Saturday, March 20, 2010
one foot in the gravy
Richard Weaver was correct. Ideas Have Consequences.
So do adventures.
I drove up to Puerto Vallarta on Wednesday afternoon to meet some friends arriving on a cruise ship. I had almost forgotten how deserted the road between Melaque and Puerto Vallarta can be on a normal day.
For good reason. Even though it is the only major north-south road in the area, it runs through sparsely-populated rural countryside. It reminds me of driving through eastern Oregon.
And I drove as I once drove in eastern Oregon. Speed has no limit. As it turned out, I may have been fortunate not to have my reflexes tested.
I had not been in Puerto Vallarta for a few months -- and the last trip, I was acting as a capital T Tourist.
My agenda was light. Stop at Costco. Eat a nice meal. Go ziplining.
I decided to put Costco off until Friday -- on my way out of town. But I was looking forward to that good meal on Thursday night.
I duded myself up in my Guy on the Town outfit and headed out to make a name for myself in my favorite Mexican resort city.
I even took my credit card along -- simply because I can use it in Puerto Vallarta. And I brought along my debit card -- because I needed to get pesos for gasoline on the return trip.
Having learned my lesson about putting all of my financial eggs in one basket (when I lost my wallet last July), I put the cards in a separate area from my wallet.
I crossed the street to Walmart to use my debit card -- only to discover it was not where I put it. Neither was the credit card. A quick retreat to the hotel room revealed they were not there, either.
You may recall the last time this happened, my debit card is my sole source of cash in Mexico. Without it, I am effectively as poor as the beggar woman in front of the grocery store.
But, I was not worried. I have some cash on hand -- probably enough to last until I get back to The States -- if nothing expensive happens.
That put my trips to the highlands in question. It would be a tight-run thing.
But I was in Puerto Vallarta for fun -- and I was going to have it. I may not be able to afford a fancy dinner, but I could have fun ziplining.
My friends arrived right on time to start our adventure the next morning. And we were on our way.
If you have not ziplined, imagine you are in a parachute harness attached to a pulley. The pulley is attached to a cable strung across a gulch, ravine, or stream. You then let gravity pull you across the scenery -- to alight like Peter Pan on the other side.
Some of the lines are very high and long -- where speeds of 30 or 40 miles per hour are possible.
We had a great day of yelling, screaming, and laughing in death's face. Maybe too much fun with that laughter.
On the longest line -- the second to last -- the guides made it very clear to keep the legs up as high as possible to our chests.
The reasons were obvious. Curled up like that, a zipliner can build up enough speed to rival a bullet train. Well, at least, an Amtrak train.
The other reason is safety. Putting your feet down on the platform at that speed is an invitation to a nickname like Hop-Along.
Well, just call me Hop-Along.
I came hurtling down that line, approaching the platform as if I were on a strafing run. I attempted to use the approved braking method. But it was obvious I was going to collide with the catcher guide. Of course, that is his job.
I instinctively lowered my right foot. Bad instinct. I still crashed into the guide. But it was apparent something was wrong.
My knee was facing forward. But my right fot was stuck out at one of those angles not found in nature.
I calmy (Really. This is not bravado.) informed the guide: "I broke my ankle." When he did not respond, I repeated myself. By then everyone else was trying to get me to lie down.
There are some other gruesome details you do not need to read. Satisfy it to say, I am writing this post from a hospital bed in Puerto Vallarta following a two-hour surgery to reconstruct my ankle.
And this is where the loss of the credit card adds another layer to this drama of woe. I am negotiating payment as I write.
So, here I sit in the hospital, my truck in the disco parking lot where we were picked up for ziplining, and no credit or debit card with me.
But there are always friends ready to shoulder part of the burden. One of the men from my church has volunteered to ride the bus to Puerto Vallarta and drive me back to Melaque in my truck -- assuming it is still where I left it.
My highland trips are off until the end of the year and I may head north a little earlier than I had planned.
It will all turn out well in the end. It always does.