Wednesday, May 16, 2007

living on the edge

Everybody was putting on body harnesses. The people were a little more alert and standing in attention. The anticipation and tension filled the air. For most people, it would be their first bungee jump. I remembered what that was like but this time I was calmer. Maybe that is why I was the one that coolly spoke up as they started to put the body harness on me saying, “no, I want to go by my feet”. Other people heard me; a few guys already in harnesses turned towards one and me also spoke up, “Yeah, I want to go by my feet too.” We waited to the side and then they attached wraps around our feet, and our feet only.

These wraps were oddly enough just wrapped around a few times and then attached by velcro. No big, deal I thought. I am sure they knew what they are doing. Anyway, I would be jumping over a river, even if the cord breaks or the ankle harnesses slip, I will just get wet and that’s all, I thought. In fact, I wanted to get wet.

On the rickety skeletonized elevator ride to the top of the tower, people were now disturbingly nervous, a little shaky, and jittery. Soon 15 of us were now up at the top, hurdled behind a gate. This was the first of many groups that came on our trip that day but still nobody had jumped. The man comes up to us and says, “Who wants to go first?” The jaws drop, eyes widen and people slowly move their heads from side to side looking at each other. I smiled a little bit and said, “I’ll go”.

It seems volunteering was not ever easier. He didn’t argue with me or give me anytime to retract my somewhat courageous and somewhat spur of the moment decision and next thing I knew went from being towards the back of the group to peering over the ledge. I was going to jump over the edge of the tower over 50 meters in the air, go flailing towards the water and right before I hit the river come to a stop splashing down lightly. I was suppose to get my chest and head dunked before the last bit of the bungee grabbed tight yanking me back up towards the platform.

It didn’t happen. Seems that going first, they don’t always know quite how much the bungee is going to stress and stretch that day. You know, weather conditions and amount of strain on the bungee make different lengths for different days. They had weighed us before jumping and marked our weight on paper and mine was accurate so that wasn’t the problem. It was just that the operator erred on the side of caution for the first jumper of the day. It could have been worse, instead of a barely missing the water, I could have gone all the way under. Hahaha. It was a fun jump anyway.

The rest of the day was just as big of a trip. I visited a waterfall and later rode dirt buggies around a pretzel like dirt racetrack until I stalled/broke/went off the track with my vehicle. We also rode bicycles by the rivers side for an hour, and had a simple but nice feast to tame my hungry stomach from the day’s activities. All and all, it was an ‘adventure in Korea’ and my kind of day.