Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb

Bridge Climb

There is a monumental bridge in Sydney, Australia, that spans the harbor.  While cruising under it one day we noticed these little “ant people” crawling over the upper girders.  This looked like something we should investigate!  We discovered that for a price we could climb up there also.

Being members of the lunatic fringe, my sister and brother-in-law, (Barbie and John), and I took a taxi to the bridge. 

Rancher Richie, not being a member of the lunatic fringe, decided he’d rather take a nap.

Oh, I am starting to get nervous just writing these words.  We entered the office and signed waivers that said we promised not to sue them if we should happen to fall off and manage, somehow, to live through it.  While waiting to don the required attire, (ugly gray jumpsuits), I looked at the wall of celebrities who have participated in this activity and lived.  Bruce Springsteen and the Olsen twins were pictured, but I didn’t get to notice others because I had to go put everything on my person into a locker because even something as small as a quarter could kill a person underneath, should the coin happen to escape out of one’s pocket.  If any of us needed to wear glasses, they had to be strapped on. Then we had to hook this belt contraption around our waists that included a thin little chain that was attached to a little ball.   This little ball was supposed to keep us attached to the bridge.

“There’s your boyfriend.” My ever-alert sister whispered in my ear.  We always play the “There’s Your Boyfriend” game.
He was a doozey!  He had several missing teeth and didn’t look too “with it” if you know what I mean.  His ugly gray jump suit was twisted around him so he looked like a two year old who had dressed himself for the first time.  I decided he should be my new best friend.

I couldn’t leave Barbie without a boyfriend, so I found her one.  He had a carpet of hair growing out of his ears.  I would have found John a girlfriend, but Barb and I were the only good candidates for that honor.

Then we took off to climb the bridge.

Our intuitive guide Jason positioned Barbie and I, (along with my boyfriend) in front of the line.  We got the feeling he always kept the Goonies close to him so he could watch out for them.  We were the Goonies.

We began our three-and-a-half-hour adventure.  When we were still on step one, I looked down.  We were already so high up that the people below looked like dollhouse people.  I felt as if I might barf, and I wondered if the little people underneath me would appreciate that.
Let me say here, that I am not afraid of heights.  I am just afraid of falling off high places, and I constantly picture of myself plummeting from them.  With that said you would understand why I spent the first one hundred steps with my eyes closed while humming a light little dirge.  Since I couldn’t see, I had to feel my way with each step, which took a little longer but I felt it was worth it. 

As I became a bit braver, I opened my eyes but I kept them looking upward, sort of like Bernadette Peters did when Steve Martin told her not to look at her plate because there were snails on it, in the movie, “The Jerk.”

I still had to feel my way with my feet, and test for solid iron works before adding my weight.  We were about a zillion feet high.

Our patient guide kept asking me if     I was all right, as if I were a 58 year old pregnant woman.  I began to get slightly more embarrassed than scared, so I decided to “watch where I was going” like my mother always said just after I stepped on a baby’s fingers or ran into an unsuspecting old lady.

Just as I was starting to get used to walking a mile up in the air on erector set walkways we came to several flights of, well, ladders, actually.  They were arranged like a staircase in a building except that when we went from one staircase (or ladder-case?) to another, there was nothing beneath us. 
Nothing.  But.  Air.
(And quite a bit if it.)

So, when we got to the top of one ladder, we had to hover out over Nothing and turn to get to the bottom of the next ladder.
Did I mention there was Nothing beneath us?

I was completely traumatized by this part, and just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, a commuter train rumbled across the bridge causing the ladders to shake like a seven-point-oh earthquake.  I could see post-traumatic stress syndrome in my future.
I remember poking my head up through a trap door in the floor of the bridge and seeing cars and trucks whizzing by, but that’s about all I recall until we were standing at the apex, looking down on the majestic Sydney Opera House.  The view was spectacular, and I was happily congratulating myself for finishing the adventure.   Ta-Da!  I was on top of the world!

Then I realized we had to get back down to the ground. 

And those ladders were still there.

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