Two Weeks Abroad: Day Six – The Desert

New Years Day started with a trip to the Wild Wadi water park, which was conveniently located across the street from where we were staying. My friends and I left breakfast early just so we could beat the crowds. Once we entered the park, we immediately began searching for the rides. We quickly discovered that despite the park’s small size, everything was practically important to find. We had to constantly ask the workers directions and even then we would still get lost.

Once we found the rides, it was game on. We would race up the steps, fighting to get to be the first to claim a spot on the tubes. We rode everything from Tantrum Alley to Burj Surj to Master Blasters. After riding what we dubbed the “Warm-Up Rides”, we headed off to search for the Jumeirah Sceirah. The Jumeirah Sceirah is an approximately 105 foot tall water slide. To get to it, you have to climb an unbelievable amount of stairs, cross a wooden bridge, then climb even more stairs. Once you make it to the top, your legs are burning and you feel out of breath. If you’re like me, you’ll peer over the edge of the tower and immediately start hyperventilating when you realize how high up you are. It’s around this time that most people start to have doubts. Is this safe? Should people actually be riding this? Before you can voice any of these concerns, the person operating the ride will stuff you and your friend into two tubes which appear eerily similar to the tubes where mad scientists store their test subjects.

After locking you in the tubes, they’ll instruct you to cross your arms and legs then a mechanical voice will begin counting down. (At this point, most people will start to either cry or pray. I did both.) When the voice gets to the end of the countdown, there’s a small moment where nothing happens. Then, the floor drops out from underneath you, and you fall to your untimely death.

As you rocket your way down the slide, water slaps over your face and you struggle to breath. Your heart hammers wildly in your chest, and all you think is “Oh my God, I might actually die on this thing.” Just as you start to get lightheaded and the world begins to fade to black, you come a shaky stop at the bottom of the slide. You crawl out of the slide, shaking and scared and wondering if it’s possible for you to ride it again.

After riding that life changing water slide, my friends and I returned to our hotel to get ready for our night in the desert. We met up in a parking lot where several desert tour guides were waiting to pick us up. They piled us up into the cars then began driving out to the desert. About a third of the way there, we stopped so that we could ride the ATVs in the desert. I payed for a double with a friend and then we both took turns driving across the dunes. Driving an ATV was easier than I thought it would be. We got stuck a couple of times, sand literally got everywhere, and I almost fell off, but it was still amazing.

 After riding on the ATVs, we got back in the cars to go off-roading. At first, I wasn’t too concerned about driving across the dunes. After all, I just rode on an ATV. About three seconds into the car ride, it was obvious that I should’ve been more concerned. Our driver was whipping us around so much that I was clinging to the car door to keep myself from being flung around. Each turn made me regret eating a burger and fries for lunch. When our driver finally parked the car so we could get out and take photos, I wanted to fall on my knees and cry. It took a whole half hour for my queasiness to subside.

 After running around in the desert, we went to our camp site. We watched a couple of performances, ate dinner, and got henna tattoos. Then we all curled up on the sofas and fell asleep covered in sand.


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