After what can only be described as one of the least restful nights sleeps’ I’ve ever had, we decided to cut our losses and just head straight into the park and get our day in the theme park done with, and get back home quickly to a land of hot smog-filled air and normal prices. Having assessed that all food options in Genting were significantly beyond our price expectations, we decided for breakfast, to head to the local newsagent and pick up a loaf of bread for breakfast, reasoning that for the measly sum of RM3.20, we could not only feed ourselves for an hour or two, but also eat on the go too and save some time, so we could spend even more time in a queue somewhere. Which is exactly what happened – a word to the wise, Genting jacks up the prices in its rooms at weekends, but it would appear that the strategy has no supply/demand effect whatsoever and people flock to the place regardless. The theme park was complete evidence, if it was needed, of that. To begin with, the crowds were everywhere – we wandered around the whole park, before finally ending up at one of the (very) few rides without a queue; the mine train. The mine train was possibly one of the most comical rides I’ll ever be on, mostly for all the wrong reasons. Firstly, there was no queue, which appeared to be purely down to its location, requiring a serious search mission to find. Secondly, inside the train, along with the usual bar there was an unusual car seatbelt that one had to belt across oneself – in my case, since I was much taller than the seat, I took the bold step of trying to secure myself by putting the belt horizontally across myself, rather than stretching it up over my shoulder; but was quickly corrected and forced to hang it up over my shoulder.
Needless to say, it was every bit as rickety as we expected and closed ‘for routine maintenance’ almost immediately after we exited. Likewise the next attraction, the log flume, also came complete with something of a comedy routine. First up, our combined weight appears to have been beyond its design capacity and we consequently ended up bumping into the bottom of the lift in our little pretend wooden log, but without actually being lifted up. Instead, we proceeded to sit there for a minute or two until the prompt arrival of the next log, which subsequently came crashing into the back of us and instantly propelled us uphill onto the lift. On our descent, we didn’t so much ‘slide’ downhill, as absolutely rocket downwards, into the off-green water below. On our arrival into the station, once again we encountered the same issue as before, with our vessel failing to catch onto the lift to bring us into the station – this time, the ride operator actively encouraged us, using some ridiculous-looking waving hand motion, to grab onto the sides of the canal and haul our stricken vessel in. From there, we wandered back into the ‘main’ section of the park, arriving at the roller coaster which, like the mine train, had also been closed for a spot of ‘routine maintenance’, which I was beginning to wonder about, since maintenance throughout the park seemed to be bordering on a bit too ‘routine’.
I’ve been to plenty of theme parks in my time, but one of the most unusual things about a trip to Genting is the park perimeter; instead of the usual barbed-wire fence leading to nothing on the other side, Genting’s perimeter is quite simply stunning. I found my way to the edge of the park, which is naturally also the edge of the mountain, from which you can see to anywhere you desire (not as far as Ireland). However, when you take it all in, the sheer ugliness of what some might call the ‘wrecked landscape’ atop our very own mountain came home quite strongly. Likewise, our next attraction, some sort of freefall tower attraction that propelled riders up to the top of a tower, strapped into our seats facing out to the landscape around us, which in our case afforded us truly magnificent views out towards Kuala Lumpur in the distance, if only for a short few seconds before we were rapidly plummeted back to earth, afforded views you wouldn’t get anywhere else. The only irritation amongst all this laughter and good fun was the fact that Genting had done something we were told wouldn’t happen; it had let the sun in somehow, which proceeded to absolutely beat down on us as we stood in the queue’s waiting for our turn. The end result of that was me returning to KL looking like a freshly-cooked lobster. The sun was so strong in fact that we ended up going to the inside theme park as early as we could, once we’d taken in the views of the surrounding terrain and had been sufficiently sunburned. Inside meanwhile, the place was just as packed as it had been the day before and after a brief tour of the place, the cheapest lunch we could find, and a few more rides, it was time to head home.
And getting home could only mean one thing; a trip on the cable cars from hell once again. We waited around the cable car station for some time, as staff unravelled miles and miles of extra queuing in advance of the thousands of visitors presumably also having to descend later on in the evening. So, with that, we decided enough was enough, we’d seen all the tack Genting had to offer us and it was time to depart the mountain the same thrilling (if not heart-stopping) way we’d arrived.
See what I mean?
On the way down from the mountain this time round, we sat once again in perfect silence bar the occasional muffled sentence of concern as we bumped across the support pillars. But, most uncomfortably, someone evidently decided to pull the brakes on the whole thing as we were halfway down the mountain and as I learned, cable cars do not come to a stop in a motion that inspires confidence. Instead, when the cable comes to a stop, the cars themselves continue swinging forward, before being pulled sharply back, and then forth again, and so on. Overall, it’s actually a pretty terrifying experience and the trip down was also one I don’t wish to repeat again anytime soon. Back on terra firma then, we waited for our bus – although we would have been waiting for a long time, since I actually had us sitting in completely the wrong spot for the bus – before finally saying goodbye to Genting and heading for home. The bus driver on the way back was evidently a man with a plan, the plan being to set a new land speed record for the journey and as we accelerated rapidly past trucks, buses, cars and motorbikes, bus rocking back and forth as we tried to squeeze through turns while maintaining the record-breaking speed, I was thankful for having seen Genting, having received some serious mountain-level sunburn that would remind me to bring sunscreen everywhere in Malaysia in future and for seeing something so effortlessly tacky.
But more importantly, for a weekend of Irish Summer-style climate, it was worth every penny…