Bungy jumping was more stressful than i expected. Not due to any actions on my part, but rather the interesting activities of people around me. Let me explain my bungy jumping story to you, and you’ll see what i mean.
I had waited for this moment for 5months, mainly because i wanted my first bungy jump to be where it all began: Queenstown, New Zealand. I also wanted it to be the biggest available (more fall time, more pretending to fly time) so i chose the 134m Nevis Bungy, straight out of a cable car with an 8.5second free fall. Now that is a jump! I had no nerves what so ever, i live for adrenaline and was already jigging on the spot by the time i even managed to get to the cable car. They take you over in batches like little lemmings, and we dutifully follow each other off the edge of the cliff. Thankfully, the A J Hackett guys put a rope around our legs first, because i wouldn’t want to end up splattered across such beautiful scenery (i’m definitely not good enough for that). Besides, i wanted my free t-shirt.
Now my little group were an odd bunch (myself included), and most of them were definitely not happy to be there. Take the first girl called up for example, cowering in the corner, tears already streaming down her face and she hadn’t even seen the chair of doom. Why on earth she was there i have no idea, maybe an eager self-machosist, or maybe she was there under gun point and i hadn’t noticed. All i know is she did NOT want to jump out the cable car (which, seeing as that was why we were all there, seemed slightly odd). It took ten minutes for her to unwind herself from her pretzel like state and be coaxed into THE CHAIR (while it sounds impressive, this is just where they put the rope around your legs and tell you important things like jump on three and keep your arms out).
So there she is, in the chair of doom and sobbing her heart out. Now, i was all up for a brilliant experience and ready to have the adrenaline hit of a life time, but the mood in the cable car is far from happy. I tried to get the mood swinging, pull out a few of my best stories, followed by my best cheesy jokes, then slightly more desperately, bring out the class clown routine. Nada. Zilch. Girl now looks like she is being executed, possibly burnt at the stake. They’re trying to get her to the edge at this point, but i think they’re afraid of getting bludgeoned by a distraught half-crazed lady. Every time they ask her if she wants to quit however, she says no. Maybe the dramatic wailing is her way of psyching herself up, and her limpet tendencies just an over fondness for the cable car.
Anyway, lets fast forward to twenty minutes later, when said girl has been stood near the edge pleading for her life for most of this period. The crowd is starting to get a bit traumatised by the whole experience. The eagerness to jump is diminishing by the second. I think it would have been more appropriate if instead of the up beat pop music being pumped out the speakers, they had changed it to a slow funeral dirge. Finally getting fed up, when they next got her to the edge, the guys pushed her off. Sorry, i mean, ‘helped her jump’. The screams haunt my eardrums to this day. All 8.5 seconds of it. I really did wonder if she had been killed somehow by the fall, or maybe if she was seeing the second coming. Anyway, she was bungy jumping.
On her return to the cable car, her first words were “That was the best experience ever! I want to do that again!” … All of us just looked at her. We felt emotionally drained. Our souls were sucked dry. Half an hour of histrionics, and here she was smiling sunnily and demanding to go again. I think one of the guys near the corner hit his head against the window with a loud thud.
Six more people to go until i get my jump.
Luckily, although there was plenty of nerves and a lot of screaming, no one matched jumper number one. I finally got my jump and almost threw myself out the car too early in my eagerness to swan dive into the valley. The feeling is indescribable. In a way, it feels so much more like flying than even sky diving, purely because you have the ground rushing towards you, there is no parachute, and you’re going head first. If there was ever an activity i whole-heartedly recommend, this is it. And don’t give me any excuses about age or injury or nerves. Not only did i meet the queen of hysteria, i also met a 92year old woman in Asia who was Hostelling her way around the world, and had completed a bungy jump. One bad-ass grandma that’s for sure (honestly, there is no jerking what so ever, and you hardly feel the ropes).
See you tomorrow junkies!