Not quite the last resort

So today we have some good news, some bad news, and some good news to finish. Given that we were due to be jumping off a bridge over a gorge attached to nothing but a glorified elastic band, that might be enough to make you queasy, but rest assured!

First up – we did it! We actually went to The Last Resort and bungee jumped today, and are alive (and generally well) to tell the tale. Permit me to set the scene:
a tree-lined gorge in the north-east of Nepal, near the border with Tibet, with a frothing brown river deep down below. Spanning the gap, a pedestrian steel suspension bridge stretched taut between concrete anchors in the mountainside. Not unlike the classic Indiana Jones rope bridge from the movies, only made of steel, well anchored, and safe. Ok, so quite unlike it, but the shape and breadth is more or less right – perhaps 1.5m wide and 100m from end to end. Oh yes, and a drop of about 160m beneath. The people on the ground below that we were aiming for (ok, you don’t aim in bungee apparently but you get the picture) were about the size of baby ants.

So we edged out s l o w l y off the bridge, paused and trembled, spread our arms like birds (no, really we did!) then toppled and tumbled and hurtled and yelped (and screamed), and, well, bounced. And then did it again on the following bounce, with spinning for style points. And in about the time it took you to read that (you did pause for the punctuation, didn’t you?), it was over. 160m (let’s say 140 for safety) in about five seconds. Not bad for a human powered (we had to walk back up) effort!

There’s a great moment after the bungee as you’re being lowered to the ground hanging from the cord and they’re pulling you in to the landing zone on a pole when you can pretend to be superman. Obviously it would have been better to be wearing a red cape, but I felt that singing the theme tune loudly more than made up for it. The guys running the thing gave me a bit of an odd look and I wasn’t sure if for a moment they were going to let go and have me ping back up skywards (arms outstretched of course). Sadly they let it pass. Reverse bungee? Gotta be possible, right?

Anyway, bungee good, two very happy bouncers. Video to follow, once the DVDs we ordered make it back to England and onto the web.

Now for the bad news. Late afternoon we went to move into our tent for the night, only to be told it didn’t exist. Some communications breakdown between their office in Kathmandu meant that even though we’d paid in full a few days before, we didn’t have beds. They offered us a festival style dome tent instead but given that this was meant to be a luxury resort, it didn’t quite cut the mustard.

And so to the concluding good news : a full refund! It may have had something to do with our dashing good looks; it may have been thanks to our witty charm and scintillating conversation; or it may have had something to do
with a conversation that involved angry faces, slightly raised voices, and possible mention of the words ‘honeymoon’ and ‘my wife and I’*. (In case there is any confusion, Laura and I are not married or indeed together, happily or otherwise). The bungee thrill of earlier tastes all the better in retrospect now that it cost us nothing. How about that for a rebound!

So the gift of the Last Resort from my generous team at work (hello Market Risk) becomes the gift that keeps on giving – we’re now planning where to spend it next!

The change in plans means we now have a couple of days in hand, so the current idea is to quit Kathmandu (where we now are, yet again) tomorrow, for the lovely lakeside Pokhara, before heading on to Delhi and our lovely Norwegian friends in a few days time.


* It was very tempting to pepper the conversation with unhelpful but location-humorous phrases like “there’s no choice”, “the final straw”, and (obviously) “the last resort”, but we felt that might undermine our argument and indicate that we were slightly enjoying ourselves.