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Still under Genting's spell

Still under Genting's spell

The Bangsar Boy

I AM not quite sure what my obsession with Genting Highlands is but I absolutely love that place. Perhaps it stems from the fact that it is such a fun place to be.

When younger, it was not close enough to make frequent visits and now that I'm much older and mobile, it's really barely an hour away.

The unfortunate part for me, however, is that many of my friends don't feel the same way.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to spend a night there and obviously, I grabbed the opportunity. I had a hard time convincing friends to come along with me but eventually (with the promise of a free bed and me doing the driving) they relented. I didn't spend much time up there, we got there in time for a quick dinner and then it was time for the Vanness Wu concert we were due to watch. After that, we took a walk around the indoor theme park.

The next morning, we had a quick breakfast and I was determined to play some games. I wasn't so much interested in the outdoor theme park that particular day, recollecting some scary memories.

I was there once in 2003 with a group of colleagues. We spent a couple of nights there which was really fun but the best part really was going on the rides. You see, prior to that, I have always been scared of such rides and the only reason I agreed to join my friends was because of a particular ride I had gone on the year before.

This was at one of the theme parks on the Gold Coast, Australia, during my round the country visit before heading back to KL, after having completed my studies.

Having paid so much money to get in (I really only wanted to visit the house where they shoot Big Brother Australia TV series), I decided I could not leave without trying out a ride.

This ride raises a group of people above a big pool of water and you are clamped down to your seats by this huge bars that come down from your shoulder and right down to your belly.

I met this guy in the queue and he was nice enough to talk me through the whole ordeal. When we were going round and round, the guy – a typical Australian bloke – was kind enough to offer to hold my hand in exchange for me keeping my eyes open.

"You can't miss this view, mate," was his reason. When we were suspended 90 degrees, our body weight all on the bar, it was he who convinced me to let go and hold my hand out a la Superman.

I did and the feeling was amazing. So, when I was in Genting with my colleagues, I carried with me that confidence. I went on the Cork Screw which was a great feeling and

I became brave enough to go on this device, I forget what it is called.

It basically lifts you very, very high up, holds you there for a while before making a free fall drop. It was a blast and I was convinced that I had overcome my fear of thrill rides.

Unfortunately, a visit back in 2005 (my last time there before last weekend – so much for loving the place, huh?) I once again decided to go on that ride. I wanted to experience the same thrill except this time, on my own. All the way up there, I asked myself: "Oh my gosh, what were you thinkiiiiiii…" and before I could finish that thought, I was on my way down, totally unprepared and scared sh**less.

I've not been back on a thrill ride since. So this time round, I was still determined to act like a kid and went around looking for some games to entertain myself with.

My friends and I found ourselves in the arcade section of the indoor theme park and seeing all those games – Street Fighter, Daytona racing and Time Cop – just brought back memories.

My friend and I were talking about the days back in school when we'd play truant (I only did it once, mum!) to head over to the arcade centre in Jaya Shopping Centre in Petaling Jaya. At that time, with my allowance, I could only afford a couple of games so what we had to do was be really good so as to keep winning because as long as you don't lose, you're still in the game.

I also remember the days when my uncle from Singapore would want to head up to Genting to have a go at the casino, and my mum would insist that I go along.

Now, I'm not sure if mum sent me there to babysit my uncle, or vice versa but we had the time of our lives.

While he was in there trying to win more money for me to play games (so long as he kept winning, I had stash to keep playing), I was trying to win as much coupons to exchange for a pencil box, or a soft toy. Not quite the same thing, but I've never been a gambling kind of person anyway.

The best part however for me has always been the cold weather because then it really felt like I was away from home.

I always made it a point to walk about and take in the fresh air. Of course, the best way was really by taking the taxi down – the windows are never down, and the drivers always drove as if they were going to drive over the ledge which ensured that we got a cold blast of air in our face all the way down.

Hmm... maybe that's why I've got such a phobia of thrill rides.


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