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23 Apr 2011

Abseiling @ Kangaroo Point

I had made the poor guy wait half an hour. Yet, when he saw me, he gave me a wide smile and cheerfully said, "You made it!". People who carry such positive energy enrich your life simply by being in it for a few minutes.

By the time Marcelo Paiva was done showing me the ropes to Abseiling, I was convinced there was no way I could do it. He insisted that I should try. I would rather have pushed him off the cliff and run from there. Of course, I did not do that. Instead, I obliged. I had nothing to lose by trying, only by not. 

When the knots were tied and harnesses tightened, I was roped in. Literally! I walked slowly backwards, just as he had shown me. Instead of screaming & grabbing him in terror, I experienced a moment of knowing. There is no better way to describe it. Standing there, on the edge of the cliff and trying to lean as far back as I could, I suddenly realized that I knew how to do this. I knew that I could do it. I leaned back, lifted my feet off the edge, one by one & placed them flat on the vertical face of the rock. Once the first steps were taken, there was no looking back. I found myself concentrating on the ropes and the rocks. It was just the rock and my foot, the ropes & my palms - the rest of the world did not exist. When I landed, I was greeted warmly by another excited instructor from Riverlife. He yelled out to Marcelo and said, 'Hey, she has done it!

After I had done it once, I wanted to do it again. Of course, I had an hour and half in which to try as many times as I wanted. I tried looking down at one time and almost lost a foothold. My heart skipped a beat. The third time I tried a slightly different route. I tried a smoother, plainer surface of the rocks, knowing that it was not so much the foothold that mattered as it was my feet walking down the rocks as I lowered down by the rope. That was supposed to be my last attempt but I could not stop myself from going for a fourth. This time, I tried the new route and I looked down. No fear. I had conquered it. Atleast, as long as there was my own rope and a belay to support me. It felt great.

One of the best things I like about going alone anywhere is the new friends I get to make. The interesting people & conversations. The enriching experience. Marcelo told me about Capoeira - a Brazilian martial arts form - and I told him about Krav maga - the Israeli martial arts form. He is one of the instructors for capoeira. Who knows? I might end up there one day, to learn the Brazilian style too. And there's music to it, a bit of dance. I'm almost hooked.

I met a lady whose son loves Terry Pratchett and she was so excited to tell me about seeing him walk down the road during one of her overseas trips. Met a few people interested in my experience of abseiling itself. Then a few who wanted to know about rock-climbing and Riverlife. Without realizing it, I had ended up being an ad campaign for Riverlife and their abseiling, in those couple of hours. 

I found out that Kangaroo Point was a paradise for runners. There's a flight of narrow stairs, starting at the bottom of the cliff, right up to the top. I met 2 men who walk/run up & down - they try to cover over 200 steps each time. There is also a lovely park that I missed the opportunity to explore, given that daylight was rapidly diminishing. Not to mention the lovely restaurant atop the cliff with a fabulous view of the river, the Brisbane skyline and the activities at the cliff. 

Riverlife also does kayaking, night paddling, etc. If I don't go back there for rock-climbing, there are other things in store for me. If nothing else, Kangaroo Point itself has a fair bit I am yet to explore. Just when I thought I was running out of activities in Brisbane, a new part of the city presents itself. A lovely suburb. 

Incidentally, the CityCat ferries are back in service, post the floods. I did about 2 CityCat rides and 4 CityFerry trips across the river today. As if to make up for all the days that I missed? Was not intentional but hey, it happened. The new Groove Train at Eagle Street Pier is strategically located, right at the Riverside Terminal for the CityCat. I had just enough time to gulp down a pint of Tooheys Xtra Dry before I rushed off to take the boat home. It was my first time in the night. Black water below me, dark clouds above and blackness everywhere - the silhouettes of the trees that look so green during the day, the office buildings on holidays... the occasional spot of bright light, in many colours, dazzled in the dark of the night. I closed my eyes and took a mental picture.

Yes, it has been a wonderful day. 

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