Dubai Diaries: The most thrilling rollercoaster ride

I will be back, I promised myself, perhaps after a year or so.

Photo for illustrative purpose (AFP)
Photo for illustrative purpose (AFP)

Kirstin Bernabe

Published: Wed 9 Mar 2022, 9:43 AM

For the first time in my life, I found myself frozen on the sidelines as I watched queues upon queues of people hop on what many described as the ‘best Dh40 ride’ ever.

We drove up to Jebel Jais and checked out the region’s longest toboggan ride. The roadtrip was exciting enough, but when I saw my husband and brother at the gates of Jais Sledder, I wished I just stayed at home. The thrill-seeker in me was begging to grab a toboggan and just go sledding my way down the UAE’s highest peak. No, says my baby bump. A hard no.

Even my 56-year-old mother-in-law bravely took the ride, but said she would never do it again. She enjoyed the view up there, she said, but when the toboggan started hurtling down at full speed, her heart nearly jumped out of her chest. What she didn’t know was that there was a manual braking system and riders could go slow and steady as they coast through the twists and turns. The problem is, she rode with her son— what else could anybody expect from a prankster?

Whenever there’s a new adventure in town — the world’s fastest, longest, tallest — I had always been among the first in line. Waiting and watching outside the rails was never my thing. But with my boy kicking around my womb every three hours or so, all I could do was relive the last time I was swinging 460 feet up in the air on Bollywood Parks’ Skyflyer.

I have had to pass up on several new attractions already. Besides the Jais Sledder, there’s also the Sky Views Edge Walk in Downtown Dubai, which will take you over 219.5 metres above the ground and get the daredevil in you walking hands-free on a ledge. Up there, you can enjoy a full-circle city view that will literally take your breath away.

Then, just a few weeks ago, the new Dubai Hills Mall opened with Storm Coaster, the fastest indoor roller-coaster in the city. It is perhaps the first rollercoaster in the world that has been integrated directly into the structure of a building. With special effects and real-life footage of extreme weather events all around, riders will be dropped (vertically) into the middle of a mega-storm and off they go on an ultra-fast two-and-half-minute chase. (I can only wish I am writing all these from experience.) I dragged my family to the mall recently, hoping to catch a glimpse of the tracks and all, but nope, I saw nothing but lines of people buying their Dh55 tickets.

I will be back, I promised myself, perhaps after a year or so. I will get that three-ride package at Jais Sledder, book a sunset daredevil walk at the Sky Views, and conquer that storm.

Then I felt a big kick — reminding me that I am actually now in line for the most thrilling rollercoaster ride of my life: Motherhood.

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