Corny? Yes. But we freaking bungy jumped on New Year’s Day. I think we earned some corniness.
Let’s back up a bit…
After spending some more time in the New Zealand sun listening to a music festival, playing cards and taking in the lake view, we got ready for New Year’s Eve dinner at a highly recommended steak house – Flame – which also had views of the Lake, festival and fireworks scheduled for midnight. Score.
The weather was beautiful, the bands were good and the atmosphere was festive to say the least. No drinking age, copious amounts of sun and a holiday spirit can tend to override any city’s best efforts at waylaying drunken buffoonery. The people watching was awesome.
Dinner consisted of a set menu – appetizer, main and dessert. The options for mains led me to the most delicious experience I’ve ever had: a blue Filet Mignon.
Two things: 1) Filet is pronounced “fill-it” over here and in Australia – no hoity toity french pronunciation for us and 2) Blue temperature is rarer than Rare temperature and is hardly ever seen in the U.S.
Blue it is.
Adam got a New Zealand must: Rack of lamb. We enjoyed our first course and dug into our mains as the sun started setting (dinner did not start until 9 and, remember, sunset isn’t until around 11 PM). As it got closer to midnight we ordered a bottle of champagne to ring in the new year…
A New Year’s Eve riddle: A couple only orders 1 bottle of champagne but goes through 4 bottles before having their second glass. How is this possible?
So, yea, let’s explain.
Bottle 1 – ordered, uncorked, poured and it’s tepid, send it back.
Bottle 2 – ordered, uncorked, poured, perfectly chilled. Enjoyed a glass. Same bottle is later knocked over by our waiter.
Bottle 3 – ordered, uncorked, topped up our glasses, perfectly chilled, set in it’s chiller well away from the aisle to avoid being knocked over. *Midnight strikes – fireworks go off! Adam and Mandy are standing by the bannister watching and ooing and ahhing…as the patrons inside the restaurant (who’ve also been subject to the aforementioned sun, alcohol and holiday spirit) use the windows and our table as a stepping stone to get onto the patio to watch the fireworks…and knock over our bottle of champagne.
Bottle 4 – a bystander tells our waiter what happened with the unruly crowds and gets another bottle out to us. Uncorked, poured, perfectly chilled. And we finally got to enjoy our second glass of champagne.
We couldn’t help but laugh at our misfortune and shared the last bottle with our waiter who was at his wits end.
Our waiter, by the way, was from Scotland and when both Adam and I exclaim that we were dying to get over to Scotland and Ireland to visit he says “What is it with Americans and Ireland?! It’s like a fairytale to them!”. Hmm…we couldn’t quite give him an answer so we just said that we had no idea what it was like to be subject to a crown and liked visiting places that still were to see what American life could’ve been like had things gone differently in 1776.
He got a laugh, we got a laugh and after sharing our first/last bottle of champagne together had to decline his invitation to hit up some clubs with the rest of the restaurant staff. Two words made this the easiest decline ever: Bungy Jump.
It’s like a universal phrase that can be used to get you out of anything.
Want some caviar? No, I’m bungy jumping later. Want to go for a hike? No, I’m bungy jumping later. Want to go to a club that doesn’t get good until 2 AM? No, I’m bunging jumping later.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, we were bungy jumping later.
The first morning of 2012 dawns bright and clear. We find a nice breakfast spot and attempt to enjoy what may end up being our last meal. We then walk into the gardens of Queenstown to try and clear our heads and calm down our nerves.
Note to self: If you decide to bungy jump, just do it right then. Don’t torture yourself by waiting for an appointed time.
The gardens were beautiful, full of ducklings, waterlilies, fountains and roses. But nothing could shake the fact that we were about to drive ourselves to and voluntarily throw ourselves off of a bridge.
Go time arrived and just as we had calmed our jitters we come into sight of the bridge…and see people flinging themselves off of it. It sure looks a lot higher than it did a few days ago. *Gulp*
After being weighed (yes, weighed. I’m all for safety, but do they have to put your number on your hands? In permanent red marker?). Groan. I digress. After being weighed we scoped out a spot to put Adam’s camera and then had an argument over who would go first. Which went something like this:
Adam: Do you want to go first?
Me: I don’t care, do you want to go first?
Adam: Well, I think you should go first so that I have time to set up the camera and get the settings right that way you don’t have to mess with it when it’s my turn.
The ol’ “camera settings” trick. Nevermind the fact that there were constant jumpers we could’ve used to get the settings right. Ultimately I think I would’ve called first regardless…because at least if I died it would be dying of bungy jumping not dying of old age later after chickening out of bungy jumping when my husband plummeted to his death first. I’m so logical.
Anyway, off I go to stand in line watching person after person get hooked up, walk the plank, and leap. 45 minutes later and I’m starting to enjoy it, thinking my nervousness was past having watching around 10 people go at this point.
Then it’s my turn to get suited up. *Double Gulp*
Then I watch as they put a towel around my ankles, velcro the bungy around it and instruct me on what to do with my hands when I hit the water.
Wait. A towel? You’re plummeting me off a 43 m drop with a bungy cord attached to my ankles which is attached to a towel??
Oh. I’m definitely going to die.
Keeping a brave face I hop down and start hollering at Adam to “look at me! look at me!”. I walk the plank. I give a war cry to the onlooking crowd and fall, face first, towards the Kawarau river a mere 43 m below.
2 seconds later and I’m having the time of my life. I’d been dunked in water past my shoulders, I was flying high in the air, I was feeling ALIVE! What. a. rush.
What had I been scared about again?
After being hoisted into a boat and clambering out I am running up to share my experience with Adam who is already running to grab his spot in line while giving me the rundown on how to work the camera. 45 minutes later and it’s Adam’s turn. Other than a visibly deep breath he took, his face remained calm and composed. And unlike yours truly he was silent for the entire ride – even after he was dunked into the Kawarau up to his shorts!
Needless to say, we were both beyond thrilled and full of excitement at not only our decision to jump, but our ultimate survival!
So, are we full on thrill seekers now? Not quite. But what an experience! Here’s to 2012!