February 6, 2012

Another Adventure... Or Another Folly?

You might recall that Zax had the adventure of his lifetime when he got to do a bungy jump off the Bloukrans Bridge last June. We considered ourselves progressive parents - even though I had to gulp down big chunks of freaked-out-ness while taking pictures from afar and editing the video afterwards - and followed up with another adventure-type birthday gift (because Zax  never seems to actually want anything, with the possible exception of being left alone): A tandem skydive.

This was before the news of the woman whose rope snapped  while doing a bungy jump at Vic Falls spread around the world, or I would have nixed this new endeavor in its infancy, I can assure you that. You could make the point that bungy jumping has nothing in common with skydiving. But hello? They both involve ropes, and trusting someone to have made sure the ropes are working and tied correctly. Have you seen the video?

Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck fuck - I'll just keep saying it to make up for them editing it out. If this is the one time to say F.U.C.K., in big bold capital letters, this is it (oh the blessings of being your own editor). I get physically sick just watching it and thinking this might have been my son. FUCK! Needless to say, I haven't been back to the Bloukrans video.

In any case, we knew nothing of this when a few weekends ago we were peacefully driving towards Witbank, a place now called Ekuhurleni in one of those twists of South African post-apartheid renaming that baffles the newly- and not-so-newly-arrived expat to no end, what with one sign promising Ekuhurleni, causing you to barely avoid running your car into the ditch because it takes so long to read the freaking word, the next one Witbank, then another one Ekuhurleni again - how the hell do you pronounce that? Oops, excuse all the swearing. I seem to have opened the floodgates. And I seem to be rambling...

There isn't actually much else to the story. Everything went well. Nothing snapped, except perhaps Zax's patience when it turned out we had to wait for over an hour past the appointed time in a rather crappy looking place until both plane and skydiver were ready. And he did enjoy himself tremendously. 

Which is just as well, because this will be the last such adventure in a looooooong time, I promise you. I still haven't been able to watch, let alone edit, the video, but the following pictures will tell you the story almost as well, without the wind and the noise.

The briefing

The plane

The critical assessment of the plane

The last chance to turn around and flee

The spectators

What the...? Oh, that's not their plane, it's a stunt plane. Whew!

The takeoff

The ascent

The place the plane was last seen at
The patient photographer

A parachute

Another parachute - s*#t, which one is ours?

The approach

Zax hates this picture. I have to say I'm with him on that!

The landing
The cleanup - Let me get away from this fast, this looks like work

Would you do it again?

This article is part of Joburg Expat's What To Do in Joburg series. 


Heather said...

Hilarious! Glad he survived. And wow, that is some lens you've got there!

cat said...

Emalahleni is Withbank. Ekhuruleni is the old Kempton park/ Edenvale areas. But hec, how should one navigate between these.

You are a very brave mom. That's all.

Sine said...

Ha! I managed to mess up even that part? It's a miracle we got there! And yes, Heather, that's my safari lens, much easier in a game drive vehicle than pointing up at the sky. Thank goodness I figured out the best way to take those pics. Even though they were of the wrong parachute. And no, cat, I'm not brave. It's my kid who's brave, me being stupid to let him, I think...

W. A. Jeffrey said...

The naming thing always irks me. I don't mind so much when they are removing the names that honor one of the apartheid figures but this other stuff is just crazy. If you read the literature on this it is all part of the "transformation" stuff, "building South Africa" blah blah blah. The country has existed in one form or another for over several hundred years. South Africa is already "built" and renaming random stuff isn't going to change history.

Syncing traffic lights? No. Roads without potholes? No. Electrical infrastructure to match present and future demand? No. Renaming everything under the sun that only radicals give a @#$% about? Yes. This is why I tune out whenever I hear somebody say "imperialism."

Sine said...

I come at it from a different angle but same outcome. My beef is this: if you're renaming things, or tearing monuments down, you are going to remove one of the biggest reminders of history to everyday people. Seeing these names, buildings, etc, always provokes some kind of thought, wanting to know more. Example: When in Windhoek, Namibia, we saw the "Reiterdenkmal". I'm writing about it in my Namibia book. A monument to honor the German war dead when they were massacring the local Hereros. Of course it was wrong to only honor the German dead when so many indigenous people died, at the hands of those very Germans, but seeing that monument led us to dig deeper and learn about what happened. This was 2012. The monument has since been removed, even though I thought Namibia was more immune to this kind of politics than South Africa. Result? No one will see it, no one will dig deeper, no one will know what the Germans actually did do. So, it actually has the opposite effect.

Having said all that, I don't think anyone could stomach an Adolf Hitler Street in Germany. Or Heinrich Himmler Airport. So - there is a line. Just a matter of where you draw it.

Sine said...

Oh, and I noticed the video no longer works. Will have to hunt for it.

W. A. Jeffrey said...

I agree with what you said. I hadn't thought of it quite like that before. In fact your argument is better than mine as it does not rely on politics. I heard about the removal awhile back. I'm wondering if had been badly vandalized beforehand or something?