster the brake, as I too would soon be able to attest to.
Don's "butt brake" in action

From 2:15 into the vid, the three of us, Janine, Don and I, step it up and head up to the top tier so we can all ride down the tall yellows. Janine and Don go off the left one while I head to the right. In front of me is a very skinny Russian sounding young fellow who with great delight and a huge grin goes down backwards. I thought that was pretty cool and told him so down in the water—funny friendly kid.

When it was my turn and I began descending I was shocked at the instant speed I picked up. And when I hit the transition hump about half way down and actually took flight I was stunned as my stomach ended up in my throat. I wasn’t expecting that and it WAS awesome! When I hit the water I too could feel how my big ol’ butt acted as an immediate speed brake. Phooosh!
My new buddy showing me the backwards way

At 3:34 I’m back at the top of a yellow slide waiting for my turn once again. This time I am determined to give it a go going down backwards if I can manage doing that while holding my camera. Turning my back to the slide and getting down on my butt is the was the most difficult part of the slide. It's a weird disquieting feeling that became all the more unnerving once the blind backward slide begins. I feel completely out of control but concentrate on keeping the camera high and aimed at something that might translate into a decent video. Once again, that hump startles the complete heck out of me, made all the more frightening because I can't see it coming—scarily exhilarating!
Starting out backwards

Hitting the water backwards provides a distinctly different kind of landing as the butt is no longer in play. Instead of digging into the water and immediately coming to a splashing stop I skid across the top of the surface a good 20 feet further—all in all, an amazing experience. And looking at the video again, I skitter across the top of the water so far that I end up well past a little kid who was just to my left, so I just about nail him.

I think next time, if I get up the nerve, I’d like to try going down a yellow slide standing up. I didn’t see any fat old men doing that so I’d probably be the first to try it, and hopefully survive as well. Watching the kids do it looks scary but incredibly thrilling. So yes, I will give it a try. (Famous last words!)
Check out the kid "surf'n" down middle yellow slide

Well, tomorrow is going to be a busy day getting ready for the trip on the following day. At the hotel where we stay at in Pattaya we have to use a cell phone to access the internet and the connection is too sketchy for downloading posts the way I like to with lots of photos and videos; so, we’ll see you when we get back after July 10. Until then….

continuation of my backwards slide... and it continues below...
In a second I've already slipped this far from where I started... its fast!
In no time at all I hit the water at the bottom and began my slide across the surface...
Interesting view that I don't remember seeing when I actually made the slide...
I think I skipped so far on the surface because my arms were up holding the camera high...
A long way from the end of the slide and STILL on the surface... wow!


Ed said...

My first thought after reading your post before checking out the video was how do you keep your swimming trunks on when going backwards. Thoughtfully in the video my question was answered.

Love the still shows of your backwards journey. You certainly didn't see that from watching the video because it happens so fast.

Standing up while sliding down?! I'd be the first person to do that and fall out of the slide halfway down.

Have fun on your trip.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Actually, yeah, I did have to tug em back up a little... I made sure to do it while I was still down in the drink.

Heck yeah, I'm going to try standing up. See how the kid is holding on to the sides? And if I fall off, well, i'll make sure to get some one to catch it all on cam!

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