Sunday, 31 October 2010

Bungi jumping in Vic Falls


Baboon with my cookies (photo: Irka)
We were able to get our room with two separate beds in Fawlty Towers at 8 or 9 in the morning because it was unoccupied. Internet is free but so very slow here. It's a real pain. The backpackers is not as good as advertised but well, it'll suit well enough for 3 days. We went to town after having tested the pool a while. We went looking for the tourism center. We walked some time around Livingstone but couldn't find it, so we went to eat at the Sunrise Restaurant which is a small local place with local food. It was really nice and really good food was served. We ate with our fingers. There was no other white person in the restaurant while we were there. The waitress asked us if we needed cutlery, and we told her we could manage without. We had smoked t-bone with nshima (white wheat of some kind) and 3 different sauces. After dinner we went again for our search of the tourism center because we still wanted a city map. On the way I bought my 4 SIM card of the trip (I have one from each country visited except Zimbabwe). A while later we passed in front of the Ministry of Tourism department. There some people asked us what we were looking for and as they didn't really know where it was they told us to just go upstairs and ask at the ministry. So we went upstairs and found a very welcoming man who told us he himself didn't have any map, but he would help us find some. He asked us what we were exactly looking for, as he was very keen to help us more. So he phoned the Survey department and told us how to find them. Lastly he gave us his card and told us to call him in case we had a problem. A really nice person. So we went to the survey department in the Mosi-Oa-Tunya building, in its old wing which looked newer than the new wing. We went upstairs, and found the right corridor by asking around. We were expected by the people there and they sold us two maps at 5000 Kwachas each (about 1 USD, those from the backpackers cost 10 USD and are exactly the same). That was a really cool African Experience :)

What am I doing here ?
As we were not that pleased with Fawlty Towers backpackers we went to look at Jollyboys backpackers which has been recommended to Vincent by the people at Chameleon Backpacker in Windhoek. We first drank a beer or two and then asked about a room for later days. Vincent then spotted Irka who was staying there and so we drank a few beers (diet coke for her). She then introduced us to a friend of hers from Windhoek, Jurgen, with whom she was travelling. We then spotted a nice picture of a guy jumping from a bridge on the guy's laptop. He told us he did the combo jump (slide across the gorge, swing and bungi) and that he greatly enjoyed it. I was convincing myself for a few days that I needed to do a bungi jump in my life and that it was the best place in the world to do it. It's one of the seven natural wonders (well not the bridge but the falls anyway). I told so to Irka and Jurgen and he said, if we go, he would join us. So we went strait to the backpackers' booking office and booked ourselves our little combo-jump for the next day. When we came back Irka told us she wanted to jump too, so we just added one more person on the voucher. Later we made ourselves some pasta and drank some more beers with Adam (the guy who had his laptop open).

Vincent's swing
We organized our transfer ourselves because there was none provided. So Irka and Jurgen hailed a blue taxi from their place and fetched us at ours. We stopped at a hotels bank near the bridge to get out some money because we wouldn't have enough US dollars to get us through the day. We calculated 145 USD for the combo-jump, 35 USD for the CD with videos and pictures, 30 USD to go over to Zimbabwe, 20 USD to enter Vic Falls park in Zimbabwe and 50 USD to come back to Zambia because we only had single entry visas. It was a really expensive day, the most expensive in my trip. I couldn't get out any money from the ATM so I changed some Euros to USD. It's weird how I never have the right money in my wallet. When I was in Botswana I needed some Pulas I only got later when I needed Kwachas or USD. I have like 5 or 6 different currencies with me: Botswana Pulas, South African Rand, Euros, US Dollars, Zambian Kwachas and some Swiss Francs. After having gotten some money we went on to the border post. I had a plastic bag with some bottles and a pack of cookies in my right hand. Vincent just saw a baboon pass him by and wa s quite surprised as he saw him jump at my plastic bag and pull it out of my hands. I didn't realize what happened quickly enough and let go of the bag. The f*%@#& monkey got away with the only food I had with me. We didn't eat much that morning from fear of having to let it back out the wrong way. All the way to the bridge we built up our fear of what was to come. Actually Irka didn't need to build up hers as it was quite high then.

My bungi jump
Once there we registered at their office and looked towards the bridge from their lookout point. After some time we put on our first harness for the slide over the gorge. As there were only three persons who could go at one time, Vincent took pictures of us sliding across. The slide was nice but not that impressive. The depth of the gorge (111m) is impressive though.

Not so funny anymore
Then we went to the jump off point on the bridge where we saw Vincent prepare himself for the swing. He would be the first of our group to try the big jump. The guys from the Bungi crew explained to him what he should do: step on the platform with your toes out, watch the horizen and jump with your feet first. Afterwards he did this and the guy said “5 4 3 2 1 SWIIIIIING” and pushed him of the platform. He dropped fast but I managed some nice shots anyway. We waited long in between jumps but we all did our two jumps. Vincent and I began with the swing and did the bungi second. Irka and Jurgen did it the other way round. The second jump was worst for all of us :)

Irka's swing
When you're standing on that platform waiting to jump down, with the weight of the rope pulling you down, you just don't want to go anymore. But you don't have the choice anymore, so you step out, and when he says bungiiiii or swiiiiiing you just do it. You don't know why or how, but you jump of that f*รง%@#¼ bridge !!!

We were quite thirsty and hungry afterwards but didn't have much money to buy food. We drank some drinks while watching our jumps on pictures and video. A group of South American people came by and filmed our movies and took some pictures with us like we were crazies or stars. They were funny.
Number, weight and C for combo