This was the day we'd been dreading for weeks. Bungee jump day! I'd been on a balls to the wall pre-bungee diet because A) I was terrified that the travel would make me retain water and gain all kinds of weight and then I'd get all the way there only to discover that I was too fat to jump and B) assuming I did get to jump, I wanted to weigh as little as possible.
Seriously, the amount of stress I felt leading up to that weigh in was SIGNIFICANT, but it was all for nothing because I stepped on that scale LIKE A BOSS and, even wearing my coat, was within the weight limit. HOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLERRRRRRRRRRRRR. I shouldn't have doubted myself, but my ankles like to retain water like CHAMPS when I fly so I tortured myself over the whole thing and because the irrational part of my head was so convinced that I wasn't going to get to jump, I wasn't really all that nervous.
Carrie, on the other hand, was not enjoying her morning.
One of the reasons we get along so well is that we are very yin and yang. When I'm having a moment, she's keeping things together for both of us, and vice versa. So she was stressed out and not enjoying her pre-bungee experience, and I did my best to keep the pre-bungee nerves + GLEE over having made that weigh in my bitch from making me talk too much. Be cool. Be cool. Be cool.
The dude who strapped me into my harness (we got weighed again after we put on our harnesses and by that point I'd eaten a banana and had a bunch of water so I had a brief moment of OMG THIS HARNESS AND THAT BANANA ARE GOING TO PUSH ME OVER THE EDGE, but again, they did not) was suuuuuuuper adorable so I was distracted by that, plus I was pleased that I was not a man because the harnesses do some unflattering and probably uncomfortable things to men's packages. And then suddenly we were in this little shopping cart platform thing on a cable and we were being transported out over the ravine, to the bungee shack.
I'd heard that the little thing that takes you to the bungee shack was almost as terrifying as the bungeeing itself, but PPSSSHHHHHH, NO. If I were afraid of heights, then yes, but if I were afraid of heights, then I shouldn't be bungeeing.
And then, because bungee jumping is just the most incredibly flattering experience from start to finish, they have you jump in order of your weight. As the heaviest member of our group, I was the lucky winner.
But really, that turned out to be not so bad because I didn't have the opportunity to think about any of it, which was handy because that's what I was trying not to do anyway.
They have you sit in this scary dentist chair looking thing while they strap your feet up and tie you to a bungee cord and the dude who's doing it is making small talk and asking you what you do and where you're from -- definitely an attempt to keep you from freaking out -- but I was totally on to him and since "What do you do?" is a question I HATE answering, I believe my answer to him was just that I had a job. I was too busy not thinking about what was about to happen to try to explain annnnything even remotely related to my work...plus I knew he didn't really care.
You know what I *was* thinking about in that moment? That I was wearing a pair of leggings I usually wear to boot camp at Willow Glen High School and about how I had a few little fibers of that really real-looking but really impossible to get out of your clothes artificial turf stuck to my thigh and about how if I got murdered in NZ the detectives would wonder how in the hell the victim (me) had artificial turf from thousands and thousands of miles away stuck in her pants.
On my left thigh, specifically. Because that turf was the most important and fascinating thing to me in that moment, so I totally remember.
So here I am in the chair:
And then, just like it aint no thang, they have you stand up and you shuffle out to the edge of the shack and then you jump. He said that it's easier if you just do it and not hesitate and I was still busy not thinking about it too much so if you watch the video, you'll see me hesitate for a moment, and then I just basically fall out of the shack. (The scream you hear is not me, I swear. Carrie said that I just held my breath and jumped like I was jumping into a pool.)
If I had to do it again, which I am basically 99% sure will never happen, I would try to do more of a jump rather than a fall. Like, I'd rather do it with gusto than just let gravity do it for me.
I remember falling and hoping to GOD that I didn't die and I remember hearing the wind of me falling, but also how totally silent it was out there. I also remember my hair in my face half the time, but that's okay because I wasn't really looking at the scenery - I was totally focused on not dying.
After your second bounce up you're supposed to reach down and pull this cord that will release something that makes you sit upright in your harness, so once I took care of that important action item, I just bounced, held on for dear life, and waited for it to be over. If you watch the video, you'll see me look at my hands right when they pull me in because I thought FOR SURE they would be covered in blood from me holding onto the nylon strap SO HARD.
But nope! All was well.
I think the people on board were expecting me to be all WOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOO, but I wasn't. I was just like "Okay. Done. Next."
Carrie was a couple people after me in the lineup and I was totally interested in watching her do it, but other than that, I wanted to go have lunch. She ended up sitting in the dentist's chair for like 12 seconds and then telling the guy that no, she didn't want to do it. He tried to talk her into it but I could tell by the look on her face and the businesslike manner in which she was telling him no that she meant business and I wanted to tell him to just let it go because this was not a lady who was going to be peer pressured.
Some other dude up there was telling her that it's the most alive she'll ever feel and I, having just completed it, can say with 100% certainty that no, it was not the most alive she'll ever feel. We've had several feeling-full-of-life adventures together, and this was not one of them.
We hung around for a few more jumpers because the dude wanted Carrie to be SURE that she didn't want to do it, which she was, and then we took the little shopping cart thing back to solid ground and watched my video on the monitor. By the time we got back on the bus to take us back to town, I was full of OMG THAT'S OVER relief and Carrie was full of OMG I'M SO GLAD I DIDN'T DO THAT relief.
And then it was over and we got on with our day -- basically just walking around Queenstown and doing whatever the heck we felt like.
Our first stop was at Fergburger, a legendary Queenstown burger spot.
I don't know what's happening here but there I am, making my way through the damp crowd with a round of beers:
It was a good burger, sure, but there are probably literally 20 seats and there are 50 people in that place. I ate my burger cuddled up between Carrie and a table of Japanese tourists and we made friends with an Irish (I think?) guy sitting on the other side of us and then we ventured out into the drizzle to see what would be next on our agenda.
We bounced around town for a bit and then ate cupcakes and then got a recommendation for a bar at the waterfront that was completely adorable and pillows with my initials on them:
We made friends there too, because of course.
And then we decided to take the gondola up the mountain and while we were buying those tickets we spontaneously decided to also buy tickets for a few laps around the luge track. The gondola itself was pretty tame and the views from the top were amazing:
The ski lift up to the top of the track was scary for me, which seemed so foolish compared to the scary stuff I'd already done that day.
But once we go to the top, had our luge driving lesson and went for it, we laughed our asses off as we very poorly drove ourselves down that hill and it was SO MUCH FUN.
Let me tell you something Internet: I thought about that guy in the bungee shack who told Carrie that bungee jumping would be the most alive she'd ever felt and how I disagreed with him at the time and how I was SO right because this $7 luge that kids can do was actually TEN THOUSAND TIMES more fun.
Also: Look how cool we look in helmets!
I'm making them huge here because I feel like your ability to zoom in on Carrie's face is important.
I look like I just fell off the turnip truck of crazy and Carrie looks like a safe, serious and concerned driver and this killllllllllllllllllllllllllls me.
We went up and down twice and the second time I looked far less terrified on the ski lift. In fact, I think that this photo represents how I felt about everything that happened that day, once the bungee jumping was over:
Our plan for dinner was to meet up with Ruth, a lady we met the night before who was about to set off on a several day "tramp" through the wilderness (there is SO MUCH tramping going on in NZ and it means something totally different than what we think "tramping" means in the US). We had a lovely meal at a lovely Thai restaurant where we let a table of drunk old guys buy us drinks (the only moment of game I had the entire trip, which I'd forgotten about completely -- thank you for reminding me Ruth! I have the magic touch with old guys!!) and then Carrie and I headed back to our hotel, exhausted.