Canyon Jumping, ye’ gods the horn, and if only we’d had some marshmallows and chocolate.

The Wandering Nerd December 10th, 2007

First this is why I’ve been out, watch:

Absolute rush. The forward dive is so much more fun. It’s the freedom of skydiving but right above the raging water so you actually feel like you’re flying for a bit, though I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

The resort that you’ll see in the pictures and the gorge that you saw in the video is about 3 and a half hours from Nepal, and only about 18km from the Tibetan border. As the proverbial crow flies you could probably get there in little under an hour. However the crow doesn’t have to contend with the non-proverbial mountains. The bus - which I’ll forever refer to as ‘the demon coach’ - driven by a Nepali who was clearly mad with the V-6 power and lack of handling of the demon coach, made the bus ride more of a training or acclimation period prior to hurling oneself off a perfectly good suspension bridge. I’m not a fan of smelling the burning of brakes - or maybe it was sulfur - and hearing the brakes - or the damned souls of those the demon coach has claimed as victims - screeching as we went down a mountain side, generally on a road…I’m not kidding.

To get into the camp you have to walk across the bridge, so you really get the feel for what exactly you are getting into. The wind is strong up there, and when you are harnessed into the thing, the weight of the rope actually weighs enough that you have to apply a surprising amount of counterforce or off you go. It’s a 160m drop, 260m arc, and you top speed out at 180km/hr in the free fall which lasts approximately 7-8 seconds. I would have been more than happy to do more jumps but the trail to return to the top is…painful. If you go down 160m, guess how many you have to come back up kids? Show of hands? Yes, you there in the front. Right! 160m! More to the point, 160m of nearly 60 degree grade trail. Tough.

The food was good, the company as well. A few of us ended up sitting around a bondfire solving all the worlds problems under a blanket of stars accompanied by the gentle strumming of a guitar - sometimes it was even on key.

It was bloody damn cold though. I slept fully clothed in my fleece, wooly beanie, and gloves. I finally got some knitted fingerless gloves that have the flap that turns them into mittens. Hey, I jumped off a goram damned bridge, I can enjoy my mittens too you bastards. Where was I?….Ah yea, so the damnable cold. Somewhere in the night I apparently kicked off the the blanket. I woke up cold….really cold. However, I had the presence of mind to have placed my woolly mitted left hand over my face. I remember having thoughts about how I loved my left handed glove, it was the bestest woolly glove that had ever been made. My right glove - which had transformed in the night back to the ‘fingerless’ form was clearly defective and should be thrown off the bridge. Further, if I could just reach my towel I could pull it over my face and that would be all the warmth I would need, just me, my left woolly glove and my towel. Which just goes to show you two things, one, I’m still sick enough that my fever dreams are still hanging about, and B, always know where your towel is.

When we’d finally made it back to Nepal, the first order of business was an eatery I had heard of. The Everest Steakhouse; where you can get two filet mignons for the bank busting price of $6. Holy crap was it good. I’m thinking that makes for a pretty good breakfast…lunch…and dinner. Mmmm…nummy cow flesh. Strangely they said the beef was imported from India. *shrug* Sell your idols….

Speaking of the Indians - red dot, not ‘woo-woo’ - I’m pretty sure they have a monopoly on silly bureaucratic process. To get my Visa, you know, the whole reason I’m really in Nepal, I had to go stand in line to get a token with a number on it. Then you stand in line, in the order of your token number to get in the gate. Then queue for the security check. Next queue for the telex form - think of it as a fax, only not as hi-tech. Having filled out the form, queue to to the next window to pay for the telex fee. All done, go away for 4-5 days. Then do it all over again after said waiting period. Only this time, instead of telex, you fill out a different form and pay more money, leave the passport with them and go away for 4-5 hours, until about 1700. Then apparently security is no longer an issue and you can bypass that line, even though everyone is still in there. Join the waiting gang of other visa seekers and the cranky guy behind the glass mumbles out the names of the passports while a convivial game of telephone is played by the group - consisting of only nominally proficient English speakers…great fun.

I must admit I’m sorely tempted just to completely give India a miss. After that experience and all the great marketing I’ve been hearing regarding the country and it’s problems it was a tough call. My currently plan is to head into Vernasi, head straight for Mumbai and stay there only long enough to catch the train to Goa. I’m yearning for a beach, a tan, a mojito, and a bevy of swedish or finish ladies frolicking within my vicinity. I’ll settle for at least three of the four.

Dunno’ when I’ll be able to post again gang, the access is getting sparse, and the bandwidth is passable at best. Try to entertain yourselves as best you can, just try not to do it so much you go blind…

i’ve seen you cry, i’ve seen you smile.
i’ve watched you sleeping for a while.
-james blunt

3 Responses to “Canyon Jumping, ye’ gods the horn, and if only we’d had some marshmallows and chocolate.”

  1. damoon 11 Dec 2007 at 5:28 am

    feck me. that’s fairly hardcore.

    so you heading south?
    goa. full moon parties. you’ll be having a great time.

    are you going east or south next? se asia or oz? geez you should go to oz, see how that one works. an honorary oz in oz. there’s a film in there.

    stay well, keep believing.

  2. Hoshion 11 Dec 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Farking shite, broi!!! My first time off that bridge (as if I would have bothered to make the hike back to the top for another jump) would have tested the resolve of several sherpas…or whatever you call the Nepalese folks who run that bungee thingy. How many small Asian men does it take to pry one large man’s hands off the bridge from which he is supposed to be jumping? The world may never know, but once I made the first jump, it would be all good. Maybe I would have used the adrenaline rush to run back toward the top. Notice I said “TOWARD”. :D
    It looked like a blast! I would have preferred to just stay at the steakhouse and dine while you jumped though. I am SUCH a thrill seeker…right.
    Well, the only place in India I know anything about is Goa. It is supposed to be unlike any other area of India in that it was a Portuguese colony originally, so there is a much more Mediterranean feel to it than most of the other areas. I know the area of Punjab is full of some nice and fun folks…most of which now apparently live in Indy. I am sure there are still a few there for you to meet though. I’ve heard there are a lot of people in India. That means it probably smells funny…like curry or something. :P And, if you see some of Jerry Garcia’s ashes still floating around the banks of the Ganges, tell him I said ‘Hi’.
    As usual, be safe, have a good time and stop wearing the fingers off your right glove! :)

  3. puffjmon 12 Dec 2007 at 10:13 am

    WOW! I am very jealous…I have gone skydiving and that was amazing. I can only imagine how cool it would be to jump in a gorge, especially being a geologist! take care…

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