Alton Towers Adventure!

Yesterday Nikkie, Ads and I drove down to the theme park Alton Towers. We were meeting up with Jackie, Jo and Tom who were coming down from Liverpool. It’s Jackie’s birthday today, and so the Alton Towers trip was a sort of pre-birthday fun-filled excursion.
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So Wigs is getting his Neighbours fix at the moment (despite declarations he is not hooked enough to watch the same episode twice a day, this is today’s second viewing,) so the burden has fallen upon my heavy shoulders to summarise yesterdays adventures. And maybe add my 2 cents about eurobackpacking, life, the universe and blogs. Actually screw that, I hate blogs 😀
After 2 hours sleep (long story) I was awoken at half eight in the morning by Wigs (booming voice) for Operation Alton (dinner-out is a go). A bowl of cornflakes (Sainsbury special), a 50 minute burl down the motorway (M-1 through M-69, it seems), 20 minutes through the archetypically British, picturesque Alton countryside (complete with winding roads and blind corners), and a 5 minute walk from the Alton Towers carpark to the theme park proper (monorail inoperative) and here we were (where?).
It’d be nice to say that going to Alton Towers embodied some sort of symbolic return to the UK for me, as going there had been one of the last things I had done before emigrating to Aus. Alas I couldn’t actually remember anything about it, except there was lots of fun to be had.
And fun there was. Oblivion. Nemesis. Submission. Rides appropriatelly named. A disconcerting indicator of the degree of intensity of a ride is given by the tightness of the harness on your crotch. And these rides were real crotchbusters. Which isn’t a necessarily bad thing. Everybody has pondered what exactly would happen if your harness failed mid-ride. Most likely they’d be scraping you off the pavement. This is why I was expecting some sort of sympathy, concern and/or worry when the ride diagnostics said there was something wrong with my harness on Air, and the supervisor had to come and check it out. But no, instead Tom and Jo just point at me and burst out laughing. Thanks guys. More of the same after the second ride, when my ankle clips (yes, Air has harnesses to secure your legs) didn’t unlock.
Ride after ride, one by one we bugged out. Jackie on Enterprise, Jo – Ripsaw go #1; shortly followed by me on go #2, fighting rising bile as my stomach was palpitated by my intestines. Inertia is funny that way. Nikkie on the Tea Cup ride.
The Tea Cup ride.
After braving the Tower’s top 5 adrenalin busters, the oldschool ‘all round fun’ Tea Cup ride may seem a peculiar choice for a black flag. But that is an opinion reserved for those who have not experienced the singular pleasure of 5 people, damp to dripping wet (see below), crammed into a giant teacup screaming, singing and spinning while tracing gracefull, high velocity spirographs in an area the size of a front yard.
Ripsaw made me mildly nauseous. Mr Tea Cup ride OBLITERATED me; this thing is the destroyer of worlds. I wasn’t alone. It is the most underrated ride there. I cannot overemphasize how bad. Fighter pilots do not experience g-forces quite like these. It was followed by unanimous agreement to grab a coffee and have a 10 minute sit down. Make that 30 minutes. Somewhere along the line Wigs and I stopped for a game of DDR, much to the digust of everyone else.
And of course no theme park excursion is complete without the water rides – or namely, the conspiracies to get the unsuspecting soaked on said rides. And the conspiracies were abound. After the Wigs-Tom-Jackie (these three being the most mischievous) entente to drench the rest of us only resulted in their self-soaking (viz. Tom – ‘My bottom is swimming!’) on the rapids, we proceeded to the flumes. Better known elsewhere as the log ride, to those not in the know, it involves a bathtub sized conveyance (indeed, our particular vehicle at this venue was called a bathtub, nuff said) taking a narrowly winding water path with some sudden drops and accompanying splashes. These get progressively larger. The main ‘fun’ (and I use this term loosely) comes from seeing who gets drenched at each drop. It’s sadistic, random, quite unfair and oh how we loved it.
Here we were all mightily impressed by Wigs, who chivalrously offered Nickie a seat where he assured her she wouldn’t get drenched. How sweet. Then he sat behind and used her as a water shield. Careful, oh intrepid readers: this man is devious.
However, Tom and Jackie were the real show stealers. Jo and I, having escaped lightly on the rapids, were afraid the law of averages might catch up. But providence smiled. On us at least. Tom and Jackie had some dirty plan to avoid the water by hiding in the enclave at the front of the bathtub, yet making it fore-heavy to increase the splash for others (ie me, Jo). Make no mistake about it, log ride dynamics is apparently an intricate subject. In this case however, all it did was submerge the front of the tub on the drop and effectively dump buckets of water on them. There was one particularly memorable drop, done in the pitch black of an artificial cave – I braced for the drop, felt the impact, heard the splash. I was thinking ‘that wasn’t so bad’ when Jackie let loose a gawdamighty loud splutter-cum-shriek. Music to my ears.
When we got off that ride, Tom looked like he’d been under a shower for 20 seconds; Jackie like she’d jumped in a pool. She took it well, or better than I would’ve. Once again no sympathy. Not from this bunch.
Come late afternoon, the crowds disperse; Tom and Wigs (the rest of us drained) to hop on Nemesis something like a billion times in a row, while I stay to talk fashion with the girls. I can say with confidence Gucci handbags are still in, by the by.
So we finally make our leave from Alton Towers. Now when Wigs says ‘we’ drove, he more means Nikkie drove, he talked, and I slept. We did stop by a pub for some typically excellent British pub food. By now everyone’s stomach is settled enough to eat – fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding, shepherds pie. There are some things about Britain I’d forgotten I’d missed.

One thought on “Alton Towers Adventure!

  1. oh re-reading these entries is proving to be rather hilarious, what a great day we had…
    and Michael, i thought you were such a gentleman


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