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TR: Saudi Arabia and Dubai - Wild Wadi and Sega Republic


Rastuso
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Part 1: Saudi and Wild Wadi 10/28/10

 

My work required me to go to Saudi Arabia for plant checkout. I REALLY didn't want to go. I mean REALLY REALLY didn't want to go. However, Formula Rossa was to open literally the day before I would leave through Dubai. So, that was the light at the end of the tunnel. Saudi is fairly horrible. All the woman are covered, and beaten if they act up. Christians are killed, and they still have public beheadings and other archaic things.

 

I stayed a brand new compound. It was safe, or so I was told. THere were mounted machine guns at multiple locations (sadly, you couldn't fire one for sport). Plus, our villa had a safe room under the stairs complete with light and two bottles of water. Enough to keep you alive long enough for the terrorists to finally kill you. It is a stepford compound. Perfectly manicured, with grass even. Of course, you see damn near nobody walking around, even in great weather. Very creepy, and not for me. The high point of the week for folks staying there is getting the hell out of there. I could get Dominos delivered, with a free Pepsi even, SCORE! THere was little else to do except work.

 

On the way to the airport, DubaiDave texts me with horrendously bad news that Ferrari WOrld would perhaps not even be open on opening day. Things went downhill from there.

 

My plans for going to Ferrari World were crushed. I really don't want to even think about it, so I'll just skip the details. After I got over the shock and disappointment, I decided to go to what was at one point my main reason to want to go to Dubai, Wild Wadi Waterpark.

 

Wild Wadi is basically Schlitterbahn, UAE. They have tons of Master Blaster slides, all connected together. When the park opened, they advertised that you would get in your tube, and just ride all day. Is that really what it's like? Let's see.

 

I got a cab from my airport hotel, which was about 40 Dirham, or about 10 bucks. Not bad at all. Wild Wadi's entrance is directly at the entrance to the Burj Al Arab, the world's only 7 star hotel. There was a large rock facade, and just a few ticket windows. A very small entrance area, really. It took a while, but I got rid of my Saudi Riyals to get into the park. I was unsure of the dress code, so I planned on wearing a t-shirt. I needn't have worried. The park was full of middle aged European males wearing Speedo bikini briefs. And plenty of string bikini clad women. There were a few more conservatively dressed women with Granny Clampett style swimwear too.

 

The park has a great moneyless system. You get a plastic watch that can be used to pay for, and operate your locker, and pay for food and souvenirs. You simply held it up to your locker, and it opened, or locked. Excellent! I got changed and headed into the park. You first get to 2 waveboard areas that had decent lines. I then got to a line for a master blaster. I had no idea where it would take me. The wait was only about 5 minutes, I got a single tube, and I was off, able to see the person on the tube in front of me. They dispatched folks FAST. I tried to control my spinning as I was filming everything with my camera.

 

 

 

This slide was mostly uphill sections, and it dispatched you into a pool with three choices to continue with. I had no idea what went where. I chose the left slide which took me all the way down to the start of the other slide, essentially.

 

 

OK, that was pretty cool. SO, I got out of the lazy river and walked back around to the same line. This time, at the top I took one of the right slides, which led me to another pool with three more choices. I took one of the left ones that was a normal water slide that got pretty crazy at the end, and again dumped me out at the river. I decided to take the lazy river around.

 

The lazy river took you into a tunnel, and under the construction where they were putting in two of the new Proslide slides with multiple funnels and toilet bowls. These were replacing a pair of family sized master blaster slides. The river was fairly long, and full of empty tubes. It took me to the White Water slide entrance, which had a large cattle area, but even 2/3 full was only about 30 minutes. I noticed the cabana signs advertised they included no wait for the White Water slide. Sounded pretty cool.

 

This slide started with a fairly straight series of master blaster sections, but then started zig-zagging up the rockwork. Ultimately there were four separate slides, separated by small tube chute lines.

 

 

You got to the top of the rockwork, and had a choice of another master blaster around the top area, or a normal slide under the large speed slide. Both of these dropped you into the same pool that the initial master blaster I rode brought you to. SO, the White Water slide actually was the beginning of the entire network of slides at the park, so the cabana perk would be HUGE on a crowded day. Essentially, you got to immediately go to every slide in the park, except the big one, Jumeirah Sceirah, the tallest waterslide outside of America, which was next on my list.

 

 

 

A long trek through the rockwork, over a swinging bridge, and up a tower got you to the top of Jumeirah Sceirah, a triple drop speed slide. The views from the top were awesome. Burj Al Arab, Palm, Ski Dubai, even the Burj Al Khalifa, if it's clear enough. The slide was as expected, but no airtime really. There was a large crowd at the bottom. I wonder if they were all hoping for some ta-tas to pop out. Porn is hard to come by in the UAE. Not worthy of punishment like in Saudi, but still hard to get.

I went back up the tower for some pictures and video. A hot babe asked me to take her photo, and she did for me. I wondered if she would like to do other things together, but she spoke French, or something.

 

I had lunch at a BBQ place, and ended up getting a hot dog. It was grilled, but not too tasty. No pork. The price was very reasonable though. The kiddie area was fairly standard, and there was a decent wavepool.

 

There were people taking pictures all over the park. I had 4 wristbands, including some for the onride camera on one slide. They were good at taking action shots, and I ended up buying one of me taking off up one of the master blasters. It was quite pricey, at about $20, but that was for an 8x10. The camera guy in the wave pool took my picture with my camera, with the Burj behind it. I also got a strawberry smoothie that took a while to make but was absolutely awesome. I watched a guy cut up fruit for a fruit tray, and he was cutting out only the best parts of the fruit. The quality was noticed.

 

One of the slides going into the lazy river was the tunnel of doom. A very long, totally dark slide full of little jogs left and right to keep you on your toes. A really fun ride. The slides were pretty wild. I flipped out on a few of the finales, and lost my sunglasses. The lifeguard called up and stopped them from sending folks down for a while, and gave me a pair of goggles to search for my glasses. I amazingly found them. Great customer service!

 

I watched the guys on the wave riders for a while. They were quite good, and could splash the onlookers with ease. I also noticed that the precariously placed rock above the entrance would rock and make noise every once in a while. All in all, this park is fabulous. Disney quality theming, European babes, amazing architecture around it, and kick-ass master blasters that just never ended.

 

It didn't make up for FW being closed, but it came close.

 

-RO

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The Saudi airport smelled like a 70s motel. This looked sorta cool.

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THere were few good things at Saudi. Great water pressure, Turkish Delight, The Steakhouse, and the grail shaped beacon. Just like in Seoul, this was an amazing sight. Sadly, it went pretty much downhill after leaving the airport.

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Work was hot and sweaty. And EVERY DAY, it was chicken and rice for lunch. Seriously.

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I did get to swim in another sea. Persian/Arab Gulf.

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The Stepford Compound.

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THe mall. The highpoint of life in Saudi. They have an Applebees!!! And penguins walking all over the place.

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The scenic portion of Saudi.

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The way BACK to the airport. YAY! There are camels in this photo too!

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The last, and of course then best, photo I took in Saudi.

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Even the clocks are Rolex in the Dubai airport.

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Glitziest baggage claim EVAR!

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The tag on my hotel robe.

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The entrance to Wild Wadi.

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Their mascots were stereotypical arabs.

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Park map with a dive motel in the background.

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Lazy River cave.

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The queue for White Water Wadi. No standing required.

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Jumeirah Sceirah speed slide.

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The Burj Al Arab from the Jumeirah Sceirah tower.

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Part of Dubai. You can see the ski slope.

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Lunch was OK priced. THis was about $11. But we are in Dubai.

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Awesome theming around the slides

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Cool pic.

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Master Blasters everywhere.

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A view from the tower. The landscaping was perfect, and just gorgeous. The trees and the string bikinis.

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Another view from above. You had no idea you were right near the road.

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My onride pic. Looks like I took it in a mirror. THis was the standard pose they always asked you to make. I had a fabulous day at Wild Wadi. I would have given anything if my son could have enjoyed it along with me.

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Me in the wave pool.

Edited by Rastuso
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Sorry you didn't enjoy Saudi Arabia, but at least you had fun in Dubai. Wild Wadi looks like an amazing park, but unfortunately, I can only dream about visiting it. It was nice to see photos and videos of a park where other than its location, I have known little about.

Edited by Airtime&Gravity
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Dude, stating facts isn't being prejudiced. Islamic law allows men to beat women. They have beheaded at least 15 people this year (69 last year). I'm all for capital punishment, and even slow painful ways for truly evil people. But it is pretty archaic. And you are not allowed to be Christian in public, or you very likely will be imprisoned. Women can't drive, or vote, or have many jobs. To compare the Bible belt to radical Islam (and make no mistake, Saudi is controlled by radical Islam) is slandering the majority of people in the US.

 

Please read up on facts before calling people names. Your post simply showed how vastly uniformed you are about the world in general. Turn the channel off MSNBC for a few minutes, and change your homepage away from dailykos.com . You might learn something.

 

-RO

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^I never called you any name. Also, while I too disagree with the laws in place in Saudi Arabia, there is a way to say it without sounding like Pat Robertson. Also, one word: Uganda. Turn off CBN and you might learn something.

 

Airtime-against to intolerance of any kind -&Gravity

 

So how was SEGA Republic?

 

 

 

 

Edit: Rereading your first post RO, I don't have as big of a problem as I did yesterday. I see what you were trying to say, but I stand by my statement that there are better ways to say it.

Edited by Airtime&Gravity
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I have seen a few trip reports from this place and it just looks cooler and cooler every time I see another one. Im surprised this type of park concept hasnt taken off more in America. The Schlitterbahn park in Padre Island Texas is like this with the lazy river transportation system and multiple master blasters, but its has fairly poor attendance and could really use some more slides. But Wild Wadi looks like it really got the concept done right and the park looks amazing. Id love to get over there one of these days, and would love to see a park like this in America.

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I've always been curious, how do they respond to women tourists that don't show the same type of "modesty" they show? It looked like there were girls in Bikini's, is that cool when it's within tourist destinations like theme parks and water parks? I'm not a big fan of water parks but I've always wanted to check one out that has those water queues where each ride leads into another. I'd like to try and make it out there one day just to see all those parks and what not. Thanks for the TR.

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^^ I too was really wondering about the clothing issue. That's why I took my shirt. However, Dubai is not a staunchly Islamic country, like Saudi. We drove by beaches in Saudi, and they women were in their burkas, out in the water. You will see no bikinis in Saudi.

 

The UAE is much less strict. It is still hard to find liquor, and I saw no Playboys, or anything pornographic. Wild Wadi looked like any US waterpark, with only a few women in more conservative dress. I've attached some pics of a couple of more conservative outfits. ONe that goes down over the knees, and another that was all the way to the ankles, but sheer. WW sold what looked like wetsuits, but made of fabric. I saw maybe one person in one of them. Surprisingly, you'll notice both of these women are fair skinned, and likely not Arabic. Of course, these women showed no cleavage.

 

If anything, there were many women with less being covered than in most American parks. ANd some that I wouldn't be surprised if they would have been asked to cover more, if they were at a Disney waterpark. Many had nothing but a string going down between their cheeks.

 

-RO

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Just as skimpy as the US.

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Part 2: Downtown Dubai

 

I hit the Dubai Mall next. This is part of the Downtown Dubai complex that includes the Burj Al Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. It was about half way back to the airport. I had gone there the night before with my business colleagues. We racked up damn near $500 on alcohol and appetizers at a bar looking over the water fountain area. But, everything closed early that evening, so I didn’t get to do anything. A guy at the customer service desk said I should buy my ticket to “At the top”, the observation deck, so I had asked my hotel concierge, who said don’t bother. Well, I should have, because by the time I got there to buy, the first opening was 8 pm, a bit later than I wanted. However, I had one of the biggest malls in the world to explore.

 

This mall is 4 levels, and each level is the size of a standard “big” mall in the US. It was ginormous. However, most of the shops were very upscale. I mean VERY VERY upscale. Fendi, Luis Vitton, Jean Paul Goutier (he has a store?), and other’s I had never heard of. Most of the stores had shelves that would have one bag and a pair of boots on it, then a clothes rack with 3 garments on it. Very few items. Hell, one store even had a velvet rope and bouncer at the door. One candy store looked more like a jewelry store.

 

There were some standard stores, a toy store with all American stuff in it (very little had arabic on it), some electronics stores. I ended up eating at Outback, which was OK, but not as good as US. The mall was pretty empty for their “Friday Night”. The only area that was kicking was the theater area, which was essentially walled off from the rest of the mall, I guess to keep the crowd noise from echoing through the empty hallways.

 

I bought a toy for my son, and the woman, who had said I looked like Chuck Norris, tried to short change me $5. I got some Krispy Kremes (they had hats, but they were all English). I REALLY wanted to see the movie Shanghai, with Chow Yun Fat. I had never even heard of this movie, and it’s open in Dubai, and is an English movie with John Cusack. It was a THX theater, and would have been a great experience, but I had an elevator ticket already.

 

This area also contained Sega Republic, a smaller version of Japan's Joypolis. The coaster was much better than the torture device in Japan. Spin Gear is themed to Sonic and Dr. Robotnik. The spinning was thankfully minimum, and the layout was decent, with a few special effects. The lockker system was very good too, with individual ones for all riders, for free.

 

I headed to the elevator. There was a waiting area showing just how big the Burj Al Khalifa is. It blows away all other buildings. The observation decks is only the second highest, which really surprised me, but it is the highest outdoors one. The elevator ride (it’s only one single ride) up was very cool. Full of light effects, and so smooth you really couldn’t even tell you were moving except for the ear popping. Amazing that it was so fast and smooth. When the doors opened, it really shocked you that you were that much higher up. I took plenty of pics of the Dubai night time view, and headed back down.

 

The fountain show wasn’t operational. Rumored to be due to the fact that so few people are coming to the mall. The much touted Gold Souk was eerily empty, with tons of vacant stores, and shop keepers running after you, trying to sell you something.

 

I saw the two other Dubai parks from the taxi, but I’ve heard they are both scarily ran, and really not worth the taxi fare and effort for portable credits.

 

Dubai is an amazing city. Hopefully I’ll return some day.

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Pictures don't do it justice, the Burj Khalifa

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I'm pretty sure this was all out of my price range.

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I can only imagine how expensive this stuff was.

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I really wish I had gone in to ask how much one piece was.

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McDonalds had Pizza McPuffs!

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The Gold Souk had hundreds of store fronts. I would guess 70% were empty. A sign of the economic times.

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Luckily, there wasn't a steep entry fee like in Japan, it was pay as you go.

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The main attraction.

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The queue had some story about Robotnik. There was no wait.

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The only visible part of the coaster. There were some sound and ligh effects along the way.

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They had the Spin Boarder ride too. ALong with some large scale simulator attractions.

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The incredible view from At the Top.

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It was still a long way up to the top.

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One more incredible view before leaving.

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I agree, this is totally awesome. I realised I haven't seen many waterslide POVs, but nowadays with waterproof HD flipcams and whatnot, I bet there will be more and more popping up. You are a pioneer!

 

I have only ridden 1 Master Blaster style slide, and that was at the Therme Erding in Munich. It had uphill blasting parts, but also a lot of downhill sliding parts, including a fun *twisty* ending. The Master Blaster slides that you showed don't seem to have a lot of "sliding" parts, just mostly "blasting" parts. Is it still fun?

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You are right, many of them at Wild Wadi brought you up about 30 feet to a higher elevation. There were then ones that were more of a combination of blasters and downhill sections. Some of those videos had more water on the lenses, so they aren't as good. That is one issue with filming waterslides. You have no way of cleaning off the lenses once you are in the slide. So at WW, anything after the first few slides was hard to get a good clean video of.

 

I've got some videos from Discovery Cover I still haven't finished with. One problem with my camera is that the speaker holes get filled with water, and then the sound is crappy. Again, not really sure how you can combat that.

 

-RO

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