Tuesday, 3 March 2015


So how was the trip? In one word, "Great". 

India is a crazy country but I had no bad experiences there. I didn't get any Delhi-belly although I did get close following consumption of too much Tikka Paneer. At no time did I feel unsafe, and the beggars at junctions would quickly move on if you didn't acknowledge them. I can sense by the way they'd always focus on my car that tourists are an easy mark most of the time.

Overall the people were fine, but coming from the country that does queueing the best, seeing Indians skip queues was annoying and having them get belligerent when confronted was a little disappointing.

Whilst this trip was a quick whistle-stop coaster trip of the country I did get a good feeling of what the country is like. A lot of my jaunts would take me well away from the cities out into the rural areas. I'm well aware that I didn't see everything, especially in Kolkata but as I could see myself coming back here I wasn't overly concerned. I did cram a lot into this one admittedly.

A huge thanks to those who gave up their time to play host whilst I was out there: Arun, Harish, Sumitro, Rajsri and the TCS team. That did make some of the planning easier :)

My favourite ride was probably the indoor coaster at Adlabs.
My favourite park was Queens Land for it's odd quirky mixture of rides.
The worst ride was easily that Chinese looping monstrosity in Bangalore.
Mumbai was by far my favourite city.
Taj Mahal was my favourite bit of touristy stuff
The one-on-one magician was my favourite non-touristy thing.

Hopefully you found this report useful and thanks for taking the time to read it.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Nicco Park

The final park of the trip was Nicco Park, a park that opened in 1991 and is now home to three coasters. Like Esselworld, this is the park that is home to one of the 2 wooden coasters in the country. So another must-do for the enthusiast.

You pay to enter the park at the main gate. You then exchange one of the tickets for the wristband at a second counter inside the park. I'm not sure why they couldn't just hand the wristbands out at the first counter like every other park in the country.

The park is quite large in size with a circular layout with a lake in it's centre. Plenty of trees and plants is a good thing! There is a small water park attached to the park.

Creepy clown is creepy

I think the tiger is the official mascot of the park.

I like the style of this piece.

The water jump was the first coaster that I passed and yet another of those infernal soaking machines. It wasn't open first thing so one I'd have to come back to.

The park was very busy today, not as busy as Queens Land, but busy enough to put a queue onto most of the attractions including the cable car which was busy at both ends.

The advantage to having queues was that there was no waiting time for the full trains that the park were insistent on. I had heard stories of people sitting in rides for up to an hour waiting for others to fill the seats. Fortunately I didn't have that issue today :)

Cyclone is a copy of the wooden coaster that used to reside at Southport. Like Esselworld, the designers from Blackpool (who also owned Southport) were involved in the design here.

The ride is great especially with the first drop in the back row which launched me out of the seat and made me shout a few obscenities much to the amusement of the other riders in the train. This is easily the best wooden coaster in the country :)

The strange boat ride has a number of themed locations, temples, prehistoric, space etc. with no theme joining them together. The best fit I could get was Tomb Raider, although that's yet to have a space setting. A fun ride though with some nice theming the whole way through.

The wooden theming looks almost cartoonish in quality. I like the "enjoy this ride free!" sign. 

A nice little touch of theming with the monorail making it look like a prop from The Flintstones film.

I really think there's an opportunity to provide translation proof reading to theme parks.

A nice attempt at The Eiffel Tower.

This is the children's corner with a fighter aircraft as the centre piece. You can climb into it which is pretty cool.

An old school routemaster which seems to serve no purpose whatsoever.

A slightly different themed wacky worm with a space theme turning the apple into a planet I thought was a nice touch. Yoga was invented by Indians to allow people to squeeze into this ride.

Funnies sign of the day was this for their inflatable rodeo attraction.

The most popular ride of the day was actually this Flying Saucer spin ride. The coasters were only attracting the teenagers but this was attracting everyone.

I thought this was a typo but then I found out noddles are like strings of pasta often served with Chinese dishes that people agree to eat. 

There were quite a lot of school kids making up the park guests today and like at Wonder La they were all very well behaved.

The runner up prize for an alternative name for Dodgems goes to this park. I like that it encourages ramming. The winner will always be the South African "Bangers".

I couldn't think of any situation where people would shiver and laugh unless they're at that point where just before you drown you lose all rational thought. 

You don't need to have the biggest or fastest rides to have a good time.

There was no way I was going to do the ice room. Having done these in Japanese I end up trying to desteam my glasses on exit, and I was quite enjoying the Kolkata climate. 

The park has a unique dark ride attraction which looks like a modified tagada that rotates around in the dark whilst a couple of ninja clad live actors run around the set triggering various horror effects. This would be proper scary if the actors actually jumped down onto the ride. Having them out of reach dilutes the act and potential for jumps.

I finished the day with a quick go on the water splash which became two goes, not by choice as they send you out for a second lap. Fortunately this was more a spray than a soaking.

and I had to finish with one of the most thrilling coasters on the trip. The rather good Cyclone ride.

Nicco Park was really enjoyable and its a park that is as pretty as it is entertaining.

On my final night I met with a local friend who very kindly invited to his home for dinner and the food was delicious. It was great to see take out food being delivered in coconuts and I finally got an explanation as to the electrical tennis racquets I'd seen being sold by the beggar kids (turns it it's a fly swatter). Thanks Sumitro and Rajsri for your hospitality and company.

Nicco Park is located on the Salt Lake Bypass

Science City

Whilst in Kolkata I had 2 parks to visit and the first was Science City, an educational park.

Coconuts growing just outside the park.

Science City opened in 2007 and as it's name implies is a park that aims to educate and entertain at the same time. You pay to enter the park and some of the attractions within are an additional charge.

Quite an interesting array of souvenirs if that is what they really sell. Unfortunatley it wasn't open today.

This is the cycle ride. It only goes over a small part of the park and wasn't running at all today.

There is some nice architecture in the park. These are some of the exhibition halls that house the upcharge attractions.

This little hedge maze contains a lot of interactive science things to play with. I think I spent quite a bit of time mucking about with these.

The bouncing dragon was down too. 

At the back corner of the park is the rollercoaster, called Gravity Coaster. The write up explains the science involved with the forces that the ride gives. Education in India is promoted heavily (I wish our kids were as keen to learn as the Indian ones), and I had seen signs for colleges in some of the parks. This one was taking it a little further by explaining the physics of the rides. Nice! The ride, whilst having an unusual layout wasn't that good overall.

Within an indoor hall there are a number of ball mazes, easily the largest ones I've ever seen. The central atrium was a huge tower of ball-coaster track and around the walls were a number of others. Like most of the park, not all of this was running, but those that were running were fun to watch.

This was down too, but is designed to show gyroscopic forces.

This 3D globe when viewed from the right angle takes on the form of a famous Indian person. I don't know who it is though.

These are famous Indian scientists commemorated in this little garden.

A nice mural!

I chose not to do the dinosaur exhibit as we weren't allowed to take photos and they wanted me to pay an extra amount to see them. From watching a clip that someone did illegaly film on youtube the quality of the attraction wasn't the best and it was really a bit naughty of them to charge when other parks were doing similar for free.

A self-supporting tower using ropes to retain structure. Too scientific for me that one!

The domes were housing animals. They looked a bit sad. 

An old egyptian phone system. Talk into this statues ears and the person at the other one in the background can hear and respond. This doesn't work with just one person!

I think this was called "Sympathy Swing" basically a way of having one person swinging have some of their motion passed onto a second person. 

A mobius climbing frame. 

A funny name for an ice cream!

I caught these near the entrance. Well I guess how else are you expected to deliver a dinosaur in the post?

Science City was a park I expected to blitz just going in, riding the coaster, and leaving but where I ended up wasting time playing on all the experiments, but it's science so allowed. There aren't many parks that have a science bent, and there should be a lot more!

Science City is located in South-East Kolkata on JBS Haldane Avenue opposite the city's book fair.