Monday, June 29, 2009

Who needs coffee to wake you up?

Adrenaline junkies from across the world make their way to Livingstone, as it is just falls short of beating out Queenstown, New Zealand for the adrenaline capital of the world title. With that said, I had no choice but to get my lifetime adrenaline fix on Sunday morning…

After a night of dancing with the locals (in a town with more white people than anywhere I have been in Zambia, I still ended up in the bar with ONLY Zambians…perhaps because I went out with the staff at the backpacker, instead of the other guests), I woke up early to head to the famous Gorge Swing, which entails a 53 meter free fall in 3.5 seconds. I had heard from most people that it was even scarier than the bungee jump off the bridge, but of course I only chose it over the bungee because it was half the price.

I arrived at the swing with 5 Canadian volunteers, four Brazilians and Montana (the nickname I bestowed upon him b/c I couldn’t remember his name). One Canadian refused to jump and all of the other females paired up for tandem jumps. There were a couple options for the swing…step forward and make the decision to jump or go backwards and have the guides make it for you. In this position, they strap your feet together and the guy holds your harness, as you are lean back, and then he releases you. Most people prefer this option because you don’t have to look down.

All of the tandem ladies went backwards, but only after a great deal of freaking-out/nearly backing-out antics on the platform. Montana and I watched, discussing how we would do our single jumps. We both decided on face-first because it seemed more intense. Montana went first and I had his camera ready to capture the jump. “1, 2, 3, Go”. But nothing. He was still standing. Before I could even set down his camera, he was turning around and getting his feet strapped together.

I had no choice but to still go face first – I had been chatting up the guides all morning and couldn’t let them down, right? As I looked down, toes curled over the edge of the platform, I thought I was going to pass out. “Karen, are you ready?...1, 2, 3…” and suddenly I was free-falling for the longest 3.5 seconds of my life. I have never experienced that kind of adrenaline surge and not sure if I care to ever again….

After hiking back up the gorge, I was awarded a nice cold Mosi for my star performance. Take a look at the video from the platform.

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