I had 2 days to kill in Cusco. All i knew about this place before the visit, was that a Disney movie was based there, and Ayahuasca shamans were plenty. So i spent a day visiting one such doc (details of which will have to wait for another post) and the other, i booked myself to jump off a 150m peak with an elastic rope tied to my ankles.
It’s here that i should tell you, that i’ve had a love-hate relationship with heights since i was a kid. I’ve broken both my ankles jumping off heights i shouldn’t have. I blame drugs for that, and that again, is another story. But i’ve always asked myself this, and you should too –
are you afraid of heights, or are you scared you might jump?
The latter is my problem. There’s an intense headrush just imagining it, no matter how stupid.
So i walked into the office of ‘Cusco Adventure Park’, just off the main town square, and booked the jump, and in a few minutes i was off on a one hour ride, to the place they have the second highest bungee jump in the world. I tried not to think of it through the ride, which is not easy. And kept wondering if the rope would snap and I’d die. Only positive being, it would be so quick, I’d barely feel the pain, i’d be fine. The park owner convinced me he’d registered over 10000 jumps and nobody died. ‘But, you never know!’, he added. The son of a bitch.
Now Cusco is a beautiful land. Untouched, unpolluted by big corporations, and the people are lovely. This was the only thing i had to take my mind off the free-fall.
Upon reaching there, there was a girl already on the way up to the top. Only one at a time. And i tried to look away from her. I saw a football and aimed some practice shots at the goal. None of them went in. So i looked away again and started playing with the pet dog the people there kept. ‘Boyo’, his name was. The most gorgeous rottweiler I’ve seen.
I look to the side and i see THIS.
It was time, the girl was done, she was walking my way. The people called me over. In 10 minutes, they were done with strapping me up, weighing me (which i took offence to), getting my signature saying it’s not their fault if I die, keeping all my belongings aside. That stupid ad where a dude holds his phone and records his own jump, is bullshit. Not even a loose coin is allowed up that crane. Hell, not even your shoes.
Carzon was the dude inside the crane. He had 3 words of advice as soon as i stepped in it.
‘Don’t look down’.
This was hard too, considering the climb up was a good 4-5 minutes. Keeping your eyes straight up, and not look down, is harder than you think, for that long. He made small talk. Asking ‘how you want to go?’, which was kinda mafia-like, i thought. ‘I mean, do you want to jump backwards, or forward?’
I still remember when the crane came to a halt and the door opened. Carzon told me to step out to the edge.
HOW THE FUCK ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO REACH THE EDGE WITHOUT LOOKING DOWN?!?!?
I took baby steps. Heck, even a baby took bigger steps than mine. The rope around my ankles felt like a tonne. I reached the edge. I shut my eyes. I remember moving ahead, fraction of an inch, till there was nothing below my foot, and i tipped over.
OH MY GOD, the rush.
The brain felt like it shrank, and then exploded, along with my b***s.
Yup, the pics are blurry cos the zoom is at maximum.
I didn’t scream. I didn’t make a noise. I got through the fall with just a whisper of one, single, ‘FAACK’.
In fact it took a while after the whole thing for me to even say a word. The girl who jumped earlier was waiting for me cos it was the same cab taking us back to the city. She said ‘you ok? For a first, that was a quick jump. I’ve seen people take over 20 minutes up there.’ Suddenly i was real proud of myself.
Of course, you have to experience it for yourself. That is pretty much the conclusion of my entire 45 days in South America. I’m gonna find some more jumps to add to the list.