When in Macau, jump off the tower
While some travellers are adventure seekers with a weak spot for the extreme, I prefer the comfort and safety of sea level. I don’t do heights. Bungee jumping, skydiving and even roller-coasters just aren’t my thing.
Yet, somehow, I found myself standing on the ledge of the Macau Tower, strapped in harnesses and cords, preparing to plummet 233 metres toward the Earth.
Why, you ask? Since the Macau Tower offers the world’s highest SkyJump and the world’s highest bungee jump, I was persuaded that no trip to this Asian city would be complete without a little adrenaline rush. “You can’t come all the way to Macau and not do the SkyJump,” sang the song of peer pressure. I wasn’t happy about it, but I sucked up my fear and gave into a when-in-Rome mentality.
As the brochure explains, the SkyJump “lets its guests fly through air at 75km/h in 20 seconds before decelerating to a comfortable landing speed.” It’s the world’s highest commercial decelerator descent under the Guinness World Records.
From the 61st floor of the Macau Tower, I slipped into a silky blue jumpsuit and yellow harness. As staff secured clip-on metal carabiners to my body, I had second thoughts. I felt parched and queasy. I had butterflies in my stomach.
What if something went wrong? What if the cords snapped? What if my splattered body parts had to be scraped off the pavement like mozzarella cheese to a frying pan?
In my moments of panic, I took some comfort in the fact the Macau SkyJump is not a fly-by-night operation. It’s owned by A.J. Hackett, “the father of bungee jumping,” who manages adrenaline-based activities all over the world. Though I wasn’t convinced of it at the time, chances were good I would live through the experience.
Buckled up and not ready to go, I followed the SkyJump guide out to the platform as though I?were heading to the gallows. The security gate opened with an ominous metal clank. I approached the edge and peered over. It was a gorgeous clear view of Macau — lotus-shaped casinos, massive bridges extending over the glistening Pearl River — but scenery was the last thing on my mind.
My heart pounded as I prepared to jump face-first off the tower. Standing on the ledge, arms outstretched, knees wobbling, eyes closed, I was given my five-second countdown. “You ready?” the guide yelled through the howling wind. “In five, four, three, two, one ... ”
My mind snapped into autopilot and I let myself fall forward.
I expected a wicked, gut-wrenching free-fall, but the cords pulled back and I was gently dangled above the 58th floor. Suspended in mid-air, I had a chance to enjoy the view. Then, at a controlled, but fast, pace, they dropped me. I felt like Superwoman, soaring high above the city.
Landing on my feet onto an inflatable landing pad, I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and relief. I overcame a major psychological barrier, and tricked my body into doing something it’s hard-wired not to do.
Still buzzing from the drop, I slipped out of my superhero uniform and promised my still trembling body never to leave the ground again.
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