Thailand Diaries : Chapter 1
Thailand adventures are yet to begin. If you have not read our first blog ( A Prologue To Our Thailand Diaries ) then do read it to catch up with our experience until now. So our first destination, since arriving at Pattaya, was going to be Ripleys Believe It or Not. After our pool session in the afternoon, all of us got dressed up and headed to our pick up person. Royal Garden Plaza, where Ripleys Believe It or Not is situated, was pretty close to our hotel and it hardly took a few minutes to reach the mall. As we reached the entrance our first sight was a plane that had crashed landed into the building, with Ripleys Believe It or Not written across the plane. What a dramatic entrance !!
As we didnt have any lunch, we thought of just having some snacks and beverages before entering Ripleys Believe It or Not. We found out there was an Indian Restaurant, Saras Express, in the top most floor of the mall and so headed straight to it. We ordered some Chaat, Dosas and hot beverages for all of us. While we waited, we ventured out to their open restaurant. The view was spectacular. As the mall was located on the Beach Road, we got a beautiful view of the sea littered with hundreds of tiny boats. Our quick snack break was over in no time and we made our way to the Ripley's Floor. The Ripley’s Believe it or Not had 7 attractions, the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium, Ripley’s Scream in the Dark, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Ripley’s 9Dx Movie Theatre, Ripley’s Infinity Maze, Louis Tussaud’s WaxWorks and the Vault.
Louis Tussauds WaxWorks
Our first attraction was Louis Tussaud’s WaxWorks. The place was divided into nine different zones, Thai Sunset Garden Party ( where we really didn't know any of the installation), British Royalty, Political and Humanitarian Leaders, Horror Den (with some scary installations), Pop Star, Sport, Chamber of the Secret ( strictly for Harry Potter fans ) Batman and Friends and Celebrities in Character ( including many famous Hollywood movie characters).
The first section we came across was the Thai Sunset Garden Party with an array of Thai stars. We didn’t know anyone but the floor tiles in this room were interesting. It was some kind of pattern changing flooring. Zavi was intrigued by these and kept jumping from one tile to another. Finally we had to act like we were going to leave him there, and only then he came along with us. As we proceeded, we saw familiar faces like Micheal Jackson, Britney Spears, Will Smith in the Pop Star section. While we walked past David Bekham and his wife, Victoria Bekham, what caught our attention was Mr Tiger Woods. He was looking out in the distance for the golf ball that he had hit far and beyond. The British Royalty including Late Princess Diana, Prince Williams and Prince Harry were all right besides us. And then in the Chamber of Secrets, there awaited Hermoine Granger and Harry Potter with the room exactly set in the Harry Potter theme. Laya being a big time Harry Potter fan, got all excited and wanted pictures of hers with the Harry Potter characters. My poor little Zavi just could not understand why his mother was so excited.
We walked into the section with Political and Humanitarian Leaders and it was our very own Mahatma Gandhi installed at the entrance. This time it was Shine Aunty who rushed to sit besides Gandhiji and was ready in a pose. When I turned around, I was shocked to see Chandu making a conversation with the Chinese Leader, Mao. I instantly took a picture. Actually Chandu was just standing there looking at Mao’s installation, but they looked like they were having some serious conversation. There were leaders and humanitarians from around the world, like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and the like.
We proceeded to the movies section, where we shared screen space with Ethan Hunt from Mission Impossible and also Captain Jack Sparrow from The Pirates of the Caribbean. There was Batman, Joker, Riddler, Dracula, Mr Bean, Terminator and so many more cool installations.
As we walked out of our first section, we were impressed and relaxed. So now it was time to go to the next one, maybe Ripley's Scream in the Dark. That's when I noticed a really cool Racing Car Simulator. Chandu and myself went to check if we could get a ride with our available tickets. But no, we had to take separate tickets for this ride. Whatever, I totally wanted to try it. So we jumped in to experience the feel of the simulator. It was quite huge and was first intimidating. However the urge to race pulled both of us in. We buckled up and the race started. G-forces kicked in. The feel of G-forces generated while immersing us in stunning visuals on three large video displays satisfies any adrenaline seeking individuals. We can compete against each other, if we play the same game in the same tracks. However we both took different ones. That didn't stop us from comparing lap-times while Laya and others were our spectators watching full track view action :-). It was a lively entertainment. I wanted to set this up back home to experience the G-forces everytime I hit the accelerator. Laya nodded with a smile. :-p
Ripley’s Scream in the Dark
This was a shooting game. We were given laser guns and had to shoot some green lights that were to pop up. We would earn points on shooting these green lights and would get a bonus based on how loud we scream. Yes, you heard it right, Scream. The cart would take us through some creepy place and the whole thing was supposed to be scary. I wanted to go in alone, but Laya was too scared to go in alone. She begged me to go along with her, and I finally gave in. Laya’s parents were also ready to come along. Chandu didn't want to go in, so Shine Aunty stayed back and our little boy stayed back with them. There were some creepy looking clowns at the entrance, who ushered us to our carts and gave us the laser guns. Our cart slowly started moving in, it was dimly lit and we could also hear screams. And then started the show. The green lights started to appear, I started shooting, some clowns started to pop up from nowhere, Laya started screaming non-stop, I don't even think she was shooting. She just screamed, screamed and screamed. I totally thought we would easily win with her screaming itself. I found the whole thing amusing and fun, but Laya thought otherwise, she turned out to be totally scared. As our cart pulled to a stop, Laya jumped out and stomped off. I was finding it difficult to keep a straight face. They had also clicked our pictures while we were inside. There were a couple of our pictures on display. It was hilarious, with me sitting grimly, concentrating on the shooting and Laya, right besides me, clinging on to my arm and with her mouth wide open. I decided not to buy any of these pictures and politely refused.
The Vault was the next game that we were trying our luck in. It was simple. We would enter a dark room and across the room there would be laser beams, we had to reach the exit without touching any of the laser beams. This time again, Achan , Amma , Laya and me went in. As we stepped in, the room was completely dark and soon the laser beams began to glow. It felt like we were in some kind of movie sequence where we try to enter some highly secured area. We can also actually choose a level between easy and difficult. We had opted for easy. But in spite of that we couldn't make it across without touching the laser beams. Each time someone would touch the laser beams and we would all start giggling. It was fun.
Ripley’s Infinity Maze
Next, we all moved to the Infinity Maze. Since all of us wanted to go in, we thought we would go in two groups as someone had to stay out and take care of Zavi. So Chandu and myself stayed back with Zavi and the others went in. In the meantime we started to walk around. We noticed that there was a display of scary dolls. Zavi seemed amused seeing the scary dolls though. He was also feeling sleepy. And slowly he just dozed off on my shoulders. Within half an hour, the rest of the gang were out. They were super excited and thrilled with the experience in the Infinity Maze and they told us it was awesome. It was our turn, we were given glow-in-the-dark glows and shoe covers and we went in. The room was almost completely dark with some tiny led lights and with mirrors on all sides. We couldn't figure out from where we came in or how to get in. Then we slowly started touching around, and yes we found the door. Like this we went through different rooms with crazy lighting effects, mirrors, sound effects, atmospheric and mood setting music. All of this would make us feel tense if we can't find the way out within the first minute. We moved through each door and made out of the maze much faster than Laya and others did. Everyone enjoyed this session well while Zavi slept.
In the meanwhile, there was a Scorpion lady who just sat out there with hundreds of poisonous scorpions crawling all over her body. Poisonous is what they claimed. But whatever, the scorpions surely made our skin crawl.
Ripleys Believe It or Not
Ripleys Believe It or Not, is a walk in Museum with amazing, odd and weird things on display. All these are either originals or replicas of oddities collected and documented by Robert Leroy Ripley during his travel and adventures around the world. We made our way through the entrance and started observing the exhibits. Zavi was sound asleep on Laya’s shoulders. The displays were really amazing and even hard to believe. There were write ups in front of the displays. There was just soooo many stuff that I envied Mr. Ripley and his travels. There was an ostrich egg, a replica of the fabled three legged horse, a picture of the skeleton of conjoined twins, replica of the heaviest man, the smallest drawing on a rice, torture weapons used by different communities, images and replicas of various wierd ways of life in different parts of the world and so on. A walk through the Ripleys Believe It or Not Museum, is a once in a lifetime opportunity that makes us realize how vast and diverse the world around us is. Ripleys is a true inspiration to those who love adventure and travel.
The Greatest Glutton In History, Emperor Vitellius (69 AD) spent millions on food in 8 months. Spending an average of $375,000 a day. Vitellius frequently ate more than 1000 oysters in a day and indulged in such extravagant dishes as livers of a parrot fish, peacock brains and flamingo tongues, all served on large silver plates worth over $100,000. Despite his fabulous wealth and exotic taste in food, Vitellius starved his own mother to death to fulfill a prophecy that he would have a long trouble-free reign if she died of hunger..! (alternatively there is a report that his mother asked for poison to commit suicide - a request he granted.)
Hindu ascetics in India, known as “Fakirs” or “Sathus”, practice various forms of self mutilation, such as laying on a bed of spikes as a means of acquiring spiritual salvation. In 1923, Ripley met a fakir who had not risen from his spike bed for 18 years.
A circus performer who was well-known as “Three balls Charlie”, who could put three balls in his mouth and whistle at the same time.
Robert Earl Hughes, was born in 1926 weighing 11.25 lbs ( 5.10 kgs ). At age 3 months, suffering from whooping cough, he burst a gland in the back of his neck. From that day on to the end of his life, he grew rapidly gaining pounds and inches daily. At age 20, Roberrt wore overalls with a 9’11” waistband and had to have his mother add two 15” strips of material to regular size 20 shirts in order to cover his 102” chest. Robert Earl Hughes died in 1958 at the age of 32. At the time of his death, he weighed 1069 lbs (485 kgs). Believe it or Not ..!
Ripley’s Movie Theatre 9Dx
We were just in time for the last show at the 9Dx theatre. All of us were given special glasses and the show began. We fastened our seat belts and were ready for the show to begin. The place was more or less like a movie theatre and the seats were designed in such a way to move in all directions. In addition, there were water sprayers and a few hot lights / filaments. Our show was set in times of the dinosaurs and we were running away from an angry and hungry T-Rex. The exhilarating ride took us through the wilderness of the Jurassic World, up the mountains, down the river and finally to the climax that brought my heart in my mouth.
Ripley’s Haunted Adventure
Ripley’s Haunted Adventure was our last stop for the day. It was a scary house. We could see people dressed as ghosts at the entrance. They didn't look that scary though. We even clicked some pictures with them. But no one wanted to come with me, except Achan. So both of us went forward. At the entrance a scary guy ushered us in. Achan and myself, bravely went forward. The whole place was spooky, unlike Scream in the Dark. The whole atmosphere made us feel like we were in a haunted house. In between, ghosts would prop us from here and there and scare the hell out of us. They led us upstairs, and then we heard a chainsaw start. Yes, there was a guy chasing us with a chainsaw. We started to walk faster and finally broke into a run, although deep down we knew this was just a game. We pushed open a door and ran out across a bridge to the next door. As we passed the bridge, I could see Chandu and Laya, enjoying the show. It looked like they were waiting for us to run across the bridge and they were laughing their heads off. Both of them didn't have the guts to come. Both Achan and me came out smiling as we both thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
Our Day 1 activity was almost over. Now we just had to catch a bite and get back to our hotel. We headed straight to KFC inside the mall itself, ordered a couple of buckets and was all set to get back to our hotel. But we were in for a problem. Our driver was not picking his phone. We went out in search of him, but he was nowhere to be found. We kind of started to get a little panicky as we had a baby and women amongst us. It was getting really late. Finally, Achan said he knew in which direction our hotel was and that we could all walk. We slowly started walking back through the lanes of Pattaya. Most of the shops were closing by now. I was relieved when I finally saw our hotel from a distance. All of us went back to our rooms and hit the bed. It had been a long day. Tomorrow it will be beach time and then some sightseeing at Noon Nooch Village.
If you have not read our other Thailand blogs then do read it to catch up with our experiences.
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