Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Worlds Apart

Here I am in sunny Oz, the land down under, of kangaroos and dingoes and people with silly accents that I have trouble understanding.

So far, I love this place.

The weather is absolutely sublime, a cool 26 deg C (about 79 deg F) with low humidity, a far cry from the melting sweltering pressure cooker that is the Philippines. Being near the beach, having a relentless breeze wash over you, cleansing you of any need for A/C, smelling the beautiful salty air of the nearby sea... It's just a great, refreshing feeling.

These past few days I've been here with my aunt and uncle and my two young cousins. We've been visiting the various theme parks that the Gold Coast is known for, although we're avoiding the Wet n Wild waterpark. Good thing too, every so often during the day it'll rain cats and dogs, letting up briefly to let the sun say hello. Let's get a quick rundown of these parks:

DreamWorld: Sort of a small Disneyland with its own characters and themes, this place isn't too memorable. I want to write about it, and yet, I can't seem to remember anything notable about it or what rides or attractions we went to. I do know that the sandwich I ate was delicious, and that here in Australia, they charge for the tomato sauce, about 60 cents a pack. It's not exactly ketchup, it has sort of an extra kick.

MovieWorld: Like Universal Studios, except done by Warner Bros. Some great shows like Shrek 4D (the fourth dimension is the feel of the show), a very immersing Batman Adventure ride, a good Police Academy stunt show, a crappy Lethal Weapon rollercoaster, and the amazing Superman Escape: The Ride.

Let's take a moment to describe this marvel of G-force engineering. Most rollercoasters I've been on have a nice long climb toward the first great peak and dive. "Clink clink clink clink clink" it'll go, as it moves its excited/nervous passengers up, up, and up toward the efficient powered-by-gravity drop. It's sort of the part that builds anticipation before one's organs are thrown in all directions and one's mind and body become addled by waves of nausea.

But this is Superman. Superman doesn't slowly push things around. He's buff as a rhino on speed.

The ride starts as you queue up for the MRT, the Metro Rapid Transit. You're one of the many faceless citizens of Metropolis, getting on the train to go to work when... BOOM! SMASH! A gigantic earthquake rocks the city, blocking all hope of escape. We're trapped in the subway! Oh noes!

Hey look, it's Superman! "Folks, there's only one way out of this mess. Don't worry, I'll push you guys out of here... fast."

Yeah, no kidding. You're launched---yes, launched---out of the building, up the peak, then swirled and tossed in all directions, so many delicious G-forces assaulting your very soul. It is a beautiful feeling, none of the silly stomach coming out of mouth kind, but the good thrown about kind. 24 seconds later, the brakes slam and all movement halts as you come to the rest point. The best thing about this park? There's no line. Just get right back in for another dose of rip roaring ridiculousness.

SeaWorld: I love marine life. The dolphin show was good fun, seeing a big fat dugong (sea cow) up close was cool, and being face to face with gigantic rays is always a good time. All I could think about at every giant man-made reef/aquarium/giant water area with fishies was diving in it. Even the one with the gigantic sharks. Especially the one with the gigantic sharks.

Next up, I'm going to Brisbane to hang out with Donna, one of the many people in the hostel I met in Cinque Terre.

You remember Cinque Terre, don't you? Here's a reminder.

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