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Fast and the Furious in Malaysia!

   

It was my parents 25th anniversary and to get rid of my brother and me, in a polite way, they deported us to Malaysia. We really believed that we were doing them a favour by not being around, till we actually reached our destination. The only thing that had so far stood out about Genting Highlands, the mountain resort also known as the Las Vegas of Malaysia, was that gambling was legal there. But the local population is mostly Muslim and does not gamble, as it is against the religion. Well, more money for us tourists to win! I will not mention here, that one of us wasn’t even old enough to gamble.

Cultural Barriers

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Genting Highlands is located at an altitude of about 1800 metres, which makes it a good five to ten degrees colder than Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately degrees colder than Kuala Lumpur had seen a massive rain shower, making the temperature up at Genting fall almost to zero. And while almost all hotels and resorts have heated walkways, not all the rooms have a personal heating system. After checking into our hotel and dumping our stuff in our very cold rooms, we headed out to sample the street food. Ignoring my brother’s touristy zest to try out any and everything, I ended up having the Malay version of biryani called Nasi Goreng at a restaurant named Kampong, the closest I could come to exper\imenting. And yes, it’s true what they all say. Malaysia is surely not a vegetarian paradise.

Once was started waling around, we were awed by the cityscape. Our first impression of the huge and colourful buildings could have been similar to how an ant might feel amidst elaborate Lego structures. We had heard that the Genting Highland resort was gigantic, encompassing the five grand hotels – Genting Hotel, Highlands Hotel, Resort Hotel, Theme Part Hotel and First World Hotel, and a few apartment blocks. We chose the Resort Hotel solely for its oxymoronic name; nevertheless, what was funnier about it was that all the signage directed you one way – to the theme part. So everyday while returning to our rooms, we got lost. Of course we faced no such problem while heading out.

The Indoor Theme Park

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Our first destination was the indoor theme part, a part of the Fist World Plaza, Latitudes meet interestingly here as the multilevel park has six sections, each themed around a city. France (Champs Elysee), England (London), Italy (Venice), America (Times Square and Universal Walk), Switzerland (Swiss Alps) and Malaysia (Genting Walk) are all comically replicated here. For example, in Genting’s Venice, you can cruise a canal in a Venetian gondola and then hop onto the London Eye, right beside the Big Ben in London. Round the corner, we found the Universal Walk, Times Square and replicas of the Statue of Liberty riding a bike and a giant Oscar statue. Truly a surrealistic experience, in terms of the warped proportion and juxtaposition! In the Ice Charmer, you can fulfill your snowboarding dreams and there is a usual spook house and a lot of other attractions for toddlers, but the best is "Ripley’s Believer it or Not Museum" that houses thousands of bizarre and mindboggling things from around the world.

Signature Attractions

Fast and the Furious in Malaysia!-3 Nothing, however, beats Genting Highland’s signature attraction. The Genting Sky Venture, which is the only freefall skydiving simulator in Asia, I was appalled by the state of the art Wind Tunnel, designed so well that even at a speed of 120 miles per hour, you’re still airborne. When inside, I felt like a character in the cartoon series Futurama. My muscles strained to pull me back and I had to fight against the wind to keep going.

The next challenging exercise is the Genting X-pedition Wall. Stretching somewhere over 12 meters, embellished with a six-meter overhanging, a wall meant to train the Israeli army, perhaps. I decided to keep away from it and thankfully, I escaped the embarrassment my brother faced when midway, he dropped straight down. In his defense, all he had to say was, “This one is for Spiderman!".

Rollercoaster High

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Once it was time to head out, I concluded that our first ride was the scariest. The Flying Coaster, translated better as a rollercoaster in which you are hung from a glider. Every time you dip, you feel you’re gone for good this time. Clutching my security grip, I was may be the loudest screamer. The ride bends, turns, dips, elevates and suddenly drops. Not even for a nanosecond is it predictable. People say that this ride gives you a completely unobstructed view of the Highlands. I don’t know how that is possible with so much movement and such little time! The ride lifts the flyer to a height of 20 meters and releases the flyer to a hang gliding flying experience over 390 meters of track length, with a maximum speed of 25.7 mph. Four people ride together in a row, and as the only girl in my compartment, I felt a sense of achievement looking at all the ‘scaredy’ cat girls looking at me from behind the fence.

So Fast, So Crazy!

Once you’ve been on the Flying Coaster, everything else pales in comparison. Still, the Corkscrew flashes amongst my best memories from Genting Highlands. Shaped like a screw, the coaster takes you two full circles, spinning up to a height of 90 feet before swooping down to come to an abrupt halt. As soon as it started to drop, I felt I’d let some of my body parts behind, because of the excessive torque. The sad part with all these rides is that they end just when you start to enjoy them!

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We tried the Go Kart Track, which is no different from any other, and the Space Shot for the nanosecond thrill. Taking you to a height of 80 meters or so, the ride leaves you to fall freely under gravity. A word of caution here to the women, please be sure to wear pants, because your legs fly around in all directions.

Watch Your Weight

After having exhausted all the adult rides, we tried out luck with the kids’ rides, but most of them were too darn boring and the rest of them did not take us in because of weight limits. Although I was okay for all, my brother got refused on most of them because he was ‘overweight’, much over the average 75 kg limit. Weightists!
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