12,000 Feet above Taupo!
Trip Start Jan 20, 2005
37Trip End Sep 10, 2005
After a cool dinner with my Nelson girls we woke up and drove to the airport. Maybe it's because of the bungy I had already done , but I wasn't nervous at all. When we got to the airport , we were geared up - life jacket (we dove over a lake), jumper and (how could I forget) a parachute. We got to see a few people go down and it looks beautiful just looking at a clear sky full of parachutes floating around. Everyone who finished was ecstatic to say the least. A brief introduction to the guy who was jumping on my back , Leigh , and my camera man , Keith , we entered the small plane and started heading up
The guys that do extreme sports are the funniest people in the world. Where else will you get to see pictures of a ninety year old woman who jumped the other week just to let you know that anyone can do it? Their jokes were along the line of 'Remember to pull the red ribbon when you jump?' and the other one will say 'What red ribbon? oh , never mind...'. Another one will say something like 'Common , you guys , stop telling them that I'm not very good.' or 'I haven't lost anybody this week'. They are all very playful and really nice guys (and girl) so it was really comfortable being with them on the plane.
Once we got to 12,000 feet the door opened and the first two jumped. I was next and after the camera guy went out and took some pictures , we jumped out of the airplane.
At first you feel like when you are on a roller coaster and your stomach rises a little , but a second later you don't feel it. Then you are free to look around and make faces at the camera guy which was good fun and the views were spectacular. After about 45 seconds , the parachute opens and you float all the way down
So now that I have done it , it's time to do the skydiving coarse so that I can jump out of a plane my own :) A little on the expensive side , so I guess I'll save that for another trip but the whole 'jump suit walking to the plane Apollo 13 style' kind of appeals to me. This was yet another proof of my new theory about how everything that looks like it might be scary is never as bad as it seems and usually the opposite. You usually feel better once you've jumped and hey , if a ninety year old woman did it , I sure as hell can. (Grandma - When is your birthday again??? )
After this exhilarating experience , the German girls and I went to the Craters of the Moon. This is a thermal reserve where you see smoke coming out of the ground. It's pretty cool to walk around and the rocks have all sorts of colors. It's a bit strange if you think that just a short way under your feet there is gushing lava and the crater keeps growing every year but that fits into the same category as looking at the stars. When you start to think (I mean really think ) of how small you are or how amazing something natural is, it simply makes you feel strange and your brain starts to think too much. I've noticed that it happens more on a trip than on a day to day basis. I can't picture myself driving to work and thinking 'wow , the world is soo big and I am so small'
Ever since I landed here in New Zealand , I have made an extreme effort to enter every competition that there is (Collecting wrappers and everything). So far 'Wheatbix' send me a message saying 'Thank you for entering' so I guess that means no jeep but I still need to wait for the Air New Zealand and the Chupa Chups competitions to end. Something makes me feel lucky and I personally wouldn't mind a Chupa Chups convertible to drive to Uni next year.
So now I have successfully done the two most important extreme activities and I can die in peace ... I mean ... continue my trip. Who knows where I will end up next? The North Island is easy to zig zag the whole way through because there isn't a huge mountain range in the middle of it like in the South Island. My baby , Ketchup , is doing great. So far *spit* *spit* he has done a great job and doesn't mind a little hard work here and there. For those of you who don't know - Ketchup is my Mitsubishi Chariot that has become my snail shell for the trip.
Kiwi phrase alert!! A new phrase has been added to my kiwi vocabulary and it is 'Sweet as!'. Basically , it means 'cool' or 'great' or 'super'. Example - You land from a sky dive and you should basically yell 'sweet as!!' into the camera. Not Ass but as. A few more words are 'heaps' ("Oh yea , that is heaps of fun") or 'scramble' ("Just scramble up those rocks and you should be right there") or 'we' ("Just behind that we path is the bathroom). More updates on Kiwi phrases are yet to come...