“It’ll be fun,” they said. “You can do it,” they said. “I triple doggy dare you,” they said.
And now here I am, against my better judgement, with a harness around my waist and cords strapped to my ankles. I’m standing on a three-foot wide metal platform 63 floors up above the ground–and I’m FREAKING out.
The Lead Up: Getting Checked In
Macau is a very cool place, and people come here for lots of reasons.
They come here to gamble (it’s the “Las Vegas of Asia”), to see some incredible live shows, to eat delicious, complex dishes, and to take in the culture. And still, the more insane among us come here for one reason: to conquer the World’s Tallest Bungee at Macau Tower, a staggering 764 feet above ground.
I’m not really one of those people.
I’ve been skydiving (twice) and I’ve done a lot of fun adventure activities. I like adrenaline. I do. But the thought of bungee jumping has just always freaked me out.
Truth be told, I’m here to see the Sheraton Macao— a gorgeous hotel that has graciously hosted me and a group of other journalists for a week of sightseeing. And I love the hotel. It’s got a mall, and a great spa, and a great gym. I was perfectly happy in my room, watching BBC, ordering peanut-butter french toast to cope with my jetlag.
Standing on the Edge
It’s cold up here, and the wind keeps blowing my hair around. Everything feels like it’s happening too quickly and I want to slow things down, but the guys controlling this operation are quickly, calmly, moving me from phase to phase.
First they check me in, give me a shirt to wear so I can get back into the tower, weigh me, and harness me. Then they weigh me again (thanks guys), write something on my hand, and escort me outside.
I thought there would be a line. I thought it would take longer than just a few short minutes to hook me up and then throw me off.
“I can’t do this,” I pleaded. “I’m really scared. I can’t.”
Two of them immediately sprang into action. They cornered me, standing in front of the platform so I couldn’t see out, and said all sorts of nice things like “yes you can,” and “trust us!”
TRUST YOU? YOU WANT TO THROW ME OFF THIS FREAKIN’ TOWER!
But in the end, of course, that’s what you do. You have to just throw your trust in their hands. Or in God’s hands. Or in gravity’s hands.
You Really Are Very Safe
They had me close my eyes and breathe. One of them grabbed me by the chin and push my head up any time I’d open my eyes, so I’d only see sky instead of the ground. They kept telling me how much fun it was going to be and to relax.
With my eyes closed, they shuffled me out to the end of the platform. I knew the time was coming, and I wasn’t ready for it. But I also knew that the longer I stalled, the worse it would be.
They had me wave to the camera and I knew this was it. I was begging them to push me, because I definitely couldn’t jump.
And then before I knew it, it happened. I did what I never thought you could do–what I’d lost sleep over for the past four nights. I put my hands out to my sides, and with a little nudge from the bungee guys, I just fell.
My heart was beating so loudly it’s all I could hear. I faintly remember them saying 5-4-3-2-1 but in my head I just heard a string of curse words.
And then all you feel is the wind whipping at you, and you realize you’re falling faster than you’ve ever fallen before (over 100 mph), but it doesn’t really hit you until the cord catches you–after 8 seconds.
And then all of a sudden you’re bouncing back up, 2/3 of the way up the tower again, but you don’t get that awful stomach flip that you get sometimes when you go on roller coasters. It’s like your body just realizes what’s happening– yep, I’m goin down– oh, nope– going back up!
It’s all incredibly calm, and smooth, and peaceful. It’s scary, yes, but it’s also incredibly exhilarating. Because the second you step off that platform, you’re going for it, and there’s nothing you can do but ride it out and hope you don’t die. (And you know you won’t– AJ Hackett has a 100% safety record).
And then you bounce a few times before you pull the release cord from around your ankles (which brings you to a seated position), and you sit there taking in the sights and realize HOLY CRAP GIRL YOU JUST DID THAT.
And you have four terrifying minutes while they lower you down to calm your heart, catch your breath, and realize that you’re still super high up, and that you just jumped from the world’s tallest bungee! You are the coolest person you know! You challenged yourself and you did it!
That incredible feeling of accomplishment, mixed with fear, mixed with happiness. It stays with you for a few hours, or a few days. And whenever you forget about it– there’s always the video to watch!