Today is our last day as a group as many will be going home tomorrow. That includes Thekla who has had news of a job interview for a cruise ship and will be returning to Cape Town.
Adam and I spent a while wondering a local market which sells tourist products mostly made from wood or stone, some of which were pretty nice, if expensive! We didn't stay too long though as we were being hassled so badly by the locals that it really got on our nerves and we walked away. One thing we have noticed consistently on our travels is that the locals seem to think Europeans like to be hassled and in fact, it's the only way we'll part with our money! Well I for one am not like that, if I want to buy something I'll buy it but if I get hassled constantly I'll walk away! They don't get it though and won't change!
For lunch we met up with Christina, Stefanie and Simone again and went to a local restaurant which actually wasn't that special and the food was very disappointing. In the afternoon Wing, Stef and Simone wanted to bungy! They asked Adam and I to come along and take pictures which we agreed to but we weren't really thinking at the time! If we had we'd have realised that the bridge you jump from is halfway between the Zimbabwe and Zambia border posts in nomansland. Common sense would conclude that therefore we should have brought our passports! Oops!
The thing is we didn't really want to walk all the way back as its several miles so we thought we'd ask and see if we could get through. It's not like you need any stamps or visa's or anything and this is Africa! After a lot of headshaking we were given a "receipt" which was just a scrap of paper with a squiggle on it and allowed through. At the gates we handed over the scrap of paper which left us with nothing! No passports and not in any country to speak of…we were a bit worried that we wouldn't be allowed back in!
We walked another 500m or so to the bridge which is just a rusted iron affair built in the early 1900's and looks a bit rickety to say the least! There are lots of touts on the bridge and once again we were persistently hassled. Wing, bless her, is a bit naive and rather than just saying no would often stop to look at what people were selling. She ended up buying all sorts of things I'm sure she didn't really want and we tried to help her but she didn't seem too bothered.
The office for the bungy is on the Zambian side of the bridge, although still within nomansland, and we walked across so the girls could sign up. I think they were equal parts excited and nervous at this point and all disappeared to the bathrooms for about 5 minutes! Haha! Then again, they're braver than me!
Once signed up they left us at the little café overlooking the gorge and walked back to the centre of the bridge. Unlike Adam's bungy in South Africa there was no loud music playing to keep people upbeat and the staff seemed really slow and disorganised. It took forever for them to get ready…
Finally Simone climbed down onto the platform just below the bridge and after some instructions from the crew got ready to jump. I'm not really sure what happened. We were quite some distance away but you could still tell she was nervous from her body language. Anyway she seemed to tumble down rather than doing a nice jump out like Adam did so I'm guessing she was fighting with her emotions a little bit. The crew also pushed her which seemed a bit harsh but then they seem to do that with everyone!
The first thing I noticed was how bouncy this bungy is compared to the one Adam did! I'm not sure if it's got anything to do with the fact its nearly 100m shorter than Bloukrans or what but Simone seemed to spring and bounce for miles in every direction. It was certainly stomach churning to watch. I half thought that after seeing Adam jump I might be able to do it myself one day but seeing this jump I realised how different they all are.
Next up was Stef and once again it seemed to take ages for the crew to get ready. Whilst she was standing on the edge Simone was lifted up to the underside of the bridge and just left there to watch the other 2 jump.
Stef didn't twist as much as Simone but Adam's jump was still better. Seeing it now I'm actually quite impressed with how good his jump was! Once again Stef was winched up to join Simone under the bridge.
Finally came a very nervous but determined Wing. I have to say that I'm very shocked that she wants to do it at all. On first impressions Wing just seems really quiet and I wouldn't say she was up for doing anything that involved adrenaline! Good on her!
Wing just fell straight forwards like a plank of wood and didn't bother to jump at all! It made us laugh because all the posters around say it's safer to jump as far out as possible but she fell like she was paralysed! It made for much better pictures than the other 2 though and I don't think she was dissatisfied.
After what seemed like forever all three arrived back at the café. They were all buzzing and very happy to have survived! (Not so farfetched considering what happened here in January!) We hugged them and showed them some photo's before going to see the video and professional photos taken by the company. I say "professional" lightly though because the quality and standards was rubbish compared to South Africa! My photos were much better and I was quite some distance away! Most of the ones they took were completely out of focus and the video was hand held and shaky and they were often completely out of the shot. I wouldn't have bought it personally but they were keen for the memento, despite getting my pics for free, and paid up after managing to negotiate a small discount.
After being hassled all the way back across the bridge, and having to wait for Wing who once again got collared, we made it back to the border post and after some tutting and headshaking got back into Zimbabwe without too much trouble.
In the evening the group all met up for a meal at a restaurant within a local hotel complex. It was ok but not as nice as the night before. After dinner there was a mix up with the bill and we ended up with WAY too much money! We all suspected Marcus (the Swiss one who has been with us since CT) but he refused to own up so it was agreed we would head back to the same bar as last night and get a round in for everyone. Knowing Marcus that's probably exactly what he intended as its quite obvious he has plenty of money (not that he's ever really told anyone what he does) and he's been known to buy rounds of shots at group meals before. In the end his money paid for about 3 ½ rounds of shots… it was a good night!