Wild Wadi and the mall
Trip Start Nov 30, 2007
34Trip End Jan 17, 2008
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But at present, I'm still in Dubai. Which isn't such a bad place to be, really. The morning started with the front desk calling me and telling me I had an envelope. From Mastercard, yay! With a new credit card, yay! With my name spelled wrong on it, boo. Seriously, these guys are supposed to be keeping track of all of my transactions, potentially thousands of dollars, but they can't keep track of my name? Especially since every time I give my name out, I spell it. But even then, I thought that the credit card company would have that sort of thing on record
Anyhow, on to real things. Real AWESOME things, actually. One of my favourite places as a child was the waterslide park at Sylvan Lake. I love waterslides. So it was almost a foregone conclusion that I'd spend a day at Wild Wadi, a water park extraordinaire. Themed, unsurprisingly, with Arabic architecture and concrete rocks, this place is awesome. The core of the park is a series of tube slides that are equipped with high-speed jets of water (I think they call them "Master blasters") that shoot you UP the hills. So you get in a pool at ground level, some poor bastard lifeguard shoves you onto the slide, and presto, you're up a couple of stories, ready for the subsequent slide back down. One of the slides, the Tunnel of Dooooooom* (* not actually that many o's in the name, but there should be) is entirely enclosed, and I mean pitch black, for around 25 seconds. The other ride of note is the Jumeirah Sceirah, which is a triple-drop slide sort of like the Kamikaze at Sylvan Lake. Except you get up to 80 km/h on that third, evil drop. Just incredibly fast. And, yes, scary. For details, see The Amazing Race, season 5, episode 9. Oh, and did I mention that Wild Wadi is located literally at the front gate of the Burj Al-Arab? I believe a reasonable case can be made that the greatest achievement of the civilizations in the Middle East is to enable me to ride waterslides (without stairs) while looking at the Burj Al-Arab
From there, to Ibn Battuta Mall. Imagine a decent sized mall, maybe 50 stores or so, but built around a giant central court and the whole thing themed around the medieval Persian empire. Oky? Now imagine plunking five more down next to it, each themed around a country that the legendary traveller Ibn Battuta travelled to. China, India, Persia, Egypt, Tunisia and Andalusia. The China section has an entire junk inside it; it's just massive. This was probably my favourite mall. Oh, and each section also had exhibits around (primarily) Islamic technology from circa 1000 years ago. The Chinese section was focussed on navigation, and had a display on Zhang He, and also a chariot that used differential gearing to always face south. And so on. The Indian section had an elephant (statue) in it, which was dwarfed by the rest of the hall. The mall has a shuttle system in it, for crying out loud. But seriously, if you asked me what a mall needed (besides a Lego store, which they had, too), I'm not sure I would have suggested scientific and historic exhibits, but I should have.
So let's call this one a pretty good day, all things considered. As long as no one looks too close at my credit card.