Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rollercoasters and the art of screaming (Holiday Part 3)

Sunday morning saw us queuing up at the gates to Paramount Canada’s Wonderland, with half the population of Toronto, to enjoy their final day of the season.

Now let me just say that Wookiee LOVES rollercoasters, while I do enjoy them, but it wasn’t always so. My first experience with a coaster was the traditional one for brits of my age, at Blackpool Pleasure Beach on the Grand National. This is a very old, rickety and rattly wooden coaster. It doesn’t do any loops or anything else particularly daring, however the safety bar leaves a lot to be desired which makes the experience a whole factor of magnitude more frightening than some of the more modern coasters where you are strapped and belted and otherwise secured to within an inch of your life. You know, where breathing during the ride isn’t that important as long as you don’t fall out along the way.

Anyway, the Grand National coaster frightened me so much that I refused to ever go on another coaster and it took much persuasion a few years ago to get me on one again. At which point I discovered that they’re not so bad really.

So after about a 20-minute wait to get through security we were off and into the park proper. We promptly headed for the lockers to dump my handbag and other miscellaneous pocket tat and then headed for the first ride of the day.

(NOTE: This link takes you to a page with all the rides descibed, with pictures)

First up was Top Gun, an interesting little ride, an inverted coaster (if I remember my terminology). There was a moment near the end of our 1 hour queuing experience where it looked as though Wookiee may not be allowed on, as not only was there a minimum height requirement but there was actually a maximum as well. Fortunately it was a fraction of an inch above his head, but he did have to remove his shoes. It’s quite a compact little coaster, doesn’t cover much floor space, but it really makes the most of the space it has, going back and forth on itself several times and much screaming ensued.

I pause briefly to note that I do have a bad back and I accept that it will be buggered up by going on coasters. I consider it worth the experience, however it does mean that I don’t tend to ride more than once, especially where there are large queues.

As we wobbled our way away from the ride Wookiee hunted for a suitable filming location and shot some video of the ride in action, thus giving me chance to sit down on something that wasn’t going to flip me upside down, and get my land-legs back again, then it was off to the next ride.

We bypassed the Tomb Raider ride as being potentially damaging to my upper chest area (you lie on your front for the ride) and moved on to the Italian Job. Unfortunately with this ride being new the queues were enormous and after ascertaining that this was more of an ‘experience’ ride than a thrill ride we decided to pass and headed for the Mighty Canadian Minebuster.

Hooooo Boy!

Remembering what I said before about rickety old wooden coasters, I really shouldn’t have gone on this ride, but I thought maybe that Blackpool was a one off.

I. Am. Never. Going. On. Another. Wooden. Coaster. EVER.

Even Wookiee found it more than a little hair raising. It was extremely fast (not helped by us sitting at the back), very high and steep, and oh my did it rattle and shake. Right at the end of the ride you hurtle into a flat loop in a pitch-black tunnel and the speed you go into it is phenomenal, then you pop out the other side and the brakes kick you in the teeth.

Another wee sit down and a hot dog was in order after that.

We then took a good long look at the Skyrider. I wasn't really keen on the idea of this ride to start with but then when Wookiee noticed that the ‘seats’ were like bicycle seats (comment: thank you but I’d like my family jewels to remain where they descended to at puberty, not back where they started) it became a definite no for both of us.

Continued tomorrow with the Vortex, The Bat and Dragon Fire!

Azrael Update

He’s settled in comfortably at home. Friday night he stuffed his little face as best he could. All his food has to be mashed up with water to make it really sloppy so he can just lap it up, chewing being a thing of the future for him at the moment. Saturday he spent most of the day asleep. Even when I had him in the living room for cuddles (and so we could run the dryer) he spent most of the time asleep on the sofa or my lap. Once he did perk up and start roaming I had to put him back in the cage, as he’s not to be too active yet because of his hip. Sunday and yesterday he was back to making up for lost time (and weight) on the food front and was definitely more active within the cage, but still quite happy to splurge all over me and snooze when allowed out. His jaw is still hurting him, most obviously when he yawns as he’s ‘pulling to the right’ every time. He also had quite a long grooming session on Sunday, which is a very good sign.

Thank you to everyone who left ‘hugs’ in the comments for him, especially Cassandra who delurked especially to pass on snuggles from her 8 fuzzbutts.

The (In)fertility Saga Continues

Finally some progress news for you all. Wookiee is at last booked in for his sperm test. We’re bypassing his GP and going straight for the private option. Ok so it’s going to cost £60 but at least it’ll be done.