Maureen: Bikinis are no match for Dubai's Leap of Faith...

Maureen: Bikinis are no match for Dubai's Leap of Faith...

Maureen Hill is a regular columnist for Travel Weekly and works at Wessex World Travel, Gillingham, DorsetLeap of Faith in a bikini

I hear the travel industry has its very own cheeky girls, though ours are very much more talented, have no allegiance to the Liberal Democrats and, for all I know, can actually sing!

I speak of Gold Medal sales development manager Natalie Read and Abbey Thomas from A2B Transfers.

Natalie and three friends went to Dubai for a girlie holiday and visited the Atlantis Palm Hotel and its Aquaventure water park. The whole concept of the Atlantis Palm venture is to do everything bigger, better and more spectacular than anywhere else.

That's why dolphins have been flown in from the South Pacific and the world’s oceans depleted of fish, stingrays and other sea creatures to the tune of 65,000.

Naturally then, the water park is quite unlike any other. The girls looked up at the Leap of Faith water chute and saw that it was immense and very nearly vertical.

And they decided to have a go.

It’s not called Leap of Faith for nothing, I suppose, and Natalie assures me that the kind of faith you need is the trust that you’ll be alive when you reach the bottom.

“In the light of that, dignity is low on the list of priorities,” she added. When I asked her what she meant, she said: “Wear a wetsuit. Wear a burkha. But don’t take the Leap of Faith in a bikini.”

The girls had shot down the chute in their bikinis only for the inevitable to happen. The water pressure pushed those bikinis just where you’d expect, leaving the girls quite exposed.

“If I wasn’t so relieved to have made it in one piece, I might have been embarrassed!” said Natalie.

I pointed out that she’d made it, but only just, in two pieces.

Later, being the professional she is, she requested a hotel inspection and Atlantis Palm agreed to show her the best suite in the hotel, complete with gold-leaf dining table and an aquarium in place of a wall.

At £13,000 a night, it was as special as the price suggested.

Natalie’s friend, caught short, asked if she could use the suite’s bathroom and the representative showing them around pointed her in its direction.

Many minutes passed until Natalie’s pal emerged to confess that she had broken the flush.

“You can bet your life it was no ordinary flush, either,” said Natalie, “that was a gold-plated, 13-grand-a-night flush!”

For the second time that day, their cheeks were more than pink!

Calamity Abbey

Our other Calamity Jane, Abbey Thomas had been getting into scrapes of her own as she made her way back from the ITB conference in Berlin. Again, it was fashion that led to her downfall.

She’d been wearing boots with small kitten heels when she tripped. Though she didn’t know at the time, she’d broken her hand. All she knew was that it hurt like hell.

As she went through the airport to check in for her Ryanair flight, she was subjected to a security search by an unsmiling female officer.

“When she made me lift my arm I really couldn’t help but shout out with pain,” she said.

Back home in the UK, it became clear that she should have delayed her flight home and stayed for treatment in Germany as the plaster clinic at home was closed for the weekend.

“Apparently, you can only get plastered on a Monday in the NHS,” she told me.

Abbey’s mishap came as no surprise to boss Phil – he’d witnessed her in action at a recent technology show. He had bought an Americano for himself and a latte for Abbey.

Unable to remember which was which, he loosened the lids to check. Abbey grabbed it, knocked it back and promptly poured the contents down her blouse, scalding her décolletage.

Unfazed, she nipped to the toilet where she turned her top around so the coffee stain was on the back, and continued her business at the stand!

I had to smile when Abbey told me she was waiting for someone from the Cats Protection League to call her to let her know if she would make a suitable cat owner.

“I can’t understand it,” she said, “anyone would think I couldn’t manage the simplest task…”

I didn’t say they would be right; that would be catty.

Maureen Hill works for Travel Angels, Gillingham, Dorset



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