My eyes popped open on our 3rd
day of the tour at 6am – a full 45 minutes before my alarm was set to go off. I think that I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to sleep after enjoying too many glasses of cheap wine, that I set my body clock to wake me up at the crack of dawn. I could definitely feel the effects of the wine, but I got out of bed and took a shower. Got ready, ate breakfast, and was ready to go a few minutes before we were supposed to leave. I was feeling pretty proud of myself until later when I realized that I left like half my shower stuff behind. Oops. Even though I was feeling a bit slow and queasy, I was doing better than the “aggressive drunk”. The story is that she puked in her bed. So, there’s that.
Our first stop after leaving Backpacker’s Paradice was a place called Cango Ostrich Farm. It was a little bit cheesy, but we had fun with it. It felt a little bit like a place that you would see signs for on a road trip, in the middle of nowhere, and you decided to pop in just for the heck of it. Sure, let’s stop and see the world’s largest ball of yarn, why not? Sure, let’s go to an Ostrich farm, why not? Upon admission, they give you a little lecture about the history and biology of the ostrich. Then, they take you out to see the ostriches. You get the chance to get a “kiss” from an ostrich, which I did. You also get the chance to ride one, which I did not. Apparently, the thing about the eye of an ostrich being smaller than it’s brain is true – they are pretty stupid. But, their eyes are totally beautiful, so they have that going for them.
Next up: The Cango Caves. Basically this is a beautiful location of caves that are in the side of a mountain. We could see stalactites and stalagmites, and I got to use info that I learned in second grade to teach Yi Jiun the trick for remembering the difference (stalactites have to hold on “tight” to the top so that the don’t fall down; stalagmites grow high and “might”-y). This stop was just ok for me. It was very pretty and our tour guide was knowledgeable, but among the wonders of South Africa the caves are not high on the list.
After leaving the caves, we did got to go to Knysna, a small costal town with a bunch of canals built around the city center. It was picturesque. I found a sign that pointed to Chicago, only 14440 km away. I blew home a kiss. We had delicious pizza, while relaxing in the sun. It was perfect, and while at lunch, I felt the hangover lift. What a great feeling, and it was perfect timing because our next stop was the bungee jumping!
So, bungee jumping was totally awesome. I don’t think that I will do it justice in a paragraph. But, basically, once the decision was made I didn’t feel too nervous. Martin, my tour guide, did his best to make me nervous, suggesting that it would make the jump “better”, but I was pretty ok. During the part leading up to the jump, I was just focused on making sure that I knew what to do. The first girl in our group sorta fell off instead of jumping, and I was determined to have a good jump. I also was extremely focused on listening to the guy who was explaining all that they do to make sure that its safe. I asked a few questions to make sure that I was really, really, really attached. Seriously, I felt totally calm and fine… until my toes were on the ledge and I looked down. But, by that time, it was too late. I just went for it. And, it was seriously amazing. When observing bungee jumping in the past, I thought that the worst part would be the part where the cord stretches to its maximum and you snap back up. I thought that would feel jerky and painful, but it was actually a relief. Gravity is pulling you so hard down, and the straps are designed to tighten with more force. So, when you start to go up again, it feels like a relief more than anything. So, it was good. Brilliant. But, the nerves that I felt in the few seconds before my jump stuck with me for a while. The adrenaline made my hard race for at least 2 hours after the 3.5 minutes that it took me to jump.
After the jumping, we headed to our “accommodation” which is how they have been saying it. They also call hostels “backpackers”. For the first time, we were able to get our own room for the 3 of us, and it was bliss. The room was beautiful, and we had our own bathroom. It was two beds and a bunkbed, and it was perfect. Yi Jiun does acupuncture, which feels a lot like a massage, and she worked out some of the tension from the jump. Even though it was still pretty early, I went to bed and had an amazing rest.
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