Thursday, July 23, 2009

bungee jumping in korea

05 May 2009~

so one day during my lunch break at work, i went outside to chill. I sat down on a bench and after a while, a couple of my student buddies came and sat down next to me. we were chatting about the upcoming weekend, and one guy, eric, began talking about bungee jumping. pretty soon after, he, david, and I had laid out plans to take a little trip to 청풍랜드 (cheongpung land) the location of korea's highest bungee jump. saturday morning, eric and i woke up early and travelled to david's home in 잠실 (jamsil) were we rented a car and proceeded to drive southeast from seoul to where the park is located, approximately in between the cities of chungju and danyang.

the drive was incredible. it was a perfect day for windows down and music blaring. i was a little apprehensive doing another daytrip-drive after the traffic torture of the last one, but things proved promising as we had chosen an out-of-the-way destination. the scenery was marvelous. driving between mountains and along a river as it dug deeper and deeper into a breathtaking gorge, we spotted many places that would be nice to sit and enjoy a beer on the side of the road. the order of business had to be carried out first, however, preferably, but not necessarily, bereft of beer.

we got to the park and bought tickets for all the rides (there were 3). we decided to save the bungee jump for last and try to sort of work our way up to it.

[david, eric, and me, ready for the first ride - this crane was cranked back upwards; the rope hanging below me is the release cord; once we get to the top with a great and terrible view of what lies beneath our bellies, we have to pull the cord to send us hurling like a wrecking ball downwards - for me, this turned out to be more thrilling and terrifying than actually bungee jumping]

[trying to work up the nerve to pull the cord - im glad someone else did it instead of me]

[david and i getting ready for the 'ejection seat' ride which is pretty much what you would imagine - two bungee cords on either end are stretched upwards, then the cockpit is released, spinning in a roll; i did this one twice]

[second time with eric]

unfortunately we didnt get picture of actually bungee jumping, so i'll have to summarize it for you. basically, it was the closest ive ever come to feeling like im in combat - waiting for my turn to jump, feeling the fear of the other people around me as they're waiting, getting suited up, standing on the brink trying not to think about anything and especially not about whether or not im going to do it, someone shouting at you to go! we had to sign our names on a injury/death waiver before being allowed up to the top of the structure. once we got up there, we had to sit and wait while other people went ahead of us. one guy couldn't do it and that discouraged everyone. eric went first, then it was me.

i just tried to force everything out of my head and obey like a robot when i was told to go. once i jumped, it was spectacular. soaring through the air, i wasn't afraid at all, just filled with exhilaration. i remember clearly the sensation of looking past my toes at the sky as i was being pulled upward upside-down by my feet after reaching the end of the first plummet (the bungee was tied to my feet). it was incredible.

i guess im supposed to call out the name of my lover as im falling, but i was worried about david waiting to go next and i wanted to tell him how great it was and to not worry. so i called out 'DAVID!!' instead of 'ginny'. sorry, ginny.... after that i sort of went crazy and started unbuttoning my shirt as i was bouncing around and beating my chest and screaming like a maniac (i watched other people go after that and didnt see anyone do anything like this, so i felt a little embarrassed later). the bungee eventually goes slack and you are lowered into a swimming pool where there is someone in a rowboat waiting to detach you from the bungee. waiting to be detached kinda sucks because at that point, all the blood is in your face and you think your nose and ears and eyes are going to pop off. it was fun.

[congradulating each other afterwards]

[eric and i get married]

[energized after the jump, we got some lunch and drove back (no traffic), enjoying a couple beers at a park before saying goodbye - truly a terrific day!]


  1. Wow, I read your wonderful writing.
    I laughed at this point " waiting to be detached kinda sucks because at that point, all the blood is in your face and you think your nose and ears and eyes are going to pop off." because I know how you felt exactly.
    I arrived in Korea Friday afternoon, so I'm still jet-lagged.
    My trip to Europe was great, so I want to tell my trip, and I also want to know about your trip in Taipei.
    From now on, I have nothing to do especially, so call me whenever you want.
    Was the new semester started?
    I'd rather call you soon, but after delaying reserve forces training(i don't know this expression is right) because it was designated from 8th Aug to 10th Aug.
    We haven't seen each other long time, so I miss you.
    See ya.

    PS : Do you remember my Korean name? from David

  2. I had a mistake.

    That training will be from 8th Sep to 10th Sep.

    Anyway, take care & See you soon.