Zorbing

Tourism spaces (4b)

A tourism experience can be inseparable from a location or reproducible in any place, and this later condition can still imply a relation with space, or more precisely, the way in which it is perceived;  for instance, the roller coasters.

There is a singular example: zorbing,  a sport consisting in going down a slope into a plastic ball. I have no doubt on its special condition, even if it is clearly off the traditional concept of tourism. It appeared in 1994 in Rotorua, on New Zealand’s North Island. The original compound has a length over 100 m, on a natural slope, with three tracks, one straight and the rest curved. It reminds me of some images of sci-fi in the 1970s (the only missing thing is walking on water while inside the sphere). There is also something of Sisyphus, the Greek mythological caracther.

The site of the company that invented the sport and exploits the franchise, www.zorb.com, is interesting, and its Chinese derivation (I do not know of any relation between both companies), rather colorful, on www.zorb.com.cn