Note: Videos are at the bottom of the post
I’m extremely stubborn. Stubborn enough where I want to have the definitive ending words in an argument. That’s why when I set my eyes on the landing page of AJ Hackett at Macau Tower, I knew I had to jump. Fear of heights? Don’t care. I’m doing it, I told myself.
My first bungee jump was in Whistler, Vancouver. I researched Whistler Bungee’s safety record tirelessly after watching a Youtube video of a bungee snap over Victoria Falls. The young woman miraculously survived because of her quick thinking and strong swimming abilities. I envisioned my own bungee snap and knew I would drown to death. No question about it because I can’t even float. Morbid thoughts aside, my stubborn self was set on jumping off the tiny green bridge in Whistler.
Whistler was a spectacular backdrop for a first time jumper. Bungee jumping was one of the most heart pounding, adrenaline filled, and empowering things I have done in my life. All culminating within a 30 second time frame. Knowing that the Guinness Book of World Record’s highest bungee in the world was only a ferry ride away from Hong Kong, I was excited with fear to relive it all.
“Yes, Victoria. We know you only want to bungee this whole trip,” said a friend as I excitedly talking about Macau in passing. I found myself doing that quite often. The daytrip to Macau was part of a two week trip dubbed #EurAsia15 on Instagram. I fawned over my itinerary in Milan, Budapest, London, and Prague, but left Hong Kong vacant except for a day devoted to the jump. When Wednesday rolled around, I woke up more fearful of the hour long boat ride than anything else. And for good reason.
The journey to Macau was one of my most horrendous travel experiences to date. Over the past few years, my motion sickness has become unbearable to the point where I never fly without Dramamine. I limit my time in cars and trains, and opt to fly versus bussing it whenever possible. I didn’t think twice about packing motion sickness medication for the boat ride because…I forgot. Rookie mistake. Once the Turbo Jet set off, I instantly ripped out the white barf bag and breathed heavily into it. I wanted to tell the woman diagonal from me to stop snickering and pointing, but I couldn’t even muster a word out with gagging. Midway into the ride, I had already thrown up in the bag, and gone to the bathroom on three separate occasions to empty out last night’s dinner and residual alcohol.
After passing Customs in Macau, I retreated to a pillar and plopped myself on the floor. I was defeated. I felt dehydrated, nauseous, and faint. “Victoria, I don’t think you should be bungee jumping… You’re going to pass out just standing there.” Was my friend right? Certainly a possibility. But in such moments, I am thankful for my stubborn personality. “No. I freaking came to Macau on that damn boat ride from hell! I’m jumping.”
Perhaps I was feeling empowered once again at the thought of dropping 733 feet out of the sky and being able to say, “Yeah, I did this even though I’m terrified of heights”. Or perhaps it was the soda candy my friend whipped out of her bag. I can’t pinpoint what it was, but I finally gathered the strength to get into a cab. “Macau Tower, please.”
“Do you push people,” I asked the AJ Hackett crew member while he was strapping the additional bungee wires into my sides. “We can,” he said with a coy smile. “Good, because I need you to push me.”
Everything happened with utter quickness. From the time of purchase to the moment I was strapped into the bungee gear was a little over an hour. The tower didn’t have a queue that day, and our group would be able to jump immediately. Japanese and Korean tourists gawked at us while we waited. They took photos of us, pointed, and positioned themselves to watch our jump. If nerves weren’t beginning to eat away at me, I would have felt like an Asian pop star.
“Okay, ready?” asked the crew member. My legs were shaking uncontrollably. I put my hands on my knees to subdue the shaking, but it rattled my upper body. A hand extended outwards, and I made my way to my friends for one last photo. My feet were shackled together- a literal metaphor to describe that this was it. There was no way out. I had paid over $400 USD, and was now committed to falling out of the sky. “Look at the camera there!” I made a frazzled expression as a joke, but there was truth behind it. My heart was racing as I looked for the ground. “Holy shit.” Where was it?
I really wish that I could tell you I did this with confidence, grace, and looked extremely cool jumping. But who am I kidding? It’s me. I’m awkward. I did the awkward thing and kind of stepped off the platform. You’re told to lean and essentially “fall forward”, but I didn’t want to lose control of my body until the very last moment. Instead of falling, I did what was probably not appropriate and stepped off. At least the crew member didn’t have to push me.
Step or fall, looking back, it didn’t matter. Once I grasped that I was flying, I was taking it all in. I laughed to myself and screamed like a joyful toddler at an amusement park. After the recoil, I pulled the strap to sit upright. The position of the jump allows you to look out at the Macau coast line, glittering casinos, and bridges. I starred out at the scenery while I floated some 200, 300 feet in the air, and proclaimed to no one in particular, “This is amazing.”
AJ Hackett at Macau Tower
Cost: $388 USD for jump only, $474 USD for jump and media (Combinations are available to complete multiple activities at discounted prices. I opted to complete the Bungee Jump and Skywalk for $413 USD, and purchased the photos and videos for an additional $100 USD)