Dubai Took All My Money (or "I Got Ravaged By a Mythological Figure")

They wanted $250 to swim with dolphins at the waterpark in Dubai. I was like, "Okay, so like 40 bucks per person, that seems reasonable." And the guy's like, "No, $250 per person." And I'm all, "But the baby is free, right?" And he goes, "No, she's $250." And I'm like, "So, for that price, we get to keep the dolphin, right?" You know, call it Hermy and have it blow water out its blow hole to the beat of "Cotton-Eyed Joe."

So we didn't swim with the dolphins. For $250 per person, I can fly to Egypt and throw moltov cocktails with the kids down at Al-Azhar. Swim with dolphins, throw moltov cocktails at riot police (imagine me holding out both hands, palms up, making balancing motions, then deciding moltov cocktails are better than dolphins and punching my left hand in the air and saying, "Arooga!"). Protesting sounds cooler, but we probably won't do that, since I'm pretty sure it's against U.S. policy for its diplomats to participate in revolutions in foreign countries.

Observation Deck of Burj al-Khalifa, world's tallest building. Tess is about to chuck that plush puppy at Shannon's face. Funny every time.
Instead of selling the farm to swim with the dolphins, we just bought a normal old entry pass to the waterpark. I think the full name of the waterpark bears repeating -- how is this for ostentatious: Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis Paradise Island. The park isn't quite as cool as the name makes it sound; with a name like that, you would expect to swashbuckle with pirates, roast up a bird of paradise for lunch, and beat up an arrogant merman before bed. But there was none of that, just some waterslides and overpriced food. In fact, if you wanted Dubai summed up in one word, that word would be: overpriced.

Unfortunately, Grace was too short to ride any of the slides. Also unfortunately, Savannah was too skittish to ride any of the slides. Also unfortunately, after riding exactly one of the slides with me, Halen became too terrified to ride any more of the slides. At that point, I was feeling really good about having dished out two hundred and fifty dollars so that we could all come to this waterpark and observe all the European dudes bursting out of their speedos.

I was unwilling to let such wicked slides go completely to waste, as well as the fact that there were no lines, so I told the kids to wait for me at the splashdown pool and not talk to anyone wearing Speedos, and I went up to the highest slide they had. It was called Poseidon's Revenge, which sounded super manly, which naturally attracted manly people like me. No one else manly must've been at the waterpark that day, because I was all by me onesie at the tiptop of the waterslide tower. Just me and the Filipino dude attending the slide. I'm all, "Where's the slide?" And he goes, "Right here." And he points to this slab of clear plastic covering a hole in the floor, and he says, "Stand on it." So I stand on it, and I lean against an upright piece of fiberglass, and the guy goes, "Cross your arms and legs." And I'm like, "What are you doing to me? I want to ride a waterslide."

And then this clear plastic lid starts closing over me, and this robot lady's voice starts counting down, "Three, two, one..." and I'm thinking, "Creepy, man." And then, whoosh! The clear plastic slab I was standing on drops away and I fall through the floor! And I'm all, "I've been had/hoodwinked by Filipino Guy at the Top of the Tower!" Now I'm in this tube, falling, falling, falling, and then the tube violently arcs back upward, and water is spraying in my face, and I'm flailing, and sputtering, and the tube is snaking all over the place, and I start wondering how badly it will traumatize my children when my lifeless body shoots into the splashdown pool, and they're like, "That was awesome Dad! Dad? Really? You gave up the ghost on a waterslide? Ha ha ha ha!" But then, just when I'm sure I am going to die, I hit the splashdown pool, coughing, thrashing, hyperventilating. Everyone stops to watch the sissy American in unfashionably loose swim trunks slowly claw his flabby American way out of the pool. (Actually, nobody stopped to watch, I just had that thing where when you look stupid you think everyone is staring at you, when in reality nobody cares one lick about you. At all.) Halen, however, was watching me, and he was like, "You okay Dad?" And I go, "Poseidon had his way with me." And Halen says, "Poseidon did what to you?" And I'm all, "You'll understand when you get older."

After that, I became too scared to ride any more of the slides.

It turned out that the waterpark was pretty killer, even if you're too wussy to ride any of the slides, largely because it has the world's coolest kiddie park. We spent two hours there, and I didn't get bored once. And I am 34 years old. There is this giant scaffold that rises upward out of a huge pool of 12-18 inch deep water into several open-air towers, with little kid-sized water slides of all shapes and colors and sizes sprouting outward, some twisting, some spiralling, some roller coaster-ing. There are stairs and nets leading upward, and the best part is, water is spraying everywhere, all the time. So it is a bad place to be if you want to be dry. Pipes spit water. Shower nozzles spray water. Hoses stream water. And there are numerous little buckets continuously filling up with water, and when they get too heavy, they tip over and dump their contents on whomever happens to be walking below. Aaaaaaand, there are a few gigantic buckets also continuously filling up with water, and when fill up they dump hundreds of gallons of water all over the whole kiddie park. Best. Thing. Ever. Even if it costs, like, all my money.