I have just returned from Six Flags, a famous theme park/amusement park in the heart of St. Louis. It is Missouri’s answer to Neverland and Disneyland. To say the least, it was breathtaking. I had fun, and for the first time since I got to Edwardsville, I didn’t use my laptop for more than ten hours. I have just opened my email only to see hordes of well-wishing messages concerning my malaria. I feel better already, even before I swallow these two tablets for today. What would I do without these friends and family? I appreciate all the suppport and well-wishes, and I’ll be getting across to you personally. Just as soon as I sort out all these paperwork and I can use a phone that is mine. And so I should begin to tell you about the experience at Six Flags.
I should start with how I won a basket ball. With a little fee, one was given twelve basket balls to throw into the net from a certain distance. Depending on how many you succeed in throwing in successfully, one got a gift of a new basket ball. Out of the twelve balls – four from each of the three sides of the court – guess how many I was able to put in: four! My gift is a new Hoyas basket ball which I promptly collected, and took with me as we went towards the rollercoasters. First we went on the fast and extra exhilarating ride at called the Batman, a fast-speeding demon that spins and twirls, defying gravity and taking you on a 360 degrees ride that lasts only about two minutes but leaves blood rushing to all your body parts, and your heart in your mouth. It is not for the weak-hearted, as the signs conspicuously warned, nor is it for the pregnant. Half the time you are upside down, and screaming. By the time we left there, I had a new profound appreciation of life. We all did. It was scaaaaary. After two minutes in the seats of many of those rides, I can tell you this: you would definitely reappraise your appreciation of life. Like they say back home, “your life would never remain the same again.” (Note: I’ve never confirmed whether that phrase always described a positive thing.) Check out this YouTube video of a Batman Ride at Six Flags and decide for yourself.
I should also like to tell you how I chickened out when we got to the Superman Tower of Power: “an extreme free-fall ride that carries you to the top of the 230-foot tower, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the park. Then, after a few seconds of gut-wrenching anticipation, you plunge down at over 60 mph.” I could not handle it. Neither did a few of us as well, and it was up to Paul the Kenyan and Mary to test their hearts against gravity. They survived. Then we went onto Tony Hawk’s Big Spin, the radical ride that twirls you as it hurls you down a 1,351-foot track. We survived that as well, then Mary and Paul took us to the scariest of them all, Mr Freeze. “Brrr. Prepare yourself for extreme thrills and chills. Mr. Freeze uses super-cool new linear induction technology to catapult you from zero to 70 mph in about four seconds. You’ll blast out of a 190-foot icy tunnel and travel through 1,382 feet of track at spine-chilling speeds, twists, and turns. Then do it again in reverse.” I couldn’t handle that either, and I, along with a few other students, sat and just watched them. Check out a Youtube video of that experience. Again, this is not for the fainthearted.
Then I should like to tell you about the water parks, how we swam, drank all-you-can-drink soda and lemonade, and how we enjoyed sliding through the three six-storey, high-speed body slides into the water down below. None of this can be adequately described until experienced. A second reason for my difficulty in successfully describing this experience is the loss of my Canon digital camera. Within nothing more than thirty seconds of leaving a spot in front of the men’s dressing room where it undoubtedly must have fallen off while I was removing my jeans pants in preparation for swimming, we got back and couldn’t find my camera anymore. Someone must have picked it up immediately after we moved away from there. At first I was optimistic for getting it back, then I became realistic: a theme park of such number of people numbering up to thousands from different backgrounds and upbringing could never be a place to leave a precious gadget even if it is for a few seconds. I went on to make official report/complaints at the Lost & Found section, and would expect their call if an unexpected miracle brings it out. A part of me has already given up on that possibility though. Now what would happen to all those nice pictures I took today and hoped to put up online tomorrow? How will I be able to prove that I was at Six Flags? That I saw the magnificent Gateway Arch with my own two eyes?
A common catchphrase from all the vendors and workers at Six Flags was “Have a Six Flags Day,” whatever that means. I sure had one today, but at the expense of my precious point-and-shoot. I like to think it was “flagged” away by unknown aliens, and not the nice honest Americans that I have known. But now, whatever shall I do but remember today as the Saturday when I won a nice basket ball, and lost my precious camera all at Six Flags St. Louis, Missouri? You win some, you lose some. But what’s more, I survived. I’ve just returned from Youtube to read that a freak accident at the Superman Tower of Power in St. Louis some time ago got the feet of a little girl cut off. This must be why I love the country more than I do the city.