What does an UFO catching dragon, some overgrown water slides and three abandoned crocodiles have in common?
…Well, they all share the same neighbourhood near Hue. Nestled in a forest setting in central Vietnam, Ho Thuy Tien water park was reportedly opened in a half-finished state by hue tourism company in 2004. Shortly after, the park closed its doors and had been given back to nature to become a bizzare sight for inquisitive backpackers and weekenders of Hue’s royal city.
Little is known about the misplaning. Some students I asked in Hue are quite sure the investors run out of money. Others assume the entrance fee of 90’000 Vietnamese Dong (around 5 Dollars) was set too high for the locals. When exploring the park, it’s quite obvious that the urban planner was either on drugs or studied Russian architecture. Probably both. The points of interest within Ho Thuy Tien are too spread out. It takes around 10 minutes to get from the weird looking amphitheatre (that was built for around 600 people to enjoy a silly water fountain show) to the water slide action. Now, the slides are covered with leaves, palm trees make their way up the spirals while the shallow children pool is filled with opaque waters.
In far distance a dragon just caught a UFO from outer space. In search of more deserted spots I climb up the stairs to the dragon’s mouth and flock around in the UFO where broken aquariums were once filled with rays and fish. When meeting Locky later the night, I finally find out more about the three crocodiles that inhabited a small swimming pool inside the UFO. The Australian tells me how he saw locals throwing bricks on the abandoned crocodiles to check the resistance of their armoured skin. After feeding the animals for several months he helped moving them out to a sanctuary up north.