The only “travelling” I did was on the internet. It was just a matter of time before I met someone of interest that in a way made my heart flutter. Unfortunately, my love interest was way over the border of the neighboring country. Without any idea of what Thailand is like made me really apprehensive to haul ass and move. Nevertheless, love makes you do silly things and after a week in Bangkok we went to Chonburi. I was told that there is something I really must try here. Trusting that it was nothing too extreme like trying out insects for a snack, I thought “Why not” until I found out what it was. Too late to back out and already on our way, the one-hour ride was agony. My heart palpitated and my palms became sweaty. Wanting to back out my pride got the better of me, leaving me with a one-way ticket to meet my greatest fear. Coming to Thailand was a big reluctance but this was the top ten of things I would not do!
We were taking a flight and no, not from a plane but rather the very popular Flight of The Gibbon! Treetop canopy zip lining for more than 23 points on top of the highest trees in the National Park! My greatest fear …I am scared of heights! Our flight rangers greeted us at base camp, faces glowing with anticipation. I felt a lump in my throat. They strapped on our zip-lining harness and an introduction to safety. My throat tightened and all I could do was nod. With safety harness and helmet in hand, we took a group photo. I thought to myself “this the last picture of me!” We followed our guide for a 15-minute uphill hike, all the while plotting of an excuse to back out. My first attempt to abort - “My legs ache.” The guide - “It’s okay, we wait!” Darn….keep on walking. 2nd attempt - “This is too tiring.” Reply - “2 more minutes and we walk down hill,” happy smile on the guide’s face. All out of excuses and occasional glares from others tagging along, we reached the base of a very tall tree. I looked up, “we have to climb this?! No way, I am going back!” Only trouble was the only way back was to climb that tree and get back to base camp. Clipped to safety lines and sandwich between everyone else I had no choice. “Don’t Look down” I was told, yes easy for you to say I thought to myself. It was a 50-meter climb on a spiral staircase wrapped around the tree. Imagine the string of expressive on my lips all the way up to the “flight deck.”
“I’m going to fall and die” I said, that only drew a peal of laughter from everyone who was obviously enjoying my reluctance. “Just relax,” said the guide. “Relax?!?!” you must be kidding me! I am about to jump into nothingness and my life depending on a harness and a flimsy cable. My partner gleefully shouted back, “See you below!” Last in line and firmly coerced onto the zip-line and a small push launched me into the wild yonder, legs flailing and hands holding on tight to the support cable. Yelling my lungs out the 2-minute ride seemed like eternity with still 21 more stops to go! With no way down, I slumped to riding this entire ridiculous trip to the end. By the time I reached the 10th stop I have to admit it felt nice to be soaring over the treetops with the wind blowing in your face but keeping that scowl on my face was a matter of pride. It melted away by the last stop to base camp. I felt a twinge of regret that it had ended. Not wanting to hear “I told you so,” I masked my disappointment that it was over with a stoic face to steal a glance or two back up the tree. Catching the glance my partner asked cheekily, “Want another go?” it was just so tempting to say “Yes!”
G Cheong Mi-Wan