In the 1990s a German company decided to bring back what was considered by most to be a redundant piece of technology – the airship. Deciding that there would be a market for being able to fly large quantities of cargo to remote locations where landing a plane is impossible, they set about building a giant shed on an ex-Luftwaffe airfield, large enough to house the Statue of Liberty (standing on its plinth, on Ellis Island). Unfortuantely, once they’d built this impressive dome, they realised that there wasn’t a market for airships after all and the company promptly went bankrupt. And if you like waterslides, man made beaches, rain forests and theme parks then good job they did, because a Malaysian company bought the place up and opened ‘Tropical Islands’.
The scale of the place is quite mind boggling. The arched ceiling is large enough to fly two hot air balloons inside (which they do), and there are two campsites as well as a rainforest with flamingos and other birds of paradise running around inside. The heat is constant and humid, and we spent the day feeling slightly envious of the swim wear clad visitors while we sweated away. At one point I took a ride in one of the hot air balloons clutching a Go Pro camera and couldn’t believe how many buildings, trees and swimming pools were laid out below me. It’s like a self contained world.
That was the theme of the sketch we shot later that afternoon, with Chris and I dressed in all in one morphsuits pretending to be aliens who had got confused and thought they were conquering the Earth. We finished off with a rather unimpressive ride down a waterslide (you don’t exactly whistle down them in full alien costume), then I rewarded myself for getting to the end of a tiring day by legging it up to the top of their most impressive slide, where you shoot down at 70kph. No sooner had I thrown myself down it then I was in the swimming pool at the bottom wondering what had just happened to me.