Sharjah: Wet merrymakers enjoying the fountain at Al Qasba in Sharjah are warming up to a human drying machine.
With eerie-looking red lights, the egg-shaped Fast Drying Machine looks like an alien space capsule or teleporter from sci-fi movies.
But it has come in peace — to dry off visitors getting drenched in the fountain (above right).
It's especially popular with children, who can't seem to resist a splash so that they can enjoy a drying session.
"It's a good idea; the kids won't catch a cold after getting wet, especially during winter," said an Indian mother.
But grown-ups occasionally give in to temptation too.
A 27-year-old Moroccan added that the machine was a quick alternative to towels or changing clothes.
Dry in minutes
"My friends talked me into getting wet in the fountain and started laughing at me because they didn't follow," said Mohammad Rashidi.
"But it's OK, I used the machine and was dry again in minutes."
The "normal running temperature" of the Haystack Dryers, as they are officially known, are set at about 45C. The red glow inside is actually a special infrared light that has a warming and drying effect.
Some fans have even blogged about the experience. Tourist Kapil Bhatia wrote: "If you do get wet while having fun, then please suit yourself to use the drying machine; first of a kind I have ever seen in [the] UAE at any leisure facility."
Another blogger, Kellie, said: "If the kids are going to get drenched, you can't expect them just to dry off in this 40-degree heat. Instead, the Emiratis have Fast Drying Machines! You pay your three dirhams, stand inside and it blows hot air at you - like a hand dryer for your body."
Haystack Dryers' website says the machine is safe to use. The dryers have been installed in theme parks around the world.