Monday, August 14, 2006

Picturesque Zakopane

Welcome to Zakopane, where every days is a...
One moment you'll be feasting on a waffle with your favortie topping on it...... amongst thousands of Polish tourists in the middle of the busy town center.
The next you're wandering the rustic old world market at an extremely high altitude,
then hiking down the rugged hillside,
stopping from time to time to admire the mountainous view.

What you wouldn't expect when you got back down to the bottom is that you'd suddenly find yourself 200 feet up, admiring the view all over again, only this time while teetering inside a tiny cage suspended from a giant crane with a bungee cord secured to your ankles.

The video below demonstrates my first, and certainly not last, bungee jump.

Standing on that edge, everything that makes you a living thing demands that you go no further. There is a barrier more real than thought keeping you from making that jump. That jump is clearly death; its clearly impossible. You're not thinking about whether this is safe; you're not concerned you might get hurt. You simply know, without thinking, that if you do this you're going to die. Then something happens. There is a surge from inside. Logic and illogic combine for a brief, incredible moment and burst through your primal will to survive. Suddenly you're leaning forward, your hands are letting go, you're tipping, tipping, the wind is in your hair, and your feet no longer touch the edge. No. Everything is horrible chaos. You have no control over anything. Absolute terror burns through you. Then suddenly the fear smashing all throughout inside you becomes the fuel for something so pure and euphoric. Andrenaline saturates the system and you are an endless explosion of triumph as the stretch of the chord finally takes hold and you are faster, fast, slower, slow, then sucked up into the sky, a celebration.

Or, as the instructor in the cage told me just before I jumped, in his Polish broken English, "First you will be like, 'Oh fuck! Oh fuck!' Then the adrenaline hits you and it will be like... tonight, nothing will piss you off!"

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