Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Queenstown Part II

What goes up, must come down. Newton's fictional apple did, and so did a whole bunch of very real people when they chucked themselves off a perfectly good, and very pretty, bridge just outside of Queenstown. People have been chucking themselves off Kawarau bridge now for quite some time all beccause about 20 years ago, a kiwi gentleman called AJ Hackett decided that he would replicate the Vanuatu ritual of throwing oneself from a tower, with each ankle tied by a vine rope. Using elastic 'bungy's instead of vines, he was able to make a potentially fatal but thrilling experience available to a paying public and he demonstrated its efficacy by doing an unapproved bungy jump from the Eiffel Tower in 1987. Since then, at least 18 people have been killed doing similar jumps, but none of them, as far as I can tell, with AJ Hackett.

I had no interest in doing a jump before coming to NZ (though I am partial to the idea of jumping out of an airplane). The bungy was Letizia's gig. To be more precise, it was Letizia and Simon's gig. We were supposed to meet Si and Leah in Queenstown, but unfortunately it wasn't to be. Little Caitlin discovered a 200km car journey limit, the outer bounds of which were defined by copious amounts of projectile vomit. The Pett family was staying in the North of the South Island, and Letizia was stranded in Queenstown without a jumping buddy.

I offered. I did really offer. And I meant it too. But the sudden change in circumstances rattled Letizia's resolve, and after watching a dozen or so people (all apparently part of the same Japanese family) demonstrate the various ways in which one should, and should not, fall from a height, she opted not to jump. But watch this space. I feel the story has still got legs.

With Christchurch behind us, the planned part of our journey was over. What lay ahead, we would make up as we went along.

No comments: