Tales from Taiwan #2: Rolling Up and Down in Yamay

There are things you might have never done before while you were in your home country. You think you would never be able to do them for the rest of your life – as in ever. Then you suddenly find yourself in a different place and the excitement that courses through your veins has gotten to your nerves and up all the way to your brain. Suddenly, what was once impossible for you becomes possible.

Welcome to Yamay!


That’s what happened to me when my friends and I went to Yamay one sunny weekend. Friends from Kaohsiung visited Taichung so we chose to take them to the theme park which was divided into two parts, Discovery World and Mala Bay. The former is the regular kind which is open year-round while the latter is a water park open only during the summer.

2011 marked Taiwan’s 100th year, a proud historical moment for its people

To get there, we boarded a bus that would take us to the Taichung Train Station, the last stop. From there, we bought a train ticket to Houli and finally a taxi to Yamay. The taxi driver was selling tickets for the theme park at a lower price so we took the deal and bought them. 

 Waiting for the train

Once we arrived, we were wondering if we were actually at the right place because there weren’t any parked cars or people walking about. We later saw that the theme park was unusually close to empty but all the rides, except for the Wild River Canyon, were open. We were expecting a lot of people to be there but there wasn’t so I told them that I had reserved the entire theme park for all of us. It seemed like that anyway. We didn’t even to have to fall in line for the rides!

Where have all the people gone?
 

Now here is a little bit about the magical legend of the Discovery World:

There was once the evil Aguli who cursed the world so chaos reigned and all hope was locked in the holy land of the Malay tribe. A thousand moon eclipses passed before a giant dragon ball crashed on the earth which contained 12 holy beasts which defeated Aguli. This land is now what is called the Discovery World and the 12 holy beasts became its guardians. If one happens to see them, that person’s dreams will come true.

The story sounds interesting enough, I know. Meanwhile, their mascots are a guy and a girl dragon, Lucky and Love.

Still no people in sight

With our maps, we went around the entirety of the theme park trying out every ride. We started with the very classic bumper cars that never gets old and spent some time at the arcade to warm ourselves up. Then there was the Sonic Circle which we thought was a harmless ride that simply spun and spun. To our horror, it did spin around and around but upside down! I thought I was going to fall off because the seat was too big for me.

The Sonic Circle

After this stressful ride, we tried another thinking it would be more fun and less scary. We rode The Stinger which also spun around higher and higher until you could see a wonderful view of the theme park. At least it was slower and it didn’t turn upside down. The Galactic Spun was next – a ride which I rode three times despite the fact that it turns 360 degrees twice. I was getting more hyped and hyped by the minute.

The Stinger

A break, however, was requested so lunch came next. I was still too excited but to protect my now full-of-food tummy, I opted for the less adventurous rides and headed for the Fairy Tale Village. The cute village for children which of course had kiddie rides such as the Merry Go Round, the Sea Queen, the Fly to Sky, and Dino-Round, among others. The Mine Express was a little different. It was a little version of a roller coaster but it brings flutters to the tummy nonetheless.

The Merry Go Round

After all these, The Hook was next. It was a large ship that swung to-and-fro, another of those rides that does something to your insides. We have something similar to that in our theme park here in my home country and we call it Anchor’s Away. Another ride similar to ours, which we call the Jungle Log, is the Wild-Crazy Flume. We rode a log-like boat that will float all the way up to the peak before suddenly sliding down and causing us to get wet from head-to-toe.

The Hook

To dry ourselves up, we rode the World in the Circle. The ferris wheel turned ever so slowly that by the time we got off, we were indeed already dry.

 (c) Mike Tamayo: The World in a Circle

It was close to sunset and it was almost closing time. However, there was still time for one last ride – the Gravity Max. Only for those with the guts, this is the world’s first roller coaster with a broken track. It begins at a slow pace, moving the coaster till it reaches a height of 17 floors. Afterward, the track currently holding it will disengage itself and turn 90 degrees till your facing downward. It will hold itself like this for 15 seconds before it plunges fast underneath the earth and turns 360 degrees before the ride ends.

(c) Mike Tamayo: The two of us conquering Gravity Max

Mike and I were really scared to try this ride. We almost didn’t, actually. What made us change our minds? I told you, when you’re in a different place with all that thrill and excitement, impossible is nothing. While I was hanging there, waiting for 15 seconds and holding on for dear life, so many possibilities ran through my head. I screamed my heart out but when it was over, I was laughing so hard while hugging my friend. I guess I was so happy to have actually done it. It was another proud feat, another first to add to my list.

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