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Friday, March 26, 2010

40 Second Ride

On a three-day trip around Bohol with my friend’s family, one of the things I so looked forward to was going ziplining in one of Bohol’s hottest tourist spots: E.A.T. Danao (Eco Extreme Educational Adventure Tour) . Having heard of all its adventure, I thought I had to experience it myself. The two-hour ride had been fun and smooth. No traffic jam, and yes, we traveled on some rough roads but the coolness in the van and the breath-taking scenery along the way made the ride worth it. We were also able to stop over Sagbayan to take pictures of some chocolate hills that could not be seen from the Chocolate Hills commercial complex in Carmen.

Before we were made to choose our activities for the day, we were briefed on what we were about to experience. It made me feel even more excited. Our guide mentioned some figures in feet, meters and tons. Perhaps, I am just really slow with numbers because I could not make much sense of it. I wanted him to repeat everything but I was too shy to do so, I just nodded. Nevertheless, hearing numbers made me feel secured. Before we did anything, we tried to watch other people do it. The zipline looked pretty easy and I thought: ‘piece of cake’. I doubted if I could do the plunge. It looked way too scary and it was twice the price of the zipline (P750). The plunge is like bungee jumping. One is thrown down from a mountain suspended by a rope that sort of stretches. The only difference is you could choose to do the plunge in an upright position.

Our first activity was ziplining, or the suislide. Half a kilometer from mountain A to mountain B in 40 seconds. I disregarded the connotation of the pun. If others could do it, so could I, even if the sight of it reminded me of the movie Cliffhanger. I was the first one to do it.
It didn’t dawn on me that I was really going to do that thing until I was already 200 meters from the rocky river below. After about 10 seconds from set off, my stomach started to turn around and I suddenly became nostalgic of my experience passing over the MMDA bridge of Pasay Rotonda when seeing cars below scared me, I walked straight, prayed all the way, without ever looking down. The zipline was a different story; you have no choice but to look down. This was supposed to be your purpose in the first place: to see the view down below. Forgetting my P350 fee and the excitement I had for it, I decided to close my eyes.

This will soon be over. I am safe and I don’t have to look down.
Forty seconds passed and my eyes opened to the sight of two men, helping me out of my gears. One of them asked me why my eyes were closed and made comments like I just wasted the whole experience. My feeling of regret was highlighted by my friends’ grand arrival. One of them brought a camera with him and made me see his video. Two of my other friends did a double zipline and were laughing upon arriving. I wondered if there was even a bit of fear that struck them. Then a whole family arrived: one by one, father, mother, and their kids who looked like they just watched a boring film. What a scaredy cat I was, I thought.

What I needed to deal with now was the way back. It has to be different, this time, I thought. While waiting for my turn, my mind was split to a debate.
Nobody would care if you close your eyes again.

You have to do this with your eyes opened.

The feeling of regret, embarrassment and fear got mixed up.

Then I prayed.

With my eyes opened and my arms stretched out, I was again 200 m above the ground. This time, my eyes did not see darkness but the river stretch down below, the rocks, the trees that surrounded them. Then I thought, it was not that hard after all. In fact, I was enjoying it, I did not notice the 40 seconds pass. I was glad I made it I couldn’t help but smile and wave at my friends, waiting for me at the other end. Camera and all.

I was happy, not only because my body parts were not 200 m below, scattered on rocks and trees and that I felt like a bird for 40 seconds, but because I went with my eyes closed but came back with them opened.

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