Sophie And Tami Were Here
Wednesday 23rd May Journal entry brought to you by Tami (sad) Today started on a downer as we said goodbye to Jamie, Mike, George and James from our bus. Dan, Ricky and Staines were all going as well but as they were at a different hostel, we weren't able to say goodbye to them in the morning. Sophie and I were woken up at 6am by Jamie who had only just got in (dirty stop out!!) and we all went downstairs at 7.30am ish to say our goodbyes. We are definitely going to meet up with Jamie and Mike in England, and they are both really lovely guys. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish both of them every luck in life, they both deserve great things. Anyhoo Sophie and I then checked out and trekked it up the gabillion steps to our new hostel, Southern Laughter. We had decided to check out of Base because it was expensive, and I thought it smelt really bad although Sophie didn't seem to be affected that much. In Southern Laughter we were moved into Brian and Steve's room as Dan and Ricky had checked out that morning. I was lucky enough to get a bottom bunk again! Woot! (Little things, I know :-P) We all went back to sleep for a bit longer, exhausted from the night before (which, as I'm sure Soph will have mentioned, was a BRILLIANT night! Had SUCH a laugh!) Our new room was really cool, it had its own kitchen actually IN the room, and a sofa. Plus Brian had speakers for iPods and MP3 players which meant that for once Sophie and I were able to listen to music that wasn't just through headphones while we were just relaxing in our room. It was great, I hadn't realised how much I missed my CD player and iTunes back home....sigh.... When we eventually got up properly Sophie and I went to the canyon swing office and got driven to the Shotover Canyon where we were booked in to do a Canyon Swing. This involves being harnessed onto a rope by the waist, then a freefall of 60m, then a 200m swing 159m over a deep river gorge. There were loads of different ways that you can do the swing itself, from running and jumping, to sitting in a chair and toppling over backwards. I was really nervous and Sophie said she'd go first. When she was asked how she wanted to do it she bravely decided to go backwards, and the instructors explained to her how she should throw herself off the platform. We'd been warned that they try and play with your head at the Canyon Swing, but neither of us were really prepared for the amount they did! There was releasing then pulling back, testing the rope and muttering 'We should change this....Oh it'll be okay for one or two more jumps...' and trying anything they could to freak us out! The worst culprit was a bloke who turned out to come from Deddington (for those of you who haven't heard of it, it's a small village near Banbury - my old team at Vodafone actually had a staff meal there once!) What a small world!! He's the second person I've met from Oxfordshire way in tiny remote villages (the first being my tandem skydive instructor Gus who was from Brackley). Sophie was really brave; she didn't scream at all (which, let's be honest, is rare for her) and eventually I felt brave enough to attempt the swing as well. However. There was no way you were going to get me off that platform backwards, I opted for the easiest option possible, being hung over the edge in a seating position, and then having the cord cut so I was released into the freefall. It was still scary but I'm so glad I didn't throw myself off! It was really odd though, I really felt the freefall with this, way more so than on a skydive or the Bloukrans bungee jump. The views were gorgeous though, and it was a tremendous feeling to swing over the river. For our second swings, Sophie and I both decided that we were going to do the same jump, called 'Gimp Boy Goes to Hollywood'. This involved having a toy teddy attached to us, and then sitting in the harness, suspended over the canyon. They then spun us round so we had our back facing the way we were going to fall, and told us to lean backwards and hook our legs around the harness that was above us. From here we then had to let go of the rope with our hands and arch our back right out with our hands facing towads the ground. They then proceeded to blabber on until they let us go. Sophie went first again, and she said it was scarier than the first one. I however didn't find this was the case. I could hardly feel the freefall on this one, and it was wicked, really fun! We then watched our DVDs back and I bought mine. Ooh how's this for a bargain? Because I'd won the first swing at the poo party, I saved myself $159! Then the second one was an additional $5 which goes to charity, and so I technically got 2 canyon swings for the bargain price of $2.50 each! Woot! We returned to the hostel buzzing with adrenaline and found that Brian and Steve were back in bed. We woke them up and all went to get free soup. It was okay but really salty so I didn't eat too much. I then did some washing (in case you care, which I'm sure you don't). We then decided to have a night in (shock horror!) and opted to play cards. Steve taught us a wicked game called Chicago which is kind of a mixture between trumps and poker, but basically you have to have got two things to win: 60 points AND have called AND won all the tricks for a round. This means that the game can go on for quite a long time. Steve, Brian, Sophie and I were hardcore and carried on until 1.20am when Brian had won, with Ashley and Jo popping in for a couple of rounds. We then went to bed and slept like logs.