“Stop stepping on the back of my shoes!”
The voice distracts me from my internal thoughts.
“You keep getting dirt on them!” my cousin yells at me as I realize I continue to step on her feet.
“Sorry,” I reply. “I am just scared.” We are walking around Wild Wadi, one of the nicest waterparks in the world, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Also at this waterpark? Sceirah, a waterslide 125.8 feet in the air, that requires you to stand, and then drop straight down.
Usually, I am not terrified of these things, as it gives me a rush, and being a risk-taker. Still, knowing I was in another country, with completely different technology than the US, and our parents were all shopping together elsewhere, I was frightened.
“That does not mean you can ruin my shoes.” My cousins are all talking to each other, and my siblings are making fun of each other. I am too distracted for anything. I know I will be forced onto the ride at any moment, as my older cousins want me to suffer.
“How about we start off with a ride that WILL NOT traumatize me for the rest of my life.” I say as we look at a map to see where to begin. After staring at the map, we find a ride that everyone is comfortable with, the Toilet Bowl ride.
Walking up the damp, wooden stairs, my heart is racing, but not because I am scared. I am excited. Waterparks are my favorite types of amusement park, because the rides are fast, there is a lot of water, and they are just fun. As we get to the top, I start to laugh, because I remember a past experience where I fell out of the tube on this very ride.
“Next.” My sister, my two cousins and I rush into the tube, not ready for what is ahead. After waiting for about thirty seconds, the worker gives us one push, two push, three, and we are off.
The wind blows in our hair as we fly down the water slide. Turn after turn, we fly out of the tube, and land back in. We see an upcoming waterfall, knowing that a tunnel is right behind it. And this whole time, we are all screaming. My cousin adjusts the GoPro on her head, afraid it will fall off and get damaged and cracked. As she grasps her head, reaching for the camera, a bump causes her to fly out of the tube, reaching for something to hold her down. We close our eyes, not wanting to know what happens next. All of a sudden, we feel a shift of our tube. As we open our eyes, we see her, laying on the tube, her chest rising up and down as her lungs struggle for air. When we all open our eyes, we see her, flat on her stomach, breathing harder than a runner in the Olympics. By the time we realize she is okay, the ride comes to an end.
“Please stay inside the tube until you come to a complete stop.” the worker tells us as we reach safe waters. We all stumble out of the tube, our bodies sore from the bumps we hit throughout the ride. Dizziness falls over us, and we stumble to the exit, the rest of our cousins waiting for.
“You guys look like you had fun!” my cousin says.
We continue to walk throughout the waterpark, talking, eating snacks, riding other rides, until we get to the one. My head slowly rises, looking up at the tall structure they dare to call a waterslide. The wet, slippery stairs touch my feet, my heartbeat pounds in my head. As I get to the top of the stairs, my stomach drops. Hearing the sounds from the machine, I start to chicken out. Keep your arms crossed throughout the ride. You will drop in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… I drift into my own thoughts, worried about what is going to happen next.
“Next. Next! Sweetie it is your turn now. Please come forward.” The lady continues to talk as I realize it is my turn. When I look back, I realize I am the first person of our group to go. Stepping into the tube, the cold water rushes past my feet. My sunburn on my back is cooled off as it touches the enclosure. I cross my arms, praying nothing happens to me when I fall.
Keep your arms crossed throughout the ride. You will drop in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… The floor beneath me drops, and my body goes with flow of the water. A rush of excitement travels through my body. Down, down, down I go, the friction of the slide burning my back. Bump after bump, turn after turn, I see an opening, allowing light into the slide. Finally, I thought. As the ride comes to an end, I struggle to get up. My legs are weak, and I stumble to leave the slide. Exiting the ride, I see my cousins who did not go on the ride waiting for me.
“So, how was it?” one of them says.
“I almost died.” I replied, fear in my eyes.
“Would you do it again?”
“Duh! It was so scary. I loved it.” The feeling of the risk was exciting. If I could do it again, I would.
As we wait for the rest of our group, I keep thinking of what would have happened if I did not go. Even though it was not a big, terrifying ride, it was still frightening to experience.
Now, whenever I go on high or fast rides, I will just remember how I went on one of the tallest water slides in the world, and I still survived. This waterpark taught me that life is all about taking risks, and having fun. I know that if I did not go on the ride, I would regret it everyday. Now, whenever something risky but also safe and fun is placed in front of me, I always take the challenge. You never know what could happen if you do not.