The Adventure Continues..

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Wednesday, May 4, 2005

'Mannion's really upset',
'Oh shit, why? What's happened?'
'She didn't get any sleep last night',
'Oh god how come?'
'She had an energy drink before she went to bed...'

These are the sort of conversations I'm going to miss; golden moments that will always bring a beaming smile to my little face whenever I think of them.

It ended up turning out quite well. After a logistically challenging attempt at arranging the group bungy over the last couple of days we finally got to do it yesterday. The weather was crystal clear and a splendid one for throwing yourself off a ledge or a platform. The first jump was with Mannion, Mee-shell and Chicken at the 'Kawarau Bridge'. This is the world's first commercial bungy site standing proud at 43 metres so for Chicken and me, there was a lot less pressure on us after previously throwing ourselves from the 134 metre suspended cable-car (or the 'Nevis', as it's more commonly known.)

Although she's always wanted to do one, Mannion was absolutely terrified. From the very outset I had been warned very strongly by the others - no wind-ups. They were serious too cos' she really was petrified. Apparently, she'd already hoovered the house six times that morning and when we all met up things were looking awfully serious. She screamed like a nutter as she left the platform and got dunked too, right up to her shoulders - a classic first jump! We were all cheering and screaming for her like animals at the sidelines, though she probably didn't hear too much. Bless her, she did it, and loved it! - 'I wanna do another, I wanna do another!!!'

In an attempt to try something different, I decided to dive off backwards - my mindset being a little different this time and up for something new. Very strange feeling though. It was a great rush falling backwards and leaving the bridge in front of me as I fell, arcing right over before the catch. I didn't get to dunk my 'hid' but my left hand went in a treat before I was yo-yoed around like a puppet.

That evening Chicken accompanied me up the gondola to 'The Ledge'; my final bungy which overlooks the whole of Queenstown and the magnificence of the surrounding mountains. The Ledge is a little different to the other bungy sites as it's the only one where the bungy cord isn't tied around your ankles. This time I got to wear a harness around my waist which adds an extra dimension to things as you get the freedom to 'leave' safe ground pretty much how you choose. It was also dark which gave it that extra little 'edge'. As it was my final jump, I decided to go a little mad and take a short, swift run up, throwing myself in to a somersault before plummeting in to the depths below. The guy who harnessed me up talked me through a few pointers as well as the most sensible method (the 'messy-less' method he called it) and before I knew it he'd already counted down from five to two. The next thing I knew my arse was in my throat and I was bouncing around like a jack in the box directly above the frightfully steep forest beneath my feet.

It was the first bungy (or any activity like it) where I've actually 'screamed'. I'm not really one to scream as the adrenalin usually shuts me up completely, but I was then. I screamed like I was on fire. I don't really know why, I guess it was a sort of 'double rush' really having the natural ground rush initially before turning over completely upside-down and plummeting backwards for a second rush. Totally awesome, and the video's a classic! What a great way to finish the 'Thrillogy'! Oh and there was another little bonus - the 'A J Hackett Bungy' team have recently upgraded their operation a little, falling in line with the more modern technology of today's society. As a result and following a little negotiation, I walked away with a 'Bungy DVD' containing 'all four!' of my bungy jumps in New Zealand to date - a real treat. They have good DVD burning facilities here in Queenstown so I'll be able to make a copy of it to send back to England before I leave. Well chuffed!

Today I went and (finally) visited the girls to check out their new abodes and living arrangements. At present and for the immediate future Sinead and Traoine are sharing a nice 'house on stilts' with Jo and Mee-shell. I was quite impressed really. It seems a cool, cosy place to live. Chicken is living just down the road from the others in a house shared by another three. She's been lucky enough to get her own bedroom and seems as happy as Larry to be there. The balcony just off the living room has a nice comfortable sofa in which to sit and chill looking right out over the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu. Stunning, spectacular views - the perfect place to get inspiration for her paintings or just to have blissful, peaceful 'Chicken time'.

Today I caught up with a few things in town before meeting up with Shiny for a few beers and a bit of a farewell. I've stayed in Queenstown far beyond my original intentions and I always knew that it was going to be hard saying my goodbyes. It always is really, especially to people whom you've built good relationships with and have shared and gone through such a lot. Shiny and I have become a lot closer lately and I expected tonight to be even harder than I thought. As it turns out we ended up having a great night full of laughs, silly arguments and 'deep and meaningful's' just as always but it also had a nice, positive, enthusiastic edge to it that made it more of a fantastic 'beginning' rather than an end. And I like that. Things don't always need to be sad. On reflection, I know quite comfortably that I'll be leaving tomorrow at peace with the place, the people and also within myself. I really couldn't ask for anymore. As much as I'll miss the three nutters, the very idea of my next adventure is quite energetically bubbling away inside me and that brings me to something else I really need to mention: -

Thank you for your words the other night Aunty J. They have helped me to see through and beyond a lot of the leaves and debris on my path. You probably don't know it but that conversation has etched a very significant, pivotal moment in my life which will shape me and which I want to thank you dearly for. Then again knowing you, you probably do know it. So thank you my angel. Good luck with the phone bill! ;-)

Tomorrow I head south, stopping in Te Anau to say hi to the guys at the Great Lakes and to catch up with a bit of laundry and other loose ends. Then it's off on the 'Southern Scenic Route' to see what joys and wonder I can soak up. A bit of a daft time of year to head south, south and yet further south I know but...why not?
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