Thursday, 16 February 2017

AnNILEating Fears: A Tale of the Birthday Bungee

The year I turned 30, was the best celebration of a new age I think I’ve ever had! Last year, it was a bit of a let-down, since most of my friends were away, and the National Election was only a week away, so we were told to stay close to home. This year, for the big 3-2, I needed to do something to make up for last year, while also allowing me to make up for a few weeks of not really doing anything that scares me*. So to combine this lack of challenge facing, and needing to do something a bit crazy to celebrate my birthday, I did the only logical thing I could think of… bungee jumping over the Nile River.

But before such an event took place, I was treated to breakfast and the good company of a few of my friends. Then we parted ways so I could nap, in hopes that I could stay awake later than 9:30PM…which I achieved with great success**! Then before I knew it, it was time to jump into my friend Saleem’s vehicle and make our way to the jump site.

When we arrived at the drop point, and I got my first close of look of the platform, I immediately tried to back out. But the lady who I assume runs the spot, rudely told us to hurry up, so I had to follow through if for no other reason than to annoy her! (I’m becoming quite a jerk in my old age!) But in all seriousness, you shouldn’t state on your website that your activity operates at all hours of the day, and then be a snot about it, when you request a specific time. End. Rant.

Back to the story… I signed in, coughed up the dough, and then was told I’d have to choose only one person to go up with me. I selected my friend Emily, and left the boys down below. As we were headed to the platform, a lady backed out of her jump, which made me even more nervous, especially since some of the spectators made some snide remarks. But as someone who took probably a lot longer than I needed to in order to do so, I totally get it – it’s kind of sketchy looking, and super terrifying once you get up there! The views are spectacular, though!

When we made it to the top, we were introduced to the team that were strapping me in and pushing me off. They were both really friendly and tried their hardest to calm my nerves and reassure me that the cord would not break, and I was not about to fall to my death! I mean, I had epic ribs awaiting me – I wasn’t willing to risk dying!

Anyway, they gave a pretty good recap of what was about to happen, and then I made my way to the edge of the platform. My knees were shaking so badly that I was scared I’d fall over before I was set to go! The thing is, I’m not even afraid of heights, I’m afraid of my own clumsiness, which was validated several hours later... And, without my glasses I can’t really see much, but I was able to distinguish where my friends were, and a bit of the movement of the water below. It looked beautiful rather than scary!

Working up the courage.
Photo credit: Wasswa Artha
After approximately 12 minutes from the time I was strapped to the bungee cord, I worked up enough courage to remove my hands from the rail in front of me. The countdown began and as soon as I heard that number 1, I somehow found myself falling forward, and in a situation I soon wished I was not in. In fact, I’m pretty sure half way down I yelled out Abort! Abort! But alas, I did not have such an option, and I completed the jump in full, bouncing up and down several times at the end.

I don’t remember actually falling forward, I just remember being in the air...
Photo credit: Wasswa Artha 
...and then not wanting to be in the air.
Photo credit: Wasswa Artha
When I describe my inability to draw a proper stick person, this is what it usually looks like...
Photo credit: Wasswa Artha

I will happily admit that I did not enjoy that sensation whatsoever. Usually, when I do things like this (rafting, tattoos, giving blood, killing gigantic cockroaches), I have that wonderful sensation where I need to do those activities again, and immediately, and every day for the rest of my life… but not with this one. I concluded pretty quickly that bungee jumping would not be placed on regular rotation. Of course, it didn’t help that almost as soon as I got of the recovery raft I got sick. Nor did it help that for the 4 or so hours that followed the jump, I felt super nauseous. As one friend informed me – “You look whiter than usual…” If I’ve learned anything aside from never wanting to do that again, it’s that a future in space travel is most definitely not in the cards for me! But, with all that said, I’m really glad I did it. But I’ll be even happier if I never have to again!

Happy to be back on the ground and reunited with my glasses!
Photo credit: Wasswa Artha
Following the jump, the evening consisted of a brilliant meal at the Black Lantern and featured more meat than I’ve eaten/seen in probably the past month combined***! But, man, was it good! In fact, it was so good, that the sight of the plate awaiting me caused me to lose my footing and fall in one spectacularly graceful/classic movement. How I’ve made it this far in life, is really quiet astonishing!

After dinner, we were treated to the talents of a one King KLA – Mr. Wasswa Artha, himself, who freestyled a poem on demand. I will warn you there’s some colourful language involved, but if you can get passed that and just listen to how easily these words have come to him, you’ll be impressed!

All-in-all, it was one amazing day! 31 was a meh year for the most part****, but I can already tell that big things are coming for number 32! Just hopefully nothing that involves me free falling from a tall platform attached to a cord…or falling of any sort, for that matter!

-the Aged Orange Canadian

*I try to do one thing a day that scares me, but lately that’s really been nothing more than getting out of bed and facing the day! I mean, I’ve succeed in this challenge a bit in the past little while, but not to the extent I would like!
**The staying up late part, not the napping bit.
***Which is saying a lot given the amount of bacon I consumed the week before in Kampala!
****Although there were some really great highlights and happenings throughout the year!

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