Before I tell you this little story, you should know that I have already done ‘the highest bungee jump in the whole wide world’ so I am not scared of anything….
I had been living in Guangzhou for 6months last year and I never once heard of any bungee jump. I went to the top of BaiYun mountain twice and no-one ever told me about it. Do I look like the kind of girl who wouldn’t bungee jump? Apparently so.
Anyway my friend asked me if I would like to bungee jump here in Guangzhou and I thought..why not?! So I did a little research and even though it was only a quarter of the size of the highest one in the world, I still decided to do it.
That was until my friend told me that when he did it last year the bungee guy was busy smoking a cigarette and literally pushed him off the edge. Charming. This put me off. I cherish my life.
But being a good sport, I decided to accompany my friend and take some photos of him doing it. So we arrived at the bungee jump on a very grey day. Hardcore disco music, 1990circa was thumping through the trees. We passed a carousel which I thought looked fun. Then we saw the crane. No-one was jumping. Just my friend.
I couldn’t resist. I mean even though I reaaaally didn’t want to, I still had to. I mean if you love adrenaline, its quite impossible to just go ahead and watch your friend do it and not do it yourself. So I decided to go first. I signed my life away in Chinese, got laughed at for wearing a dress and got offered a pair of HUGE men’s working trousers. No thanks. I’d risk wearing a dress….
So I ran up to the platform trying not to think about what I was about to do. I’ve done crazy things before, but at least they were instructed in ENGLISH. There was no faffing about. This bungee was straight to the point. They threw the harness over me, left me to tighten it…and asked me to follow them along the platform. Random mime activities were acted out along the way, such as pointing at eyes and making popping motions….nope, I don’t wear contacts. You get the picture. Very amusing.
I decided to have my harness tied in an extremely odd way. I thought it would be safer if they tied it around my waist. Today, as I write this, I realise that was an extremely bad idea. I ended up hanging like a dog in mid-air, and now have mild whiplash and strangely bruised legs. Anyway back to the story….
The guy at the end was trying to explain to me in Chinese that I have to attach the safety rope at the end of my bungee BY MYSELF. Sorry WHAT?!! He mimed sending a rope down with a clip, which I have to try and catch as it passes by me in mid-air, grab it and clip it onto my harness. Otherwise I will die. Super.
So I thought what the hell, let’s DO this. There really was no playing around, this was business time. They pushed me to the edge, and I said a prayer, grabbed onto the edge and started screaming WAAAAIT in Chinese. They were very impatient. But seriously, unlike my last bungee where I had friends cheering, bungee guys consoling me and encouraging me in ENGLISH, well…this time it was just me. Me and the dirty, murky, death water lying straight below me. I tried to calculate that if the rope snapped, at least I would fall into the water. I realised there could be a few dead bodies already in there, but the more I looked, the more I realised chances of actually landing in the ‘pool’ were slim.
I made the bungee men check all my straps and ropes and whatever else they attach to me to make me come back up alive. I peeked over the edge, closed my eyes, asked not to be judged…and jumped.
It’s a hard feeling to describe. It does feel like a suicide act. I mean you are throwing yourself from an extremely high height, and before the bungee kicks in, that moment of free-falling is the scariest moment of your life. When I eventually opened my eyes I had about 3seconds of free fall left, and I thought this is it, this is death. Chinese tourists laughing to my left, grey, still city to my right, murky death waters below me. So I looked up. I looked and searched for the clouds, a star, anyone who could help me. Why do I do these things to myself?
Then I reached the best part of bungee jumping. The mixture of nerves, adrenaline, complete fear and simultaneous relaxation merged together and I entered the meditative state. Just me. Hanging from a rope. Like an upside down dog. In my dress. But so calm. Unlike Bloukrans, I heard no birds or ocean, but I still felt peaceful. And once again I started humming. Possibly reassuring myself that I AM alive. Possibly embodying the peace of dangling in mid-air, like a bird. Free. Alone. Hanging from a string.
Then I was disturbed. They sent the rope that would save my life down. It was like a game of cat mouse, as I kept trying to reach out and grab the rope, and it kept swinging further away. Eventually I grabbed it. Shaking made it extemely difficult to clip it onto my harness, but I succeeded. Then the ascent began. I slowly got pulled upwards. It was painful. I became tangled in the ropes and I was clinging on for dear life. When I got near the top I started squealing ‘ahhhh help meeee’ in English. And they clearly understood. They pulled me back onto land. Shaking I ran off along the platform, desperate to touch solid ground.
Despite the terror, the fear of death…it was fun. I love to hate activities like this. There is no other feeling like the feeling you achieve after bungee jumping. And it sure is amusing to jump in a place where you only understand 50% of the directions given to you.
If you are in Guangzhou, go do it. Just for fun.