I'm beginning to love this "out-of-the-city" trips on Sundays. We've been to different tourist attractions already and we're taking advantage of the weather in Beijing now, coz I know we'd bore ourselves to death in the hotel room when winter comes.
Anyway, we heard about this place from our Filipino friends who are playing at the Westin Hotel in Financial Street. They've been to this Grand-Canyon like place outside Beijing and we got curious about it. It's not even in the Beijing tourist attractions list. After Googling and seeing some online photos, Marl and I decided to take an early trip last Sunday 100 kilometers from the city - to Shidu.
Before leaving the hotel, we asked the hotel staff to write all the necessary stuff in Chinese for us so we won't have a hard time explaining to the non-English speaking locals. We went to Tianciao bus station at 6AM. It's quite far from our hotel so we arrived there 30 minutes after and paid RMB48 for the taxi fare. Ouch. Next thing to do was to find the Bus No. 917 to Shidu. Wow, there were few bus stops of No.917 buses - going to different places! Luckily, there was a guy who overheard that we wanted to go to Shidu and so he ushered us to the right bus stop. There were few elderly locals waiting there when we got there and so we queued after them. Shortly after that, more people came as we waited for the bus to come. It was kinda funny to see all of us getting ready for the approaching 917 bus, only to be passed by, leaving us staring at the passing bus. :-)
Exactly 7AM, the right 917 bus to Shidu stopped and we all got on the bus. I handed a note to the lady conductor who was issuing the tickets. I had a note written in Chinese: Please tell us to get off the bus when we reach Shidu, thank you. She smiled and said, "Hao! Bu ke xi!" (Ok! Don't mention it!). There were lots of stops on the way but we didn't mind as we just tried to take short naps throughout almost the 3 hours journey.
THE SHIDU STOPS
Marl woke me up when we were approaching Shidu - which actually means "Ten Ferry Crossings". From afar, it looks so beautiful and everyone was just in awe of the view. But we need to pay attention to the "stops" in Shidu because the bus would be stopping 10 times - to mark the Shi-Du or Ten Ferry Crossings.
Our friend told us to go off at the last stop - which would be the "ShiDu" - but a lot of people got off the "Liew Du" or "Sixth Ferry/Crossing" (stop). Because there are remarkable views there and places to stay in. But we were told not go off until the last stop. So we waited patiently in the bus as it goes to the zigzag path.
AT THE NINTH/NINE FERRY CROSSING or JIU DU
I know we should be getting off at the "Tenth Ferry" stop, but when the bus stopped at "Jiu Du" or "Ninth Ferry/Crossing", I saw the bungy jumping site, the same view that we saw on the photos. And the Juma Recreation Park is pointed there. So we just got off the bus. There are lots of small shops selling different kinds of souvenirs, beverages and snacks. There were also restaurants around if you're hungry. I saw a nice sun hat which matched my outfit (I think) so I just bought it and off we walked to where the river is.
When we got there at the base of the mountain by the river, I was so amazed - not with the view - but with the people jumping off the Bungee Jumping platform. One after another, they'd jump off. And as more people jump off, I started having a different kind of excitement and feeling butterflies in my stomach. We sat in one of the restaurants facing the river, where we could see the Bungee Jumpers, the beautiful scene, the bamboo rafts and swan boats in the river - relaxing sight!
But just before noontime, we made our move so as not to waste any time. We went to the ticket counter and there, we had difficulty in choosing what kind of ticket we want. Everything is already in a package so what we got was the RMB 80 ticket - which has the round trip cable car, entrance to the JiMu Paradise (up the mountain) & the "bird ride". Since I wanted to try Bungee Jumping, I also bought the Bungee jumping ticket separately at RMB 205. Yes, I know it's kinda pricey since I've been researching on the net before we went there (it was said to be RMB 185), but I was kinda surprised to know that it's actually RMB 205. They were explaining something to us, maybe because it was weekend or something. But to cut the long story short, I paid for the ticket. Marl also wanted to do the Bungee Jump, but he's got a camera with him and bag so we only bought one Bungee Jumping ticket - for me.
There is no other way to go up there than riding a cable car. So if you have acrophobia (thanks to @gmac239 for the term!) or fear of heights, you might want to think about it. The cable car crosses you from the base of the mountain, over the river and up to the mountain. We enjoyed the view while we were on the cable car. There are two stops for cable car (yes, true!): first is where you get off for Bungee Jumping and Rope Flying - which I'd like to call the "stop for the brave ones" and second is the station before the cable car U-turns back to the base of the mountain.
When we got off the cable car and walked around. There were few recreational booths there. Like games and stuff. Now I understand why they call it Juma Recreation Park. We had to climb lots of steps to go to the peak where you can appreciate the view of the Grand-Canyon-like ShiDu. It was such a beautiful clear day but it was sure hot being nearer to the sun - at noontime! LOL
After reaching the peak, there was nowhere to go than go back down. Our ticket entitled us to have a "bird ride". So we took the stupid bird ride which would best be enjoyed by kids like my 10-year-old daughter, not by adults like us, who went to Shidu for some mind-blowing adventure - like Bungee Jumping. We surely didn't enjoy that but it was such a good laugh between us two.
MY BUNGY JUMPING EXPERIENCE (Video posted below)
When we rode the cable car back down, I couldn't relax because I had mixed feelings about the thing that I'd be doing next. I emptied my pockets, removed my jewelries and watch. Marl took my bagpack with him as I got off the "stop for the brave ones". LOL. As I watched Marl's cable car leave, I suddenly felt alone. It felt so strange that it felt like I was putting myself into something that I shouldn't be doing. It was kinda confusing.
When I reached the white booth where they have a small office inside, I was really uneasy. I kept on telling the receptionist to wait, saying "dengsha! dengsha!", coz I want to make sure that Marl was back in the base of the mountain coz he wanted to take a video of it. But the girl told me that I have to sign a waiver, need all my information, weight, etc. As I was reading what's written in the waiver, coming across words like "death, lifetime injury, etc", I really got nervous about this whole thing. But it was too late to back out. Besides, I already paid for it and I don't like wasting money! Hahaha!
So anyway, I was told to go to the platform where there were 4 men (staff) waiting. I thought it'd be fun with people waiting up to jump - just like when we first got there. But I was the only one - the only brave one - at that moment. It's a solo performance for me and I felt the need to conquer my fear. But my knees started shaking when they put a wide Scotch tape around my feet, so my flip-flops won't get thrown off, and around my waist and hips so my clothes won't flip over together with the Braver Certificate. They actually do the "taping on clothes" for female only. Then they attached the thing in my ankles which looked and felt more like ankle weights. I kinda panicked when I learned that it's the only thing they're attaching in my body. I thought there'd be a harness that I'd be wearing around my waist & hips - but there was none of that.
The emcee started announcing on the microphone about me, a girl from the Philippines, who's brave enough to jump, which can be heard by basically everyone in the mountain. I saw people down the base of the mountain flock around where Marl was standing. I saw the bamboo rafts stopped in the river. The staff were so insensitive, or maybe I just wanted some loving affection or words of encouragement at that time - even if I can't understand Chinese. LOL. But they were like, "time is running", "jump now", "you're wasting our time". I don't know. LOL.
As I stood up, I said to myself, "OMG, what are you effin' thinking, Sarita?". For a second there, as I was already standing on the edge of the platform, I could almost hear my brain telling me, "This is it! You can do it, Sarita!" and I could almost feel my heart getting off my chest. The emcee said "Okay!", and I said "Dengsha! Dengsha!" coz I wanted to take a moment. But I just told myself, "Okay, let's get this over with". I spread my arms while a staff pushed me slightly.
OHHHHH MYYYYYYY FUCKINNNNNNN GAAAAAAWDDDD! I closed my eyes and the next thing I saw was the blue skies. I thought I was already dead and I was already in heaven - but I found out that I was swinging like a pendulum - a vigorous one. I couldn't even scream, nothing was coming out of my throat. My legs were shaking of fear, especially my knees. I didn't move to relax everything, but on the video, I looked like I passed out! LOL. The real reason of that was I was just relaxing and enjoying being hung upside down. I couldn't wait to be put down. The guy on the boat put a plastic pipe on the air so I could hold on to it and stop swinging. When I got up after he removed the gear from my ankles, I waved at the crowd right away! Hahaha! I had to do that, coz most of them were holding out their cameras - maybe I was on video. Hahaha! After the jump, I couldn't wait to get on the bus because I was feeling dizzy and light-headed. Maybe coz of the blood rush in my head and from turning round and round while I was hanging upside down.
I surely didn't enjoy the jump at all. It was a mix feeling of excitement, confusion, fear and panic. Not a good mix at all. But at least, I was able to conquer my fear and I was able to try the thing that I've been longing to try for the longest time. Yayyy for that! :-) Now I don't know if I would want to try it again. Now I'm thinking if I should remove "skydiving" from the list of the things I'd like to try in this lifetime. LOL.