Day 2 - Cliffs, new friends!, and SHOTS (x15+)
Trip Start Sep 30, 2010
2Trip End Oct 10, 2010
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Wake up to an empty house. Sunday is the staff’s day off. We are on our own for breakfast, head down to the beach and have a coffee at one place, then to D-Mall for “Pancake House” for some amazing grub. … then some more walking on the beach.
Before the trip, Brooke had scouted out a new excursion on the island called “Ariels Point”. It looked great to all of us and we’d wanted to do it. Now, with blue skies above and what looks to be a beautiful day … we are approached by somebody asking us if we want to go on the trip. $25 per peron for the boat ride, all you can drink alcohol, all you can eat food at the destination, snorkeling gear, and cliff diving. We are in! … No less than five minutes later we are on a boat full of other tourists … a group of Philippinos now living in Australia (mom, dad, their two sons Den and Marco, and Marco’s wife Simone), and some Europeans (Florian from Germany now working out of Hong Kong, his friend Tony from France, and a couple joining them from… who knows, they kind of kept to themselves). We were carried across the ocean, back to the island we flew in to originally … and around the cliffs … crazy jagged, sharp, tall, otherworldly looking cliffs … fifteen versions of blue water on the way … schools of small fish jumping out of the water ….. Amazing. We round the corner and pull up to a cliff, … and as we approach, no signs of the boat slowing down … and I see an opening to a huge cave. We park in the cave and walk along a plank to get to the walkway. Everything is amazing. Its like a set from Pirates of the Caribbean or something. We hike up the stairs and find a majestic overlook … all white cement … beach furniture and tables … and huge jumping stations. … We are told the first plank is just less than 10 meters. The second is 15 meters. And the tallest is 35 meters. … For some reason, on the boat ride over, I told the Aussies I was going off the top one first. No warm up small jump for me. I was going big or nothing. … Now though, looking over the ocean, … holy shit. 35 meters is WAY WAY WAY WAY high. Like, … you could die high. It doesn’t help that all the hand rails only reach my knees, so I’m off balance walking out on to the plank. It also doesn’t help that this is not safe whatsoever. If you fall off before reaching the end of the plank … you die. The plank walk takes you out over the viciously sharp, jagged cliffs … and then, at the very end, below you is nothing but a lot of air … and then water. Lots of water. We think. … The French guy asks one of the workers, “How deep is it here?” … She says, “Very deep, sir.” … yeah. Thanks. That helps. …
Good lord. Its so high. I can’t do it. Two walks out, two times I turn around and come back. The French guy goes, the German guy goes. … And now its just me up there. … People are going off the bottom one, Janice is trying to get the guts to go. Finally, we agree that she and I will both go on 1, 2, 3 … JUMP!. She counts it off, I’m crapping myself, and walk out and jump. In the air I hear, “I can’t do it, I can’t do it!” … the voice of Janice still standing on dry land as I fall to what feels like my death. I’m freaking out, arms flayling about. SMACK!!! Ooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!! I’m underwater, hurting. Ouch ouch ouch ouch. Up I swim, over to the landing dock. The cheers of the crowd don’t help the intense pain on my arms and feet. I did the opposite of what you are supposed to do. I landed like a falling Jesus instead of a mummy. Rookie move! Doh! … So much pain. Bruised arms. Swelling. Some blisters. It hurts bad.
Climb back up to watch Janice make her own jump off the smallest platform after an INTENSE inner battle. I mean, it was crazy. She took about twenty minutes before jumping. All sorts of bailed attempts. Then, finally, she walked out slowly. Paused two feet before the edge. And started shaking uncontrollably. I mean, everything was shaking. Not like the little bit of jitters you get when you are nervous. This was full on panic. The staff called out to each other and somebody got a life vest ready. She was beyond the sharp cliffs at that point, but if she fell in panic mode, there is no telling how badly she would fall/land. It was scary. She was like in hyper pop-it/lock-it mode. Afterwards it was funny, but at the time, everybody was like, “Oh my god, I can’t believe she is going through with this!!” … but she was determined to do it. No matter what. Finally, on the verge of backing out or falling off awkwardly or going for it, she seemed to get a rush of courage and jumped, … landed without incident … and was PSYCHED when she came up. So cool to see her overcome!
Meanwhile, I was still bruised and in pain, and kind of pissed I had botched the landing. So I went up and jumped again from the tallest one and nailed it. Perfect landing! … … then we all relaxed on the float in the middle of the ocean , just beyond the cave where our boat was docked … the wait staff had brought out drinks and snorkels for us after our all you can eat buffet … … and then I got the urge to jump a 3rd time, which was the scariest of all for some reason. I got nervous I was pushing things too far and was going to get hurt. So while I stalled like a little girl up there, my bro Richard manned up and hit the medium jump AND the tallest jump back to back with zero hesitation (and a Philippino battle cry, which the crowd LOVED!) while my knees were still too weak to do it … but ultimately I jumped again with no problem … Brooke was very content to watch and cheer us all on, enjoy the food, drinks, swimming, and overall camaraderie of the experience. It was great fun for everybody and on the way back on the boat, after Brooke decided to throw her camera off the boat in to the depths of the ocean, we decided we’d all meet up later for drinks so we could exchange emails and get photos from THEIR cameras! J Brooke was so bummed to have lost all her photos of the trip thus far. Thankfully, we have our camera back at the house with photos on it, and our new friends took some great pics of all of us. … (of course, then we find out camera is broken from the humidity at the house and we have to buy a new one … double doh! … ) …
Night comes and we grab some fresh seafood. Prawns. Fish. Lobster. Curry. Rice. So damn good. … And then meet up with all of our new friends for drinks. … There has been talk of a local drinking challenge held at Cucamonga … “15 shots and still standing” … earns you a tshirt, your name on the wall, and a tally for your country! … … again, I foolishly decide I’m game… … ugh. Stomach turning right now remembering it. Ugh ugh ugh. But so much fun! Haha.
We start the night at Bacardi Juice, where Richard and Brooke get this ridiculous flaming tower drinking. Its nuts. They end up having to pound what looks to be a triple shot of death … WHILE ITS ON FIRE … … they were tore up just from that. … I held off until our second desination … Cucamonga. If I was going to do 15 shots straight up, I didn’t need any warming up.
I will be honest and say that the next hour is sort of hazy ... and then, nothing. No memories whatsoever. ... It started with our group of 10 walking in to the bar, and grabbing a VIP booth. With the plan of nursing my 15 shots over the next several hours, I order the special from the waitress. Den joins me. ... ... Meanwhile, the crew orders some drinks, including a jug of strawberry something or other. Just a jug and ten shot glasses accompanying it. A STRONG, tasty drink. ... ... Eventually, our tray of drinks come. The waitress sets out 15 shots for me, and 15 for Den. Wow. That is a LOT of alcohol. Everything from tequila w/ tabasco, to straight Jameson, to something with an egg in it. A crazy mix. ... There is no time limit to the "15 shots and still standing" challenge, so the plan here is to go slow. ... That plan was quickly abandoned the moment the table of twenty Thais next to us stood up and started cheering for us. The music was pumpin' , and the crowded dancefloor suddenly cleared and surrounded OUR TABLE. It was like something out of a movie. In the matter of minutes we went from just a random group of people in a crowded bar to the absolute focal point of the whole place. It was awesome. So, one by one, Den and I lifted our drinks, a clink of CHEERS, and down the hatch. 1 - DOWN, 2 - DOWN, 3, 4, 5 - DOWN. ... At #6, Den needs a 30 second break ... and then BAM, down the hatch! .. ... At some point I remember doing a Hulk Hoganesque rally to each side of the crowd ... it was awesome. ... I stood up after 15 shots and didn't feel a thing! ... Den had bailed after shot 6. ... So, I kept drinking. Two or three more of the strawberry shots ... and then, minute by minute, I felt each shot hit me. ... ... Our whole crew of 10 were just tearing up the dancefloor. I kicked off my sandals and danced barefoot. A strange mix of tourists, locals, prostitutes (male and female), friends and family laughing and dancing. It was awesome. ... ... ... .... The next thing I know, and this felt just like a movie I swear, ... is I wake up and can barely open my eyes. Head hurts. Not horrible, but it hurts ... I look down to my bare feet and am sure that I left my sandals at the bar ... but wait, there they are next to me! ... Wait a minute. Those aren't MY sandals! ... What the ... and where am I? ... I'm ... in the bathroom of our house, ... the OUT DOOR bathroom ... and my legs look to have been bitten 20 times by mosquitos! ... Looks like I slept all night on the hard tile. ... I get up and stumble in to Janice in bed who tells me that the night ended great ... all laughs and fun ... until I swung my arms around dancing and knocked a beer bottle on to the dancefloor, shattering it (a packed dancefloor w/ the majority barefoot I should add) ... the security had been watching me for a while and swarmed on me yelling, "Out NOW! YOU! Out now!" ... ... Janice grabbed the closest sandals that seemed to fit and Richard gathered Brooke and off we went in to a tricycle, where *supposedly* I almost had an arm taken off by a passing tricycle (until my brother held all my arms and legs in the cart), and *supposedly* I ended up on all fours in the jungle for a while ... and *definately* Brooke got taken down a cliff by a T-Rex. .... ....
It was a crazy day. An even crazier night. Lifelong memories made.