My zip wire horror

Many people assume you need to be brave to be a journalist.

That is absolutely not true.

To be a journalist, you need to be a professional.

If you are put into a potentially scary or dangerous situation you do not think about how potentially scary or dangerous it is.

No. You think about the rollicking you will get if you don’t get the job done.

As a result, I have done many potentially scary, dangerous and slightly stupid things for my job, without a second thought.

In real life, I am an absolute chicken. I hate rollercoasters. I would never bungee jump. The thought of jumping out of a plane fills me with horror.

So when we decided to visit the lovely town of Mindo this weekend, which sits right on the edge of the rainforest, I will admit the words “zip” and “wire” were not the most enticing.

I assumed we would complete some sort of ropes course through the canopy and at the end there would be a zip wire which I could gracefully decline.


For those uniniated in the joys of unnecessary adrelanine, a zip wire is a 450m long wire suspended 100m above the rainforest. You are attached by a harness, you fling your legs out in front of you and you, er, enjoy.

I didn’t have a choice. We were on the first zip wire platform before I’d even realised what was happening. It turned out the entire course was 10 zip wires of varying lengths and speeds. Great.

I managed with all the grace of an extremely disgruntled person, but I managed and even I have to admit the view was incredible.

Still, I was pretty tense, mostly because you have to trust the guides to stop you at the end and I could not shake the feeling I was constantly about to smash into a tree.

At least six zip wires passed without incident.

But then it all started to go a bit wrong.

The guide on one zip wire was merrily bouncing around. I mean literally hanging from the wire. This meant that not only were you whizzing along, 100m above the floor of a rainforest, you were also bouncing around uncontrollably.


The others loved it – particularly Pippa and Alex, who are both adrenaline junkies and admirably scared of nothing.

“No bouncing,” I insisted firmly.

“Si, si,” replied the guide.

“Just normal,” I said again, trying to imply that I was a graceful and delicate person for whom bouncing uncontrollably was simply not an option.

“Okay,” he replied.

And he did get the message. The first half of the zip wire was entirely smooth.

Unfortunately there had been a communication breakdown with the er, gentleman on the other end of the wire.

Suddenly I was flung upwards, then downwards. The shock knocked the breath from my body.

“I said NO BOUNCING,” I tried to scream but it came out as: “I saaaaai, I saaaai… I SAAAAAAIIIIIII…AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.”

God, it was terrible. By the time I made it to the other end I was half laughing, half crying. A teeny bit furious.

But I was so deranged with joy at the fact I’d survived I failed to notice Pippa colluding with one of the guides.

Now, the others had quickly become bored of the ‘normal’ zip wire. Oh yes.

They were flying across upside down and ‘super chica’ – where you hook your legs around the guide’s waist behind you and zoom across with your arms outstretched out like superman.

We climbed through the rainforest to the next platform.

“Come on,” Pippa said firmly, grabbing my arm.

“The guy said it was okay for you do super chica with me.”

“What?” I spluttered.

“You can do super chica and I can be the guide,” she grinned.

“How cool is that?”

Distinctly uncool, actually. So far beyond cool, I think my heart just stopped and slid somewhere towards my shoes.

Annoyingly, it is almost impossible to convey the sheer level of mischief Pippa can carry in one expression.

Let’s just say I did the damned super chica. Legs behind me, around Pippa’s waist. No hands. The whole shebang.

If you want to know how it went, I guess you’re going to have to see the video. I can tell you there was screaming.


  1. Debs

    F’in Hilarious – I have this amazing image now! Please tell me you were wearing trousers – a skirt to do the supa chica in I just can’t imagine! Stretch….you reduce me to tears with almost every blog matey… th others know I call you stretch?? Anyway, video will be enjoyed.
    I never really saw you as a scary cat but maybe I was wrong – I love the whole out of control/in control thing but when I get momentum up on a zip wire the ‘guide’ at the other end better be a stocky chap at the very least otherwise he and I will continue to careen off into the trees for another mile or so!! Hope this makes you appreciate your lovely guides a but more!

  2. bananaskinflipflops

    You make me laugh, these guys were small but wiry, I think it would have been okay. They don’t know you call me Stretch, but somehow I think they’ve cracked that code!!
    The video is mostly just shrieking, hopefully I can upload today xx

  3. Debs

    heh heh – laughter is good! You know I speak from the experience of being the lady who slammed her groin into an ‘official’ at high speed – I’m not sure he got as much fun out of it as I did but to all bystanders it was apparently hillarious! Which brings me round to the Incident on the ‘fast water slide’ in Cornwall which I’ll share with you some time…..wipeout!!
    Stretch is a great nickname and it suits you so well.

  4. Alex

    As I am sat here in the Library avidly procrastinating around not doing my Lab report I cannot help but feel a strong surge of jealousy come over me as I read your blog and desperately miss Ecuador and South America. I really hope that you are having a great time, University just does not quite measure up to the joys of travel on that extraordinary continent. Some of my fondest memories are with you guys during our weekend in Mindo!!

    Mucho amor y mis mejores deseos,

    Alex X

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