jumping off a bridge with friends

After a ten-day introduction to Buddhism and meditation at a monastery in Kathmandu, about 40 of us made plans to meet at a restaurant in Thamel (the tourist district) the night our course, and two days of silence, ended. We arrived a little late to the party and soon Daniel came up to me. He was a fellow ultimate player that I had met at the monastery, recognizable because he was wearing a jersey from a Wisconsin summer league.

Daniel: I’ve got a proposition for you. What are you doing tomorrow?
Me: No plans, so probably whatever you are proposing.
Daniel: Bungee jumping.

I’ve always thought bungee jumping, like skydiving, looked fun, but never seriously considered it as something I would do. Just seemed a little too risky or not something I was excited enough about doing to overcome the fear or follow through with. Then again, I also don’t like to say ‘no’ and had no other plans for our remaining days in Nepal. My way of not committing and hoping someone else would relieve me of this situation was to tell Daniel that if Lisa was in, then I would go. Well, that backfired. I didn’t realize it, but it’s apparently been on her bucket list for some time. Turns out, Bungy Nepal is a relatively cheap and safe place to bungee jump, as the jump had been setup by a New Zealand company.

Or so I had been told. I spent the next twenty minutes at the restaurant freaking out on my phone trying to research the safety of this operation. I didn’t find any horror stories, so we were in. About seven people from the group were initially interested, but the following morning at 5:30am, only Lisa, Daniel and myself showed up. Daniel remarked that it was fitting because if there is a group of people who know how to party late and wake up early for activities the next day, it’s ultimate players. The only downside is that we would be in a bus for about nine hours, and an extra four spent at the bungee site, all for about fifteen seconds of exhilaration.

XKCD: Bridge

We had just been at a Buddhist monastery learning about our minds that have existed since beginningless time and our precious human bodies that together formed who we are in this life. While going over the safety guidelines, our Nepali operators informed us that we would need to leave everything in the lockers they provided, and that it would also be a good idea if we left our minds behind. There was no use overthinking things when we got out there. Just walk up to the edge and jump. *gulp*

As I was preparing in the moments before the jump, the video cameraman came up to me and had me say something for the camera. I was pretty much blanked out completely at this point. As I had been watching prior jumps, people remarked how most jumpers weren’t screaming immediately after leaving the bridge. As I jumped, I realized it’s because I was in shock for those first couple of seconds. Walking away, I could barely even remember the first couple seconds of the jump, and I only got a few seconds of freefall before the cord started to slow me down and spin me around. The first two seconds were something like:

herewego.wowthisiscool.whatdidijustdo.okihopeistop.okphewimslowingdown

And just that fast the freefall was over. There wasn’t any harsh snap as the bungee cord went into action and during the next minute or so of bouncing up and down I experienced almost a feeling of weightlessness where I couldn’t tell whether I was moving up or down through the air. I was slowly lowered to the bottom where Daniel and Lisa were waiting with huge grins on their face. high fives and it was time to start the twenty minute hike back to the top of the 160 meter canyon that made for the third-highest bungee jump in the world.

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