The other night Wyatt and I were talking about what the craziest things we’d ever done were (consolations to long boring days of work and cleaning and cooking):
There were the generic answers. You know, jumping out of planes, getting locked into Golgotha in the middle of the night, streaking a wedding, stowing away on a ship to get off the continent, or getting arrested on the Brazilian/Argentine border. All those make for good stories (sound much more exciting than they actually were). But Wyatt came up with one I had completely forgotten about.
It happened when we lived in China.
So there we were, minding our own business (as is ALWAYS the case),
at Pagoda Hill.
Pagoda Hill was our name for this funky little park in the middle of the city of Urumqi. It had a giant hill, and at the top, a giant Pagoda. The whole park was centered around this hill, and there were ponds and petting zoos and paddle boats and people everywhere. It was almost like a mini amusement park too, with an Alpine Slide type thing that cruised down the hill side, and a ferris wheel, even a small dragon roller coaster.
But after we had been there half a dozen times or so, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. There at the top of the hill, just to the side of the Pagoda, tucked behind some trees and bushes, was a small platform, and two little chinese ladies standing about, looking bored.
We went over to see what was up. And then we saw it: Giant wires coursing over our heads, down the steep hill, out across the freeway that flanked the park, and across the way into another mass of trees and bushes. By the vests and caribeeners and straps, we figured what it was.
But did we have the guts to actually do it? To strap ourselves to those wires, and go flying across . . . an eight lane freeway?
Wyatt went first.
He zipped across, traffic cruising just feet below his body. He disappeared into the trees, safe on the other side.
Next was my turn.
I checked each strap, even after the chinese woman had checked and rechecked. And then, through the pantomimes, I was told to start running.
I ran down the small cement ramp, and soon enough my feet were pulled out from under me as the slope and momentum carried me down, down, down the hill, over the fence, and across the lanes of traffic . . .
and then I began to slow. I saw the trees (I saw what was just beyond the trees, and began to prepare for impact). But then my body stalled, momentum gone, my weight not enough to carry me quite far enough . . .
And THEN I began to slide backwards on the slack of the line . . . back out over the freeway, to where semi trucks were cruising at speeds I felt uncomfortable with.
I dangled there, traffic below me, hung in mid air over the lane, bouncing now on the line, looking at Wyatt, whose eyes were big with -what – fear, amusement, disbelief?
And then another little Chinese lady came out with a long long bamboo stick. She stretched it out to me. I grabbed hold, and was pulled to the safety of the cement pad.
And that was the only time we ever rode the zip line at Pagoda Hill.
*At the end of the line, just out of view from the top of the hill, was a cement pad . . . and a cement wall, with a mattress placed vertically on it, with (sick Chinese sense of humor) a bullseye painted on it. After your death-defying ride across the highway, you were stopped by slamming into it and bouncing back onto the cement pad. Wyatt said that was not fun. I didn’t have the momentum to actually do this, but I believe him.
but the real question is . . . is this story true or not. I would say, sure you guys would do something that ridiculously dangerous but i also know andrea is an AMAZING tall taler . . . the world may never know the truth
I can vouch for this! Well I never saw you do it but Collette and I totally did! It was awesome and I am so glad I have this story to tell my kids! And that bullseye totally freaked us out! But not as much as the rickety ride back up on that scary gondola!
It’s true Andrea is a great tall teller but I remember this story from her weekly e-mails in China so if she did make it up she has a pretty good memory.