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  • Writer's pictureHannah

Stranded in Penang- Part 8

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

Mike and I did have sketchy thoughts of going climbing or to the cinema for Gideon's birthday, before the unprecedented move to the tropics. A 7th birthday falling in 33 degree temperatures with a waterpark down the road made the decision of what to do, quite easy. We arrived at 'Escape' a little excited, Mike and I were just as, if not more, excited than the kids.

We planted ourselves by the wave machine pool, (really wavey- life jackets strongly advised), and waded towards the more child-friendly seeming feature with short slides and climbing frames in shallow water. Gideon climbed and slip- slid away in carefree abandonment but Emily approached with a bit more caution and when the large water- collecting, (size of a wardrobe), bucket at the top tipped its contents over the structure with an almighty crash, she realised that it wasn't her idea of fun. She wasn't altogether put off though, and so we all proceeded to one of the main attractions; the world's longest waterslide, (1111m). Anticipation built as we realised we had to cross a road to reach it and then take a chairlift up through the rainforest to get to the top. We paired up adult-child, adult-child and mounted, (there's no graceful way to do it), the turquoise inflatable dinghies. Over and under the shade of the palm trees, holding on with all our might, we laughed and screamed and twisted through a watery kilometre. It was so much fun!

After lunch we saw the banana slides in action. These are enclosed chutes of about 10 meters in length, with a vertical drop that then slightly curves back around on itself at the end. The fearless swimmer stands at the top in a kind of time-machine contraption, is then asked by the supervisor to close their arms over their chest in a sort of 'cross my hear and hope to die', type gesture. The supervisor then flicks a switch that removes the platform that the swimmer is standing on, so that they fall through the tube and are spewed out somewhere near the middle of the diving pool. Didn't really fancy it. A professional diving show followed, including diving from 25 meters, complimented by synchronised ballet swimmers.

Back on dry land, we wandered around, summoning courage in the expansive high ropes park. Quite huge and high and technical, likening it to 'Go Ape' is perhaps as good a comparison as an inflatable rubber ring to a jet ski. Feeling chuffed that I'd made it to the top of a coconut tree, (with footholds and harness), I kindly let Mike attempt the zip wires through the canopies while the kids and I explored the children's obstacle course. It turned out to be more challenging than it looked. Gideon's pulley on the zip wire became derailed, leaving him suspended in mid flight. At precisely the same moment, Emily calls out "mum, mum I need your help" as she found her self in limbo with feet forward, arms back on the hanging steps. So, shouting to Emily that I'll be right back, I ran for assistance. I found a lady who had harnessed the children earlier, sweeping up near the start. In a slow, unhurried lope toward the scene of suspense, that I interpreted as 'this happens all the time, why can't you sort it out yourself, you silly bat' body language, she repositioned Gideon's pulley and off he zipped while I helped Emily to stable ground.

Gideon wasn't actually too bothered by the dangling experience but slightly ironically he practically froze in terror before the second zip wire because a brood, (not sure on collective noun), of gobbling, squawking turkeys hung around the base. There was no convincing him they were all gobble and no peck. Something to tease him about when he's older? Anyway, it was without doubt, a 7th birthday to remember.

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