Monday, June 8, 2009

Zorbing @ Titiwangsa (Or The Day We Pretend To Play Hamster)


I wonder who first conjured the brilliant idea of sphere-ing or zorbing? Maybe that person was having coffee on one fine day, reflecting on his many life achievements, when suddenly it struck him that his life would be incomplete until he found a way to put people inside a giant, clear rubber ball and rolled them down the hill.

Or maybe, just maybe, the evil genius behind the idea is actually a hamster, taking revenge on behalf of his kind on us human who have subjected his furry families and friends to run in spinwheel and plastic balls.

One beautiful Saturday morning I found myself at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa with my KOMA cohorts. Two giant plastic balls were waiting for us.



Act One – Dry ball

Left leg in, right leg in.
Carabineer secured.
Hand went through the first handle, holding the second handle.
Harness checked.
Deep breath…
A smile to my golek partner, Ash, safely secured across me and…
Rolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
I screamed like a mad woman, but in my heart I was furiously praying, “God, why am I doing this! Selamatkan hamba mu. Tak kahwin lagi. Mamaaaaaa!!”. It lasted only for a few seconds, but it felt like forever.

Up, down, up, down. Round and round.
This must be how it feels being trapped in a giant washing machine.

My left leg slipped out, and now it dangled dangerously as we continued to roll. I tried to slip it back in, but the sheer force of the motion and gravity drained the strength off me. Nasib baik aku ini katik orangnya, if not Ash would have been kicked mercilessly during the ride.

We rolled to a stop 70 meter later, and only then I realized my headscarf was completely off. Tercabut habis. All the bump, hump and jump had caused a friction between my head and the plastic wall that my scarf slid off. No wonder Ash’s scream got louder towards the end of the roll – the sweet girl across him had transformed into a crazy-haired banshee!


The start of the dry ball - boleh senyum dan bergurau senda lagi

Intermission

There were about twenty of us, and eventhough each ride only lasted for a few seconds, we had to wait for everybody’s turn before continuing with the more challenging wet ball. We followed the same sequence, so I got to witness a few friends going through the wet ball.



It did not looked and sound as fun. I approached Jai, the first one in.

“Eh, ok ke? Air tak masuk hidung?”
“Semua masuk, beb. Tak leh tahan, nak buat macam mana”
“Hohoho (laughing nervously). Sure, that bad?”
“Macam HUET la jugak. Kalau orang yang tak leh HUET tu, yang ni memang susah lah”

Oh, shit.
I hate, hate, hate HUET to the core of my bones, to the lowest dermis in my body, to the last drop of blood pumped into my heart. HUET (or Helicopter Underwater Escape Training) is a compulsory course for oil and gas personnel working offshore. It trained us how to escape in case the helicopter crashed into the sea. The training is conducted in a huge pool – we are strapped on seats inside a box - the ‘helicopter’- submerged into the water, then they turned the box upside down so that we are now dangling the wrong way up, after which we are supposed to release ourselves from the harness, kick open the window and swim out of the submerged box. I passed all the tests I’ve taken so far, but it took so much courage and practice to put a brave face in front of the instructor and friends, and just to get it over. Dalam hati tuhan je yang tahu…uwaaaa


Lakonan mantap Jai, yang membuatkan sesetengah orang tertakut untuk membuat well ball.

Act Two – wet ball

“Ash, aku tak nak buat kot wet run nih”
“Ah, tak de, tak de. Kena buat jugak”
”Ko buat la ngan orang lain. Sure ada budak lain nak buat dua kali nyeh”
”No, no.. partner tak leh tukar eh”

We walked to the starting point.

“Eh, serious ni, aku tak nak buat”

We arrived at the ball. Ash got in first.
“Tak mau buat ahh”
“Masuk!! Masuk!!”

I gathered my courage – how bad it can be? It only takes a few seconds. You survived HUET, girl! – and entered the ball. Ash was strapped in. The interior was slippery from previous usage, and I slipped trying to stand up, putting the harness on. Suddenly, my stomach turned, I felt so dreadful, as if I just crashed into Anuar Zain’s BMW and he hurt so bad he could no longer sing and I was solely responsible for depriving the world from his nightingale voice. Oh God, what am I doing?

“Tak mau!!! Nak keluar!!! Nak keluar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Yes, my friends. I screamed without shame. I try to run to the opening, but the staff – hantu betul diaorg ni! – put their bodies against the hole, preventing me from going out. I tried the other hole, and someone was fast enough to cover that escape route as well.

I resigned myself to fate. I stalled so much getting the harness on – suddenly, the harness shrink and I can’t put my legs in. Then I can’t put through my arms. Then the carabineer pulak tak nak lock. Macam-macam lah alasan.

The staff poured in two buckets of water inside the ball.
Nothing else can be done, except to pray.
Ya tuhan, ampunkan dosa hambaMu ini.

Rolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

I covered my nose with the side of my arm.
First round, the water got in my nose….. pedihhhhhhhhhhh
Second round, more water got in….. argghhhhhh
Third round, fourth round…. Oh, this is how it feels to really be trapped in a huge washing machine!


The washing machine - wuhoooooooooooooo!


Unlike the dry run I did not opened my eyes at all. All I could hear was Ash screaming like mad – saje bikin havoc la tu – and I just kept quiet until the ball stopped. A few friends were waiting at the end to subject us to some torture – they rolled and shook the ball a couple of times just to make us suffer – and only then, I opened my eyes and mouth and scream… happily! It’s over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Kelahiran anak dugong - gambar ihsan National Geographic

Golek partner


Yes, I would recommend this to everyone, no matter how harrowing I make it sound. I would even recommend you to try the zorbing in Gemas, which has a longer route and it may take close to one minute to reach the end (hohohoh, please don’t eat breakfast before you try this). Or if you are lucky enough, try the one in New Zealand, which is even more challenging than the one we have here.

To all KOMA friends, it is a pleasure, as always… hahaha



For more info, check out the website http://www.firstinmalaysia.com/.
The dry ball is RM 15 per ride. The wet ball is RM 20.

6 comments:

  1. nasiiiib lah ade post lawak ko nih utk aku bace kt malam2 dekeat 11pm nih kt office yg sejuk dan sunyi...

    Great post !!

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  2. damn! looks like fun! aku baru tau zorbing ada di titiwangsa!

    oh so wanna go!

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  3. fatma!!! best siott zorbing kan kan??? i did it in rotorua, new zealand. sana punya takde strap tapi. golek2 je dalam bola itu dengan air lol.

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  4. cm best gila! nak jugak (tapi takut!!)

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  5. man: that's the least I can do, to cheer up you poor souls who are working hard to keep this company going.. hohoh

    farina & min: hoho, mmg kena try nih.

    kirah: best...!! x dpt buat kat NZ, yg ni pun jadi lah.. hahah. tp x tercedera ke x pakai harness? mau korang berlaga-laga dlm ni

    anis: aku pun takut gak memula, tp lepas tu belasah je. bila dah habis, puas hati sbb rasa mcm hebat je.. hoho

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