It’s been almost a year now since Terry and I took our last winter break to Tenerife, and over two months since the miraculous recovery of the GoPro memory card, which, as some of you might recall, we lost down the side of my parents’ couch the day we got back from our trip.
(No, I’m still not over it, by the way. Even although the memory card WAS finally returned to me, the whole time I was looking back at the footage while writing this post, I found myself repeatedly checking the card reader to make sure it hadn’t gone AWOL again. Scarred. For. Life.)
Anyway, as I said, the memory card’s been back in my position for weeks now, so I figured I should probably get my ass in gear, and make good on my promise to show you some of the footage that was trapped on it – if only to reassure my poor dad that he didn’t almost destroy his couch in vain. Unfortunately for me, this is also the point when I have to sheepishly admit that all of my talk about how totally AMAZING that footage was going to be was… well, it was JUST talk, really. Talk that was very much bolstered by the certain knowledge that the footage would never be recovered, so no one would be any the wiser. “Lies,” you could call it, if you were being particularly harsh. (Please don’t be, though – I suffered enough through this ordeal, seriously.)
I’m probably going to split all of the footage that was on the card into at least a couple of different videos, (Because there’s apparently no limit to how boring I can be about this, and I don’t even care that I’m writing about a holiday almost a year after it happened, either…) with the first one featuring our day at Siam Park, which claims to be one of the biggest waterparks in Europe, with a massive wave pool, and dozens of different rides, absolutely none of which are pictured below, because my phone was in a locker when we were on them, hence the need for the GoPro!
These shots were taken at the man-made beach surrounding the wave pool, which is so much fun, seriously. I could’ve stayed there all day. I’m wearing that shirt as a cover-up, because we’d already ridden all the water-slides at that point, and I was sick of re-applying sunscreen. When my mum saw these photos on Instagram, she asked me if I was wearing a white blazer, which made me realise that I’m even MORE notorious for over-dressing than I thought I was. But no, I am not wearing a blazer to a water park, mum. GOD.
(My swimsuit is this one* in green, by the way: it’s a couple of years old now, though, so I’m not sure if they still make it in that colour…)
(Oh, and because I know someone’s going to comment: Terry’s transplant makes him particularly vulnerable to skin cancer, which is why he looks like he’s FULLY FREAKING DRESSED in the video. We’re…kind of paranoid about sunburn, to be honest: stay safe, kids!)
This was actually our second visit to Siam Park: we first went there a few years ago, also in winter, and although we were really impressed with the park, we unfortunately picked a bit of a chilly day for it, and as I was still recovering from a particularly nasty flu I’d picked up at the start of the holiday, I didn’t really feel like I made the most of my time there. This time around, though, the sun was shining, no one secretly suspected they were dying from the flu, and we had an absolutely fantastic time, which I would pretty much sell my soul to be able to repeat around about now.
Now, I’ll admit here that I was a bit apprehensive about this trip. I am, as I’m sure my regular readers know, scared of almost everything, and very tall/fast/scary looking water slides are one of the many, many things in life that scare me a bit. I trace this fear back to a childhood trip to Blackpool, when I tried to show off to my little cousins by going down one of those almost-vertical, ‘kamikaze’ water slides in an indoor water park there. It’s very possible that my mind has since exaggerated this event, but, to me at the time, this slide was roughly the height of a skyscraper, and you basically just went into free-fall as soon as you went over the top, which made me think I was dying. Literally dying. Since then, I’ve steadfastly refused to go on any slide that might replicate that, “*&^*, I’ve just thrown myself towards certain death!” feeling, so, to prepare for this visit to Siam Park, I’d watched a few You Tube videos people had filmed, which showed all of the rides.
From this, I’d worked out that there were a few slides in the park that would scare me to death: one of them I already knew about – it was the kamikaze-style ‘Tower of Power’, which looks much like the ‘Tower of Fear’ ride from my childhood (Although presumably this one’s a whole lot higher…), but which, having subjected you to its near-vertical drop, THEN sweeps you underneath a shark tank. A SHARK TANK, people. With actual SHARKS in it. Nope, wasn’t going to be doing THAT: nuh-uh.
(Terry did, though. He loved it, but confirmed my suspicion that I’d have lost my mind if I’d even tried…)
The other ride I was absolutely determined to avoid at all costs was a fairly ordinary flume ride, which is notable mostly because it takes place entirely in the dark. I don’t expect any of you will be remotely surprised to find out that I’m terrified of rides that take place entirely in the dark, are you? Well, I AM. And that’s mostly because of this one time in Majorca, when Terry persuaded me to go on one of those ‘totally-in-the-dark’ rides at another water park, and I seriously thought I was going to need therapy afterwards. I still think of it to this day.
Anyway, so, there was this one ride, and it took place entirely in the pitch dark, and there was absolutely NO WAY I’d be going on that one either: as I told Terry approximately a kazilionty-one different times, both in the run-up to the trip, and as we wandered around the park deciding which slide to try first.
Yeah, no prizes for guessing which slide we picked, huh?
IT WAS THE ONE SLIDE THAT WAS COMPLETELY IN THE DARK. WHY?!
We’d picked this slide as our first, purely at random. I hadn’t forgotten my fear of The Dark Slide, as I thought of it, but I HAD forgotten the name of it, so I was depending on there being some kind of notice saying, “DANGER! DANGER! STUPID SCAREDY CATS SHOULD PROCEED NO FURTHER!” or something to warn me. Instead, there was a very nice pool attendant, who stopped us as we approached the entrance with our giant inflatable ring. “So, just to let you know,” he told us, “This ride takes place completely in the dark!” (Yeah, he said it like it was a GOOD thing. I will never understand people.) Well, at that, I immediately got back out of the inflatable ring, and told Terry that, under no circumstances would I be joining him in his ride to certain death. I was quite firm about this, but – and I have absolutely no idea how this happened – somehow both Terry and the pool attendant managed to talk me into giving it a go anyway, and they managed to achieve this in just a few seconds. Seriously, I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW THAT HAPPENED? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
You’re probably all expecting me to say here that I felt the fear, did it anyway, and learned the important life lesson that the only thing to fear is fear itself, and that nothing is ever as bad as it seems, aren’t you? You’re also expecting me to talk a bit about how I’m SO glad I did it, and that it gave me the courage to take life in both hands, and never let fear hold me back again. You are, aren’t you?
Well, sorry to disappoint, folks, but here’s the thing: the only thing to fear IS fear itself. But fear itself is REALLY FREAKING SCARY, and so was that water slide. (So… a better quote would maybe be something like, “The Only Thing To Fear is Fear Itself, And That One Water Slide in Siam Park. Also, Crabs, General Anaesthetic and Anything Involving Hospitals, Because That Stuff’s All Pretty Scary, Really.” Ima get that printed on a canvas for my wall, I think…) I’d honestly love to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it, and that it cured me of my fear, but honestly? I reeeealllly hated it, and would never do it again. Sorry. This is why my career as a motivational speaker never really took off.
The good news, however, is that, despite the shock of having to ride The Dark Slide within minutes of entering the park, I did manage not to let it put me off any of the others, which was no mean feat for someone like me, let me tell you. We rode quite a few slides after that, and I loved all of them – so much so that I insisted on doing some of them twice, actually. (Not THAT one, though. I mean, do I LOOK stupid? Wait: don’t answer that: I’ve just remembered the shirt-that-looked-like-a-blazer, plus the fact that I’m so pale in this video -despite my fake tan: lol! – that I look like I actually DID die on The Dark Slide, and then spent the rest of my time at Siam Park as a ghost. D’oh!)
Anyway, the upshot is that we really, really enjoyed our time there, and will definitely go back next time we’re in Tenerife, because while it’s a little bit on the pricey side, it’s worth every euro – and it’s not often you’ll hear me say that about something I can’t wear, trust me.
Here’s a short video which Terry has very kindly prepared for your viewing pleasure: please pretend it was totally worth waiting an entire year for, and don’t forget to subscribe to my You Tube channel while you’re there!