I asked my friend about what is the stupidest thing he’s ever done in his life. He came up with a story about his encounter with hippos in Uganda, which I think it is pretty horrifying knowing that hippos are responsible for more human fatalities in Africa than any other large animal (yeah, I know hippos look good, but you know looks could be deceiving!). And then he asked what’s mine.
Hmmm… I got some stuffs in my head… But I think this is quite stupid.
So there was one day I went to Green Canyon (Cukang Taneuh or Ngarai Hijau), Cijulang, Pangandaran, Jawa Barat, back in 2011 with some friends. We took a boat to cruise around the canyon. At the end of our cruise, we got off from the boat and continued our trip by swimming down the river that is flanked between two beautiful enormous cliffs, against its stream to see ‘the eternal rain’, and of course feeling the splash, as if we were Indiana Jones or something. And yeah, it is a beautiful scenery.
Our next destination is a huge rock called Batu Payung (Umbrella Rock), because the rock somehow does look like an umbrella on the river side. As we get there, after quite an exhausting swimming tour, I was quite enchanted by the scenery. No shit. The magical part of seeing God’s creations, which is worth every bruises I got on that trip.
And then the tour guide said, “You can climb and jump from that rock straight down to the river. Want to try?”
Well, that is a tough question considering I have an issue with height and deep water. “It’s only 6 meters,” said the tour guide again. Very encouraging. But it worked! At that time, I felt like being challenged. Judging from our tour guide intonations, I didn’t think this stunt would got me killed. So yeah, I decided to climb.
The tour guide climbed first, and I followed every steps he took behind him. He kept saying, “Be careful, it’s very slippery, you don’t want to fall.” And then I was like, “Shit, I suppose to stay in the river. Shit.” I lost count on how many shit word I’ve said that moment. But I survived, I made it safely to the top of the rock. Looking down from 6 meters height to the river is quite… devastating. I mean, suddenly I lost all my guts. My feet started to feel numb. And then I re-think about this jump thing, and said, “I don’t think I can do this… Can we climb down now?” to the tour guide.
“No. Climbing down this rock is more dangerous because it’s very slippery. Jumping is the only way down,” he said it emotionless, putting on his ‘no shit’ face. Yea right. I’m looking down again for many times, and trust me, it doesn’t work at all to eliminate your fear. Now I know when characters on the movie keep saying, “Don’t look down!” every time they go up or crossing a damaged bridge, or something like that. My mind is full with scary thoughts, about what’s gonna be the worst thing that could possibly happen to me.
1. Broke feet by hitting the rock below.
2. Drowning. (Well, I was wearing life jacket, so I know this scary thought is unreasonable, but…).
3. Die. Simply because everybody dies.
“Miss, you can do that,” said our tour guide again.
OK. The moment of truth. No way back. So I look down once again, seeing the river and my friends down there… “OK! I got this.” And then I jumped. Cannonball jump. (And yeah, I did screamed “CANNONBALL!” when I made that jump). When I touched the river with my butt first, soon I regret that I made that stupid jump. I felt the burning sensation in my butt, awfully painful. The worst thing that came up to my mind was, I might broke my ass, or I will suffer hemorrhoids for the rest of my life, or something like that. But then seconds by seconds, I can feel the pain is starting to disappear. And then I look up, and couldn’t believe myself that I nailed that horrible jump, and I got that now-I-can-conquer-the-world feeling if you know what I mean.
So, yeah, I am quite proud with myself, though I still have some serious height issues. But someday, I will go for skydiving if I have the chance! And the most important thing about this story, the lesson that I and you have to learn: Don’t do that cannonball jump unless you’re jumping from the side of the pool. That’s that.