Karen and I, in our constant search for methods to beat the heat, decided to go to the Hanoi Water Park on Saturday July 14th. It was about thirty-six degrees on Saturday afternoon as we strolled in to the park after surprisingly few wrong turns and language barrier questions with the Vietnamese. There is an amusement park and water park connected just ten minutes away from our old house in West Lake. It is usual Merliano madness for us to do things in this way. We wait until it is three times further away from us to go. Case in point: Karen, after living in West Lake for 10 months and working at Cleverlearn, has taken a job, two weeks after moving out of West Lake due to its relative remoteness, with a Kindergarten walking distance from our old house. This is not intentional of course, it is just how the Merlins roll. Now she has a 25-30 minute commute to her new school from our new flat in the middle of the city.
Back to the water park. We were quite impressed with the presentation of the HWP as there were many slides, pools and other attractions, and most importantly there were canteens every twenty or thirty feet selling cold beer. First and foremost I must explain that Vietnam does not hold itself to the North American standard of safety. There is very much a play at your own risk sentiment in the Nam. I have experienced only two water slides in this country and feared, quite literally, for my life. In Cat Ba island water park I was sure I would be shot right over the side and fall thirty meters to a most certain death on the jagged rocks below. This quite real possibility did not deter Karen who went down the slide repeatedly until injury on one of the more suicidal slides sidelined her for the rest of the day.
The second slide was at the Hanoi Water Park. In Cat Ba on the first slide, we had to go down on foamy "crazy carpet" looking mats that allowed you to hit the speed of light as you shot through the half-tunnel water slide with your stomach residing somewhere behind your eyes, resting agains your sinuses. At the HWP you are actually placed on inflatable raft like things and expected to travel the slide in tandem. Karen and I squeezed and wriggled our way on to the flotation device and prepared for the ride of our lives. ( I just learned that flotation doesn't have an A when spellcheck corrected me)We maintained our positions for no more than three seconds as the raft bucked us off like a deranged bronco leaving us twisted and disoriented as we shot through a jet black water slide like human bullets. With no light and no idea when we would be shat out of this tube, we positioned ourselves for the blow, and with me taking up the rear, just hoping I didn't crush Karen when we hit the water. What seemed like minutes later, after leaving a considerable amount of skin from various body parts behind in the slide. We emerged like hairy cannon balls at the bottom of the slide. I decided abruptly to make that my only attempt, but Karen, never one for learning her lesson, spent the better part of two hours trying out the various slides of death and dismemberment.
I did what I am apt to do in most situations like this, and proceeded to get afternoon bombed on .75 cent beers watching Karen shoot through a series of intestine like plastic amusement.
We left the water park just after five and went to Al Fresco's restaurant to use up a coupon we had for 250,000 Dong in free food. (About 15 bucks)and then went home to wash the pool water off and put cream on our sunburns. All in all, a good Saturday.
Talk to you soon,