IF you are too lazy to explore real jungles, there is one you can enjoy without sweating it out or hiking deep into the woods. I’m referring to Saipan World Resort’s Wave Jungle, the island’s largest waterpark.
Over the last five years, I had been invited often to try the Wave Jungle, but there was always a reason why I couldn’t go. Until buddy Patrick arrived from the mainland and insisted it was one thing in his list that I should try all the slides. Each time he mentioned it I just give a non-committal shrug and hoped he was not serious, until last week when I finally ran out of alibis.
I have always been scared of slides and I still didn’t how to swim but there was no way of persuading Pat I could not do it. The night before we were scheduled for the Wave Jungle, I secretly wished it would rain hard or I would get sick so I would not have to go, but my wishes were not granted.
The weather was as bright and sunny as ever, and I did not wake up with a chill or anything. Pat hauled me off to Saipan World Resort where we had a leisurely lunch first at Buffet World. My stomach was doing all sorts of acrobatic flips as I watched people slide down the tubes, screaming. I wanted to stay at lunch forever but very soon, lunch time was over.
I gulped a glassful of white wine before following Pat to the changing room. He was as excited as a little kid while I felt I was heading toward the altar like a sacrificial lamb.
At the water park, Pat hoisted a tube and pulled me up to the stairs with him. I took a deep breath and slowly climbed the stairs to the highest point which was the entrance to the Master Blaster, the “worst/best” of all the slides. Luckily the tubes were designed for two and I was not going to do it alone. I nervously slid in behind Pat, echoing the words of Queen Esther — “if I perish I perish” — as I braced myself for the trip to kingdom-come.
I barely had time to complete one deep breath when I began to zoom down so fast. I was unable to control a scream and it was so loud I was surprised it came from my throat. Everything happened in a dizzying yet exciting swirl as we sped into a tunnel, emerged into the light before dipping again into yet another tunnel which produced scream after loud scream from me. We zoomed down into a series of twists and turns so fast that, before I knew it, the tube had already spat us out into a pool where a lifeguard assisted.
Dazed, I tried to regain my senses. After checking i was alright, Pat declared I was all ready for another round and marched us again up the long flight of stairs. The second time was not as scary as the first and I began to enjoy the thrill as I went for yet another slide. And another…My throat was becoming hoarse from all my screaming.
We floated lazily in the “Amazon River” a couple of times to regain our breath before going up the stairs again for another heart-stopping adventure: the Body Slide. Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think of going down that slide, or any slide ever. I stepped onto the slide entrance after Pat had zoomed into the darkness and started enumerating the reasons why I couldn’t and shouldn’t follow him. Suddenly the lifeguard gave me an unexpected push, a wave and a “there ‘ya go!” and sent me spiraling down the body tube at explosive speed. I thought I was going to die any second and hit my head on the walls of the twists and turns and dips and I just held my head, bracing for the worst. In seconds that seemed like eternity, I landed with a huge splash in a pool below, disappearing beneath the water. Pat caught me but not after I gulped a couple of mouthfuls of pool water and had another wardrobe malfunction.
Shaking my head to his challenge to do it again, we headed to the Wave Pool where I made the mistake of wading in without a tube. Fighting off the huge waves still dazed from the slides and full of the food and wine I had for lunch was just too much to handle, and so I ended up…swallowing more pool water.
Exhausted, we went for another round in the Amazon River to get our heartbeats back to normal, the jacuzzi and the swimming pools to get our breath back. The loud screams from the Master Blaster never ceased, but it was fun to note that most of those who were screaming were adults.
The Black Hole is not for the faint of heart. It’s a closed tube that spits you into a huge bowl and rotates you several times before depositing you in a free fall into the pool below. I saw Pat do the Black Hole and got dizzy just watching him. I didn’t try the famous Black Hole and the Tube Slide. He tried the Tube Slide and came out grinning like a kid.
Water park manager Ed Johnson said the Black Hole is one of the two most popular attractions in the Wave Jungle, next to the Master Blaster. One friendly warning — make sure your bathing suit or shorts fit you snugly to avoid wardrobe malfunctions when you fall and resurface.
A whole day is not enough to try and enjoy all the amazing slides and fun that the Wave Jungle has to offer for the whole family. There are kiddie pools with giant reptiles floating in them for children to ride on and play with as well as lounge chairs for those who just want to soak up the sun.
Another thing — if you want to try the Wave Jungle adventure after a hearty lunch at the Buffet World, go easy on the wine and beer.
As a special promo for the summer, Saipan World Resort will charge a Water Jungle entrance fee of only $10 for students.
Johnson said this promo is for schools to use as an incentive for students who are doing well academically. He said for the past couple of weeks, several schools have brought students to the Wave Jungle as a reward for their accomplishments. With his team of certified lifeguards stationed all over the Wave Jungle, Johnson said visitors can enjoy the amenities, have fun and still be safe at all times.
For more information, visit http://www.saipanworldresort.com/english/waveJungle/waveJungle.asp or call 234-5900.
First published at the Marianas Variety