Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Fourth One: I'm a luger, baby

“10,000 Orcs now stand between Frodo and Mount Doom. I've sent him to his death.”

As I said last time I am going to write about my trip on the gondola and the luge. Just down the road from where I am staying there is quite a big hill. Or as they say here in New Zealand, a mount. Up that mount some enterprising folks have put a number of poles and between each of those poles there is a wire. Hanging from that wire are a number of boxes with seats in. With the aid of a motor at each end of the wire, the boxes can move to the top of the hill and back down again. This is the gondola. I don’t know why it’s called a gondola. As far as I was previously aware a gondola is a type of boat that you can sit in with another person, while a man with a stick uses that stick to poke the water and propel you around Venice, Italy, or if he really wants to get his speed up, Birmingham, UK. For as we know, Birmingham has more canals than Venice. I’ll wager though that there is less danger of colliding with half a sunken shopping trolley in Venice.

The trip on the gondola was good if what you are interested in is excellent views of the city and surrounding lakes and countryside. This being the principle reason we had gone up on the gondola it is fair to say I thought it was good.

The trip on the gondola was also good if once you’d got to the top you wanted to take out a mortgage to buy some disappointing looking sandwiches. To say the food and drinks at the top were a bit expensive is an understatement in the same league as saying James Blunt is a bit annoying. (For the purposes of disambiguation, I think James Blunt is a lot annoying.) Luckily I’d looked into this and deciding that if I sold my liver just to buy a cheese roll I would regret it we took our own sandwiches.

In New Zealand they have decided to find great entertainment out of pretending you are going to die. Of course commercial bungee jumping was invented here by A.J. Hackett in 1986. Bungee jumping in general has been going a lot longer than this (bungee being a West Country dialect word for “anything thick and squat”. For example, Danny DeVito is bungee. In the context of NZ, bungee is slang for the elastic cord used.) New Zealand was just the first country to make money out of pretending you are going to die. Since then, other pretending you are going to die activities available in New Zealand are Zorb (rolling to your death in a plastic ball), waterfall rafting (plunging to your death while wet), skydiving (plunging to your death while dry) and driving on the New Zealand Roads (sitting in a car hoping you don’t die).

At the top of the gondola they have another of these activities, the swing. The swing in question is a spherical metal cage, which if you are willing to give up a good deal of your liver-money will be lifted to a great height and dropped so it swings out over the edge of the hill. It will then swing back towards the hill before succumbing to gravity and swinging back to the edge again. While this is happening you can try not to die and make a loud noise doing it. There is something strangely relaxing about having your lunch while the high- pitched tourists scream over your head. Sometimes you can imagine you are listening to a James Blunt album.
Here are some of the things that can happen to you if you think bungee jumping is a good idea.

Krott R, Mietz H, Krieglstein GK. Orbital emphysema as a complication of bungee jumping. Medical Science Sports Exercise 1997;29:850–2.

Vanderford L, Meyers M. Injuries and bungee jumping. Sports Medicine 1995;20:369–74

Filipe JA, Pinto AM, Rosas V, et al. Retinal complications after bungee jumping. Int Ophthalmol 1994–95;18:359–60

Jain BK, Talbot EM. Bungee jumping and intraocular haemorrhage. Br J Ophthalmol 1994;78:236–7.

Another activity you can do at the gondola is a luge. This involves sitting in a tray with wheels and rolling down a road down the side of the Mount. Unlike most New Zealand activities you get a say in whether you die or not as you can steer your tray. This is great fun, especially if you use the opportunity to pretend you are in Cool Runnings. If you don’t think this is fun then you can kiss my lucky egg!

A more relaxing but just as fun time was had when we went to stay in a bach at the beach last weekend. A bach is just a New Zealand term for a little wooden holiday home, and while the weather wasn’t really beach weather, a good time was had by all. Better in a way, as I didn’t end up covered in sand. We did however find the jaw bone of some animal at the beach. I couldn’t tell you what animal it was, except that it was probably definitely a new type of dinosaur that should be named after me and can I have loads of money for finding it thanks. No, of course I can’t, I didn’t even pick it up. Collecting shells is one thing, but coming back to the beach house with some animals mandible is generally frowned upon.

Meanwhile on the elective front, the data from my project so far looks like it is showing what it should be showing and the hospital continues to be friendly and unexploded. It has also helped me disprove one of my own theories. I always thought the perfect crime would be to fart next to a patient with an open colostomy bag. Ha ha ha. I was wrong. The perfect crime is to fart next to a patient with an open colostomy bag in a geothermal area where the air smells of sulphur. You will actually be thanked for improving the overall situation.

(Note to the Rotorua tourist board – I know it doesn’t smell that bad. Please don’t kill me or make me wake up with a kiwi’s head in my bed!)

1 comment:

  1. I like to luge. Didn't know it was called that. You can do it here too.

    Vicki x