So while I’m laid up in hospital I can give you the update I was hoping to give you last week – about my awesome adventures at Victoria Falls…
We have a long holiday in July for President’s Day. This year it was the 19th for President’s Day, and the 20th to get back to where ever it is you normally live and work. So I decided to take the opportunity to head north, meet up with a fellow EEP, and experience one of the seven wonders of the natural world…
And my goodness it deserves to be! ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ is the local name for the Falls – it does, they do and they are, quite litereally, awe inspiring!
We spent a day wondering around, paddled on a tropical beach, made Palm Crosses, went down to the Cauldron, up along the knife edge bridge, over to the bridge to Zimbabwe… I have lots of photos that I’m going to try to put on Flickr… (if I manage it I’ll link the back when I’ve done it.)
Of course, on that bridge, they do the bunji jumping and gorge swings…
Now before you go getting all excited, I don’t know how many times I’ve said I’ll never do a bunji jump – “You could never pay me enough!” I have said – many many many times! But I did quite fancy the gorge swing. Turns out they do a ‘deal’ – $115 for just the swing/bunji and $135 for the swing and bunji and zip wire…
So we both plump for the deal – even though I have no intention of doing the bunji and he’s probably not going to do the swing, because it’s nice to have the option and because ‘zipping’ into Zim rather appeals.
Having signed our lives away (literally – I cannot get used to the indemnity forms over here – absolving the company and all employees of all responsibility in the case injury or death – even as a result of negligence!) we were weighed, strapped up and ready to go.
On the way over to the zip, which is first, we meet a Polish couple and it turns out there is a mutual friend through Taizé. I really want to go there one year. It sounds amazing. (Fellow EEP has lived there for a while so it must be good.) They have a super duper camera, and promise to send photos – so when I get them I’ll post them… 🙂
It’s a lovely slide over – beautiful view of the Zambizi, the bridge, everything. Wonderful. Walking back across the bridge from the Zimbabwe side, we greated the armed boarder control, and felt rather proud of ourselves.
Then came the hard stuff…
He goes first. For which I am extremely greatful! Bunji away with barely a backward glance! I’m very proud of him, and at the same time wondering quite what I’m doing, about to throw myself into “111meters of Big African Air,” as they put it. Clearly, I am nuts, but at the same time I’m really rather looking forward to it – I’ve always loved the swings!
You’re supposed to take a running jump at the swing, so I do my little run up, and then my brain kicks in and says “Woah there little lady – just what in the name of all things sensible d’you think you’re about to do?”
So I stop.
Much to the surprise of the guys holding on to each side of me about to throw me off. “Why are you stopping?” asks one. I would have thought the answer was rather obvious.
So I moved to stand at the edge. I looked down, and behind me could hear everyone saying “Don’t look down!” It does look slightly scary. But mostly it looks really cool. So without the ‘benefit’ of a run up, I just do it. I take a deep breath and a big step off into nothing…
I forgot to look at the horizon. All I could see was the slack rope, falling away before me, and a very solid-looking green Zambizi far below… And getting closer!
Several thoughts flashed through my mind. Two were particularly strong.
“I’m heavier than that rope. What happens when I hit it?”*
“I don’t ever need to step off that bridge again – there’s NO WAY I’m doing the jump!”
I knew I was going to scream, but half way down I realised that what I had planned to be a Wooooohoo!!” of jubilation was very definitely an “Arrrrrrrrrrgh!” of pure terror.
Then I had a word with myself.
“This is what you wanted. To know what it feels like to fall through large amounts of thin air, but safe in the knowledge that you’re not going to hit the ground. Sort yourself out missy – enjoy it!”
And a split second after that the rope caught into the swing and it was wonderful! I swung like a little kid over a river… And finally I was able to let out my triumphant
As I swung over the gorge I looked back at the bridge and once again marvelled at the beauty of our world and the insanity of humans! And it was great! I highly recommend it.
*Sorry Mr Edwards – totally forgot my GCSE physics.