Learning to Fly: A Tale of Bungee Jumping, Desert Images for the Gods, Underground Waterways & Cock Fighting Rings

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Part 1: Nasca, Part 2: Cusco & Bungee Jumping!!!

Part 1:
After Ica, I arrive in Nasca. Still on a timetable to get to the base of Machu Picchu in a few days I have to make the most of the time I have in Nasca & Cusco. At the miniature airport I meet a new Italian travel friend named Kehl. We all get ready for our flight and off I go to see the world famous Nasca Lines!!!

“This turned out to be the most nauseous 30 minutes of my life. (Aside from being too drunk.)”

For all the excitement I had on seeing the Nasca lines went straight out the proverbial window and literally almost out of my mouth after the first 5 minutes of flying. Even with Dramamine in my blood, it couldn’t stave off this ridiculously banking flight. With passengers on 2 sides of this mini plane, no windows open and 30 minutes to see all the sights, the pilots would bank sharply side to side for everyone to take their pictures of the lines for the 10 seconds you had a decent view. After the 2nd set of lines, I admit I really didn’t care anymore about the rest. I just wanted to walk on the earth again.

After the plane ride Kehl asked me if I wanted to hang with him and this local guy he met, I’m mad I forget his name, Chin maybe?, for a tour up close of the lines, and other stuff. Hell I’m down for whatever, lets do it! Off we go on the most random adventure. We see some ruins and this old man explains that the lines dictate where there’s underground waterways. Also the circles dictate depth of the water. Pretty simple for such a hyped mysterious place. It usually is. Aliens my ass. After seeing the ruins and some cool waterways, Chin I’ll just call him, takes us to a local shop for some beers. These things are huge! 64 oz is the norm in south america. Also, more stray dogs everywhere. Saw one sleeping on the ledge of a roof right above my head… During this time we’re also shown a local rooster whose an expert fighter. Ha, just the way of things down here. After drinks which Chin paid for, he takes us to his place because he wants to show Kehl & I around. We look at each other like what the hell are we getting into. We see all these vehicles Chin and his family are fixing up. As well he has some peacocks and other birds hanging around his place. He even introduces us to his grand kids, who are babies, and tries to get us to hold them for pictures even though the babies are crying like mad. We then go tour an underground cock fighting ring. No fights this night however. When I ask what happens to the loser Chin points to the grill. I get a good laugh out of that. We’re then treated to dinner at a local joint. When I ask what I need to pay for the day, Chin declines. All he asks is that I send the pictures from the day to him as repayment for the day. Still to this day I can’t describe enough how welcome I felt by this local mans hospitality. If you’re out there reading this old man, thank you for making me feel at home.

Part 2:

After parting ways I take almost an equally nauseating bus ride up in elevation to Cusco. What’s this? I’m dizzy, tingling and slightly short of breath… Is this altitude sickness? I arrive at my hostel, my first party hostel, and oh god… Not feeling the vibe here. Everyone is wifi’n it up on their phones! At night they drink and party til 6 am. What the hell did you come all this way for? In any case I book my bungee jumping trip for the next day and walk about the town. 13 U.S. dollars for an alpaca sweater, food portions that are incredible, beautiful churches, and walls of buildings made from old ruins. This is a cool city. I have a hard time sleeping not for worries about bungee jumping, but because of the combination of altitude adjustment and that on the other side of my hostel they’re raving until all hours of the night with drunk people routinely stumbling into my dorm room at all hours. Anyways…

August 31st, 2015. I wake up, get ready and go straight to Action Valley. Home to the highest Bungee Jump in south america, 4th highest in the world at 400 feet! They prep me and take me up in the lift. As we ascend into the sky, they are recording me for my video and asking questions. One moment the man asks if I have anything to say to people back home. I’m so focused I can’t really process his question. I respond a few seconds later. “What? I don’t know. I’m just ready to jump.”

We get to the top and they give me a run down of what’s going to happen. My heart is already beating like crazy. I’m barely hearing anything they’re saying to me. I’m ready! The only thing I hear is when they say to keep my hands on the straps on my body. I ask if I can spread my arms out to feel like I’m flying but they insist I keep my arms in just in case the rope doesn’t snag an arm and do something gruesome. Yea, that’s fine, I like my arms.

I walk out of the cage onto the 8 inch ledge outside the box. The cage is swaying back and forth ever so slightly. I’m really doing this. Another bucket list item, get ready to be obliterated! The countdown begins.

3.

2.

1.

BUNGEE!!!

I lean forward and JUMP! Using as much lift as I can from my calves I jump out into the air and experience free fall. As I’m falling to the earth I see that the ground really isn’t that far away and I am approaching it rather quickly. I’m yelling, “WOOOOOOO!!!!!” (My inner dialog, “I’m flying!!! I’m free!!! This is amazing!!!……. O.k. why hasn’t the cord pulled yet?… Where’s the tension in the rope?.. When am I going to feel the pull?.. Is it not going to pull? Am I going to die? The ground keeps getting closer… I don’t want to die. I want to live. How could I fall to the ground in such a way that I might actually survive. I’m diving head first here! Heck with it, this is awesome!!! Feel this moment…)

The cord FINALLY pulls. After 6/7 seconds of pure free fall… (And side note let me tell you this is way more of an adrenaline kicker than skydiving. Sure the first few second falling out of the plane are insane, however during the 30 second free fall you realize you’re no where near the earth so you can actually relax a little and take it all in. Then when the chute pulls it gets boring for 7 minutes.) Bungee Jumping gives you a whole different experience. You jump and are faced with the immediate realization of your impending mortality. The ground, though 400 feet and rapidly counting down, is much closer than 10,000 feet. 6/7 seconds is plenty of time to think and for the world around you to slow down a bit to allow you the opportunity when the adrenaline kicks in to rapidly assess the situation and how as I’m flying towards the earth at an incredible speed that it’s a real possibility I might die. For a moment when my brain hits fight or flight mode (literally) I think about if there’s anyway to survive the worst case scenario of a snapped rope. Just as quickly I accept that whatever happens, happens. The cord pulled and I feel an overwhelming exuberance throughout my mind and body. In 7 quick seconds I grew incredibly free in my mind & in my soul. I became someone who faced fear head on, attacked it, and came out victorious. I’m now someone who goes after their dreams, literally head on, flying through the air, focused, determined and actually does what I say I’m going to do. There are those who say they want to do things and there are those who actually do them. Nothing can stop me now. This is just a taste of my will and determination to finally see my #1 dream destination of Salar de Uyuni. And though I’m closer than ever to accomplishing my dreams geographically, and that reality has been setting in, I’m now that much closer to being ready to see it in my heart. I’m doing what I have to do, no matter how extreme in order to be the best me I know I can be. By showing myself love, I am living out my greatest dreams and I know full well that I possess the qualities that are required to make my dreams come true. It’s up to me and only I can make this happen.

Salar de Uyuni, you’ve evaded me for far too long. Though I’m closer & more excited to see you than ever before, I’ll see you soon enough. You see the thing is I have a date with Machu Picchu in a couple of days. Now, for once, you can have fun waiting while you anticipate MY arrival.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s