I got back from Macau on Friday evening and went out for a few drinks, chatted to a few people, and bumped into some people I’d met on other night’s out. Nothing too severe, and an enjoyable night out. I also got invited to join a pub quiz team in the Bulldog pub for the following Tuesday.
The pub quiz was the usual affair – general trivia questions, couple of picture rounds, and some music rounds open to everyone in the pub; first one to answer the artist correctly wins a shooter. I’d been in a couple of times before and managed to win a couple of shooters previously. The team I was part of didn’t win the quiz, but we didn’t shame ourselves either. One of the team members did mention that he was going to Macau on the Sunday with friends, some of whom were going to Macau Tower. Asked if I wanted to go along, I thought I may as well, as I’d just been there and it seemed like a good day out.
The next day an email arrives for me letting me know the time to meet at the ferry terminal, and whether I was doing the bungy jump or the skyjump… I didn’t quite remember signing up for that the night before, but there was a vague (nagging?) memory at the back of my mind that this was the actual reason for going. Not wanting to appear cowardly and back out, I tentatively suggested I’d sign up for the skyjump, with the proviso I’d probably bottle out of it on the day.
Arriving at the Tower again felt very different than the last time. Seeing the Tower in the distance from the ferry, and then the taxi on the way just reinforced how high it was, and the prospect of jumping off the top was not that appealing. Stepping out of the lift at the observation deck on floor 59 didn’t calm the nerves either. In fact, the viewing deck with it’s transparent parts of floor made it look a long way down and I was, to say the least, feeling uncomfortable and very nervous at what lay ahead.
I’d pretty much decided to bottle out of doing it when we took the lift up to the 61st floor and the actual bungy/skyjump platform. However, a chat with one of the jump-masters – and peer pressure – convinced me to pay for a skyjump. I figured I could still chicken out on the platform itself. The idea behind the skyjump is that you’re attached to a metal cable which in turn is connected to a fan so that your descent is slower than freefall by the cable powering the fan as your drop. Of course, you’re still 233m up in the air, and you still have to take a step, jump, or whatever into absolute nothingness.
There were six in our group, two for bungy jumping, two for sitting it out, and two for skyjump. Doing the skyjump with me was, Ces, a UK born Chinese expat, and she decided she would go first. At the time this was fine by me – I quite liked the idea of seeing how it all went before going myself. On reflection, that was a mistake. Ces took her time stepping off, with at least two countdowns required, and then she just disappeared from view with a scream of fear easily audible. At this point the cable starts zooming past me, the fan speeding up and making an incredible noise. The speed of the cable was more than I expected. After her drop had been done the cable is then wound back up again – and this feels like it takes forever. There’s a lot of cable to come back up from what seemed a very quick descent.
Then it was my turn to have it all attached and step onto the edge of the platform – telling myself to keep looking ahead, and not down. As the operator starts his countdown from 5 through to 1, I’m told to put my arms out in front and then step off when he reaches 1… no chance! As soon as he hits 1 I’m grabbing back onto the railings of the platform. After steadying myself for a moment, I indicate I’m ready to give this another go, and again we count down to 1, only this time I do step off into the air and feel the drop down the 10 or so metres they drop you in order to take some pictures. I can only describe the feeling as you’re about to step off the platform as ‘bloody terrifying’ and seeing the ground so far below is frightening.
The operator seemed to keep me hanging from 10 metres for ages allowing me lots of views around, and worst down. Finally they hit the release and I’m falling through the rest of the drop to the airbag below. It is absolutely exhilarating, and when I get to the bottom I can feel my legs are still shaking from the experience. The operator at the bottom is trying to sell another jump, or a bungy jump, to me – but I’m not interested. That one jump was enough for me today.
Getting back to the top I can feel that doing another jump wouldn’t be quite so terrifying, although coming back another day might be just as difficult once the adrenaline from today has worn off. The two guys who had booked a bungy completed theirs – also with a couple of false starts required. Once you’re up at the top with nothing out beyond you, it’s difficult to take that step or jump off the platform. (Bungy is worse than skyjump as the platform is extended out a bit and there is no handrail to grab hold of when you chicken out the first time)
We all had some celebratory food and drinks and then headed to the Wynn casino in Macau where I continued my blissful ignorance of understanding bacarrat and this time managed to come out HK$500 on top. So far, I’m HK$520 up in gambling. Also discovered that the Wynn casino bar do an excellent Mojito cocktail too… Despite having a few drinks, managed not to agree to any more daft ideas (so far)