The thought of amusement parks always fills me with dread, ever since the toggle on my anorak got caught at the top of a helter skelter when I was about eight years old. But when husband and son are getting over-excited about going to Tenerife's newest waterpark, Siampark, I dutifully go along.
A beautifully clean, well-designed park with the usual assortment of terrifying chutes and rapids but thankfully a gorgeous white sand beach (imported from somewhere else as the sand in southern Tenerife is black, volcanic stuff) so I set up camp on a sunbed and send the boys off to run around silly. I get landed with finding lockers so they can beat the queues.
They return after an hour with great tales of rides I should go on and, against my better judgement, I agree that I will try a couple out if they take me to the gentler ones. Now the name of this ride should really have given me an inkling as to its ferocity but I queue for "The Dragon" for a few minutes and soon we are standing in front of a black tunnel. The three of us share a big yellow rubber ring contraption and Hubby helps me get in so we face the middle, with our legs on top of each others. He warns me that I should lie back a little so my bottom doesn't dip too far through the ring, but I musn't have heard this bit as the next thing I know we're hurtling at full speed into the darkness and my backside is hitting the slide all the way down. Apart from the pain in my nether regions, the utter fear I experience is even worse than when I went white water rafting in Iceland (and that was no picnic). It's pitch black for some of the ride, though it wouldn't have made any difference as I have my eyes shut all the way, but it seems to last an eternity and all the while I'm thinking I'm just going to die, thrown off an inflatable into the deep abyss.
I don't die. We emerge into the splash pool and I stagger to the side. Both boys are shrieking and laughing but I'm not best pleased. However, as I have survived I seem to lose my mind momentarily and am taken up to join the queue for "The Volcano" which is just as scary but I keep my bottom up higher so it doesn't take a battering on the way down. One final ride, the "Jungle Snakes" and I think I'm about to drown as we hit the water at the bottom, only for the assistant to hold my hand and show me the water is only waist high.
My sense returns and I scuttle back to the safety of my book and sunbed. The boys spend the rest of the day on Naga Racers, The Tower of Power and Mekong Rapids, and leap about through the 3m waves by the beach. But I get sweet revenge when we get back to the hotel. Husband, oblivious to the fact he's only been wearing swimming shorts all day, hadn't put any suncream on. Granted it was cloudy but he really should known better. He is a wonderful shade of pink and his nickname becomes John West for the rest of the holiday.