Bungy jumping is one of those things I’ve always told myself I’d never do, and the irony of that wasn’t lost on me as I screamed like a girl throughout my 80km/h fall off the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Let’s start right at the beginning. I’m not a big fan of thrill rides at all. When me and my friends go to theme parks, the most exciting ride I’d do is the teacups, and even then those things make me dizzy.
So when Nestle Drumstick invited me to follow their Live the Maori Experience contest winners for an adventure holiday to New Zealand, the first thing that caught my eye on the itinerary was the bungy jump.
It didn’t matter that it would be at the AJ Hackett Kawarau Bridge bungy, the world’s first bungy. I guessed that it meant it was probably one of the safest, but that didn’t make much of a difference to me. I was still having sleepless nights leading up to the trip.
But being a *ahem* professional, I knew I’d have to take the jump no matter how scared I was, y’know, so I’d be able to explain how it feels to all our precious readers. I know, the things I do for my job, right?
And how exactly does falling 43m into a river canyon feel? Terrible.
Let’s rewind again. What happens when you sign up for a AJ Hackett bungy is that they’ll ask you to sign a form at the counter, stating any illnesses or health conditions from a list that might be harmful to you on the jump, you know, so you won’t be able to point your finger at them when your heart jumps out from your nostrils.
One of the illnesses that needed to be declared on their list was asthma, so I ticked that and asked if it would be a problem. They told me asthma was only there because they’re worried about the five minute hike back from the bottom of the canyon after you jump. Funny.
Then they weigh you, making sure you’ve emptied all your pockets because, in the words of the guy at the counter, “it’s the difference between life and death”.
They write your weight on the top of your hand with a red marker, so if you’re insecure about your weight, then the bungy isn’t exactly for you either.
After all those formalities, you walk up to the bridge and wait for your turn. The great thing about the wait is that they have a killer playlist up there to get you all hyped up – Nirvana, Michael Jackson, Metallica… It sure makes a big difference.
Still, the one thing all of us who did the jump agreed on is that the scariest part of the bungy experience is actually being on that platform.
You wait around the bridge until it’s your turn, then you duck into the platform area and sit down just a couple of feet away from the edge, wrap a towel around your legs, and then tie the harness real snug around it.
Here’s the freakiest part. After you’re all strapped up – with your feet bound together – they make you inch your way forward towards the edge of the platform, and here’s the messed up part: you have no choice but to look down because if you don’t, you might just move too far forward and fall off.
Suddenly, everything about the experience hits your senses all at once. You realise just how high up it is, how genuinely dangerous a fall from that height would be and, no matter how remote the possibility, that you could be that one in a million to encounter some kinda malfunction; and the adrenaline makes everything feel that much more horrifying.
The cruel part is that in the middle of all that horror while you’re standing there on the edge, they point out a couple of cameras for you and ask you to smile. I think I managed to look pretty calm considering I was about to do the scariest thing I’d ever done in my life.
But the scariness kinda worked in my favour, cos it was so tough standing over that gaping canyon that I wanted to just jump off and get it over with.
And that’s exactly what I did, though when I looked back at the video footage, I didn’t really bungy JUMP as much as I bungy FELL. I wanted to jump with my arms wide open and get a cool photo, but it was just so scary that when the guy did the countdown, “5-4-3-2-1, BUNGY!” my legs just gave way and I sorta tilted off the platform.
What came after that was actually not that bad. The first drop, which is only like two seconds, was scary as hell. Then you bounce back up, and have a second, shorter drop which was pretty bad too. After that, you’re just bouncing and swinging around which was pretty fun.
But at the end of the day, I gotta be honest here – the bungy really wasn’t my thing. I don’t feel like I’ve been reborn, I don’t feel like I’m ready to take over the world, and I definitely don’t feel like doing it again – especially if I’ll have to pay the NZ$175 fee (about RM400). They immediately print a photo packet for you which is ready by the time you finish the hike from the bottom of the canyon, and you can buy it along with a DVD for NZ$80 (RM180).
Anyway, I’m grateful that I was given the chance to do it (especially since Nestle Drumstick paid the NZ$175 for me =P ), but I really can’t say that I enjoyed it. I guess it’s a great experience that everybody should try at least once in their lives, but whether you’ll genuinely enjoy it or not is really a different thing altogether.
* Log on to www.drumstick.com.my to stand a chance to go on Nestle Drumstick’s next adventure trip – to EGYPT! There are iPads up for grabs too 😉