"Just Spread Your Legs and Lay Back" in Mendoza, Argentina
So there I was: spread eagle, upside down, flying head first over a 300-meter gulch in the Andes Mountains. I was attached to the lap of Marco, a blonde, bronzed, Argentine zip-line instructor and my crotch was very unladylike-ly close to his face.
It did occur to me beforehand, when we were sitting spider-style and face to face that maaaybe this wasn’t a good idea. My stomach flipped a little as we hooked and latched the alarmingly small and rusty gadgets responsible for keeping me from plummeting to my death. But it wasn’t until he said “so you just spread your legs and lay back” that I literally choked on my own spit and started to question my decision-making abilities.
I also silently thanked God my Dad didn’t just hear that. He’d have died, and Argentine-Fabio would have too.
As we sat on the platform gearing up to push off, I gazed down at the dark river below and across the deep, rocky ravine. I was terrified. I’d be flying, “look mom no hands” style, across the entire thing with nothing my Marco’s arms and Argentine engineering to guide me safely to the other side. What the actual fuck was I thinking? Yes it’d make a great story, but those rocks would also make pretty convenient headstones.
Just as I was about to back out, the dark clouds that threatened to rain all day opened up and a beam of sunlight illuminated the entire ravine. Everything shimmered. The dark water exploded into a sea of neon blue and green and the red-brown earth only magnified its brilliance. Then, no joke, the sunbeam turned into the most vibrant rainbow I had ever seen. Now, I was speechless. It felt like I’d been thrust into a hyper-color Garden of Eden. Maybe it was this surreal moment, or the fact I was spider-ing ‘another man’, but I suddenly felt a warm calm flow through my whole body and I was completely unafraid.
“If I’m gonna die, this is as great a place as any,” I thought. “This is why I travel…for this shit right here!”
I blew a kiss at Jeff over Marco’s shoulder, he kissed at me back, and we kicked off into the abyss. As the cool, clean wind blew through my hair, Marco gave me a nod and I knew it was time. I spread my legs like I’d never been taught manners, threw my body back, and screamed like a real lady. Here's how it went:
*Actually, the best part of this experience was seeing 6’3” Jeff do the exact same thing about a minute later. His reaction to being told to “spread your legs and lay back” was priceless.
Lesson: Use common sense, but don’t let fear (or manners) keep you from doing something amazing and fully experiencing the wild ride of travel. And... sometimes it’s OK to spread your legs and lay back (sorry Dad).