Friday is a religious day in the United Arab Emirates, and as such many shops and businesses are closed until after lunch time. Sparky's is not among them, but nevertheless we were the first customers of the day for Roller Coaster (#1606). We were soon to learn that this ride requires a certain amount of weight in the train in order to complete the course, particularly when the wheels have yet to warm up. Rather than tell us to come back later, the operator summoned the entire staff from around the place to help out. Most took seats like regular clients, but one decided to walk up the lift hill and jump in the moving train at the top!
On the first lap the train only just made it, coasting around the final turn at a speed of no more than two miles per hour. Perhaps this is why the staff member jumped out, climbed the lift hill alongside the train, and jumped in again. The coaster proved to be a surprisingly good ride. I'd give it better marks without the near-stall at the end of the course. It isn't at all obvious to the observer why the ride slows so much, as the layout certainly appears to have more than enough to spare.
14th January 2011
A fifty-five minute flight brought us from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, the capital city of the Sultanate of Oman. The Markaz al Bahja shopping mile is about a five minute drive from the airport, and inside it can be found Fantasia, a small family entertainment centre. Though very much in the kiddie coaster category, Roller Coaster (#1607) still features a reasonably forceful figure eight turn, just about worth the few minutes it takes to get there and ride it!
14th January 2011
Marah Land is the only amusement facility in Oman that can really be called a park. Though small, there is nevertheless enough there to occupy any visitor for at least an hour or two. The largest ride in the place is a custom designed log flume that I'd have liked to try, but it was down today due to a broken lift hill chain. Other attractions include a good collection of spin rides, a ferris wheel, and two roller coasters.
Despite its name, Nissi Coaster (#1608) is a standard layout Big Apple. However, the ride lacks a trim brake on the big drop, a subtle alteration that turns what should be a gentle kiddie coaster into an adult thrill ride. At the base of the drop, momentum carries the train (now moving at full speed) around an unbanked turn, through the station, down the sharp incline out of the station, and almost two thirds of the way up the lift hill on its next lap. Adult riders not paying attention could easily end up with a fractured rib courtesy of the lap bar; imagine how embarrassing it would be if you fractured your rib on a Big Apple!
Next to it is a generic coaster from the Zyklon family, here called Typhoon (#1609). This ride was apparently bought from a park in Saudi Arabia, though details beyond that are scant. The experience was entirely as expected; the only comment I'd make for future passengers is to watch out for the end-course brakes, though connoisseurs of this genre probably do that anyway!
Sindbad's Amusement Centre
14th January 2011
From the perspective of the foreign tourist Sindbad's Amusement Centre falls firmly into the "only if you're a serious credit whore" category. Though the staff are friendly and welcoming, the place looks pretty scary, so much so that the foul-smelling blocked drain on the approach path doesn't seem even remotely out of place. We caught our ride on Nessi (#1610) and made a quick exit.
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