Monday, August 23, 2004

[deep breath]

Possibly one of the more masochistic forms of entertainment, I spent the evening with my Capoeira class over at Vancouver's amusement park, Playland. Having went without going on a roller coaster for the better part of eight years, I forgot about two things: how long the lineups can get, and how frickin' fast these things go.

As the outing was provided complimentary courtesy of the people at PNE (our group was doing a demonstration on the 22nd of August), we got to go on every ride. Well, almost every ride.

This one new ride was introduced to replace The Rainbow (unfortunately, the name escapes me as of this moment...I think it was called 1001 Nights). While a diagram is better to describe it, it has a platform arm which stays upright while it is being spun around in a circle. As it drops, passengers almost float out of their seats (restraining arms keep this from happening). As The Rainbow was one of my favourites, I was eager to try this one out.

As we waited in line, we realized that the lineup wasn't moving. This was because there was a massive puddle of vomit right next to the exit which had to be cleaned up. We decided to come back after another ride. When we returned, we realized that again that the lineup wasn't moving. There were two separate puddles of vomit this time, which a guy was trying to wash away with a bucket of water. It's times like these where a hose is handy. Sadly, the group I'm with take this as a sign to try a different ride.

Somehow, I'm reminded of a time when I was attending BC Physics Day at Playland during high school physics. We had a friend who had the misfortune of going with a full stomach, so we goaded him to go on ride after ride after ride. As we left the Enterprise, he complained, "The puke is right here!", pointing to his throat. We all then got him to go onto the Tilt-A-Whirl (it didn't even take that much arm twisting). It was six of us, three of us in one car, three in another, which meant we didn't see our friend all the time. Although we do remember two distinct images: one of him clenching his eyes shut, concentrating really hard not to puke; the other with his head buried between his knees. We have since re-named this ride, "The Tilt-A-Hurl".

This is truth in advertising. Rethink Advertising is a company that has an account with Playland to handle their print, radio, and television advertisements. Since holding the account, they have won several awards and garnered some controversy among the more conservative types. Their recent print campaign featured on bus shelters and the Skytrain features models covered with foodstuffs and vomit (ie: "Vomit print by Crazy Beach Party", "Mustard motif by the Corkscrew", etc.).

I will always remember the infamous "Barf Cam" television ad which was unfortunately yanked after a few complaints. In it, the camera takes a POV shot from inside a person's stomach (you see little bits of partially digested matter) while you hear the sounds of the famous wooden rollercoaster (the clackety rumbling sounds, people screaming). The camera rises and you see a set of teeth, which opens up to reveal a guy's face. "Not now, man! Not now!" He says. The camera goes back down, but then all of a sudden shoots straight up into the air, past the row of teeth, past all the passengers in the rollercoaster, falling through the rollercoaster, as all these people are running out of the way to avoid getting hit by flying vomit. The last thing you see before it hits the ground is is the Playland logo. Cut to black.

(If anyone knows where I can download a copy of this ad, please let me know! "Barf Cam" doesn't yield any positive results when punched into

One thing I'm realizing through all of this is that we're essentially paying for the privelege of pain (Rethink capitalizes on this in their ad campaign, which is one of the reasons for their success). They seem to think that we'd be willing to pay MORE for another particularly rough ride, The Hellevator. It costs an additional $5 to go on it.

So, I pay the additional $5 and start to rue the decision as soon as the restraining arm goes down and realize that there is no turning back. The fun (or not!) thing about this ride is that it shoots you straight up in the air with no warning whatsoever. As soon as I get off, I'm feeling slightly queasy and my hands are tingling. Fortunately, I have the foresight to stop eating two and a half hours previous. I am still on the verge of collapse as soon as I get off the ride, though.

Perhaps it was a good thing that we decided not to go on 1001 Nights after all...

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