Never again – Have you ever gone to a new place or tried a new experience and thought to yourself, “I’m never doing that again!” Tell us about it.
London the centre of the world, when I first moved there in 1998 one of the biggest tourist attraction was the Trocodero centre. The Trocodero centre was located on Coventry Street in central London. It first opened in 1896 as a restaurant but after a refurbishment, it re opened in the summer of 1997 as what was to be billed as the largest indoor entertainment centre in the UK. The centre contained a 3D IMAX theatre, a Sega games centre, and a sweet shop that sold extremely long marshmallow ropes, and right in its centre was the Pepsi Max Drop a two story free falling fun park ride.
As a new arrival in London in the summer of 1998 we felt that we had to visit all the major tourist attractions at once, and everybody told my now ex-husband that he had to try the Pepsi Max drop, and being an adrenal junkie he was keen as mustard for us to head into central London one weekend to give it a go. Me on the other hand who gets car sick on a bumpy road and hates anything that could be perceived as risky was not so sure, but how bad could it be, right?
We caught the train, and the tube to Piccadilly Circus. Piccadilly Circus station has a number of exits and it is never clear from the A to Z which one to use. After trying several different exits – popping our heads up to look around like as Meerkat before bobbing back down underground – we finally got our bearings and continued along the packed London Streets toward our destination.
On entering the centre we were greeted by the smell of sweets from the confectionary shop, the sounds of arcade games pinging and the bright neon lights of the futuristic looking escalators that carried hundreds of teens and young adults off into a world of fun. However our main focus was to get to the Pepsi Max Drop.
We joined the queue as you politely do when in London, paid our money, and waited for our turn to ride, all the while reading the numerous signs telling us about the minimum height restrictions and warning us not to continue if we had a heart condition. As I am tall and healthy I could not use any of these excuses to back out now. At last we were called up to take our seat on the Pepsi Max Drop, we sat and waited for the lap belts to hold us firmly into place and the harnesses to come down over our heads. Then we started the slow ascent to the top.
On our ride up my thoughts were the usual, when potentially meeting my doom. “No one has actually died doing this.” “London is a first world country with very strict safety rules and regulations; no one would be able to operate a ride like this without licenses and safety checks.” I looked down, watching my legs swing freely beneath me, usually I am not too bothered by heights, sure I had butterflies but really how bad could it be?
We reached the top, there was a pause and then it felt like the seat beneath me had been swiped away and I was free falling. My stomach was in my mouth, my heart raced to fast it was like I had been doing a 100m world record sprint. I think I screamed, but I am not sure if I was capable of making any sound. Then all of a sudden we stopped and I could feel the seat beneath me again and we were gently lowered to the floor, and the harnesses removed.
Somehow my jelly like legs carried me as far away from that ride as I could go, never again will I do that I said to myself.
Side note: A few years later the games arcades were closed and the Pepsi Max Drop moved on, now the Trocodero centre has been taken over by stalls of sellers hawking overpriced souvenirs to tourists.