Yesterday in Chiang Mai, the three of us went to a place up in the mountains called Flight of the Gibbons. It's a series of zip lines through the rain forest and was Big Big Fun.
To work your way through the course, you do a series of 12-15 zip lines and 3 vertical drops (like the one in the picture above). The cables are as high as 150 yards from the ground and the longest one is 120 meters--that a football field and a half.
Nearly everyone screams, of course, especially on the first few, the longest ones, and the fastest ones (except my brother, of course). Vinita and I screamed a lot, actually. Kind of embarrassing afterward to look at the video and hear how cowardly I sound, but seriously, this is scary--and the guides often have fun with you, swinging the line or bobbing it up and down. Serious sadists.
The scariest one for me was like a Superman flight. Instead of hooking the cable to your chest hook, they hook it on your back. Then you free fall off the platform and "fly" across the chasm face first, arms outstretched, and hit a rope net at the end. Then you climb up the net to the next platform. Everything in my body said "Don't jump out of this tree, Silly Girl." But I finally did--and when I hit that net, I latched onto it so hard that I had to pry my fingers off to climb up. My throat is actually a bit raw today from screaming.
The great thing about this adventure is that the company gives back 10% to the local village to develop a sustainable economy for them--agricultural. Another 10% goes to the Gibbons Project, which is working to save the local population of gibbons monkeys.
By the way, you couldn't see the gibbons, but you could hear them. They were probably invisible to us because we were all screaming, but the funny thing is, they screamed back. We could hear them "whoo hooing" away in the trees.
They were probably mocking us. And we deserved it.
My brother's girlfriend Vinita had never done anything like this, and she turned out to be very brave. She was understandably nervous at the beginning, and you'll hear her screaming in this video, but by the end she was a pro.
We're heading back to Bangkok today where I'll do laundry and pack. On Wednesday I'm heading to my final leg of this Adventure Trip 2010: Borneo, an island in Malaysia.
On we go!