‘Beware of falling people’ says the sign as we come out of the high speed elevator at 58th floor, Observation deck of the Macau Tower, in 60 seconds flat. Now, I have seen signboards warning us of falling rocks, landslide while trekking or falling objects or debris in a construction site. I was not much surprised when I once saw beware of falling coconuts. This is new. While I try to reason in my mind, I hear a blood curdling scream and see a girl falling! My heart miss a few beats.
In islands of Vanuatu, men participate in Land Diving ritual with a hope of bountiful harvest. They tie vines to their feet and jump off trees. What started as a ritual eventually became a demonstration of bravery. However, when A J Hackett performed his illegal jump from Eiffel Tower, he was definitely not participating in any ancient ritual. This was pure adrenalin. He made Bungee (Bungy) Jumping famous and improved safety features so more and more people could perform without getting hurt.
It dawns on me that the floor above has, perhaps, the bungee jumping platform !! Without losing much time Vasu and I take the elevator to the floor where scene of action is.
Yes, Bungee (a.k.a Bungy) platform is here! At 233 meters, it is the highest bungee jumping in world. A J Hackett’s company has modernized Bungy Jumping and has a proven safety record. They have facilitated over 3,000,000 jumps worldwide!
All set to take the plunge.
Also in the menu is Sky Jump which is assisted jumping like they do in films :). You jump off the platform and the tether slows down the jump (no free fall as in bungee).
We sign up for Sky Walk at 233 meters. Imagine taking a walk on a platform outside the tower. Sounds easy? The platform is just about 4 feet wide. No problems? There are no handrails too! And the strong wind at that height tries to blow you off your feet.
After filling up the forms, we get our orange colored T-shirts. We deposit our stuff in the locker and assemble at the Harnessing station. Two staff members help us in getting ready. We apply for further permissions to carry our cameras. Cameras get their own tethers.
Our Sky Walk leader, Francisco, an energetic lad of about 19, comes and checks if everything is ok. He is a Portuguese and came to Macau three years back. He loves his job very much. Who won’t? Although young, he inspires confidence in us by his professionalism. Apparently there is a queue for every activity. We see people from all ages trying these. We just see a child of 12 years coming up after a bungee jump. Such craze!
Listening to the instructions. You can see a jam packed audience behind us watching our moves.
We wait for Francisco to call our names and is presently our turn to get on the dock ….ehh.. to the outer rim. He checks the safety gears, connects couple of tethers and ropes to our harnesses and does the same for himself and off we go. Another staff verifies if everything is ok.
Gingerly we step on to the rim. Although in our minds we know this is probably safe, there is an element of anxiety. Francisco asks us to follow just one rule … to follow his rules! He enquires about the wrist brace I am wearing & and has a worried look. He asks me to hold the rope with my left hand which I am not ready to do. After all, I am right handed and even though my wrist is not strong to hold anything tightly, my reflex is to use the right hand.
Just before the start. We are excited!
To start with, the leader asks us to perform some simple tasks as dangling our legs over the rim standing on the inner rim etc. It looks simple at first glance but we do feel a bit anxious. In a couple of minutes we are more confident and are doing things like leaning off the rim, dancing and jumping and so on. And yes, kicking as well!
Since the rim has no handrails, we are able to bend forward completely and see the narrow base of the tower. Vasu leans forward enough to click some photos.
The views are breathtaking. We could see whole of Macau and also a wee bit of China! Francisco is rattling away some history as to where the shoreline was before the land reclamation and points out a few important buildings. All those tall buildings look so small! We spend some time identifying paces where we had been to in the past 3 days.
We can see we already have a big fan following with people encouraging us and clicking photos. One woman in particular, takes the whole round from inside with us and is continuously cheering and asking me to pose for her! Of course, I even dance for her. 😀
Then the grand finale! We run and takeoff! We swing by, at least 10-15 meters without our feet touching the platform. The contraption is so well oiled that Vasu almost crashes into the instructor!
While coming out, no no, coming in, we are already out you see, we decide that this Sky-Walk is indeed a fitting farewell to Macau and we promise ourselves to return sometime again and try out other activities.
Yayy! We did it!
** A J Hackett or the New Zealanders and perhaps a few others prefer to spell it Bungy instead of Bungee.
P.S. – We’ll upload a video of this activity soon which would be fun to watch. Stay tuned.
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