Monday, July 14, 2014

Zip It

It's summertime in the South and even though we complained about how ridiculously cold it was all winter, now everywhere I go someone wants to talk about how ridiculously hot it is outside. Granted, if you factor in the humidity, it generally feels like it is 113 degrees outside at any given moment in the shade. However, no matter how hot it gets here in Charlotte, I take chilly solace by remembering one of the most sweltering experiences I have ever had, which just happened to take place in very warm, very sunny Cabo San Lucas. And by warm I mean as hot as the blazing fires of hell after Satan has tossed a fresh log on to roast. Ah, Mexico memories.....

About four years ago, Clint and I decided to head to Mexico for a much-needed vacation. It was the first real vacation (instead of just a long weekend in Hilton Head or Charleston) for the two of us since we our honeymoon, way back in December 2001. Hey, every day with me feels like a honeymoon, plus our budget was tight, so it had been awhile. We giddily booked our getaway, packed our bags, and were off to Cabo.

Our idea of an ideal vacation involves sand, sun, cocktails, good food, and a gossip magazine or ten. The most exercise that typically occurs is arranging our lounge chairs to an optimum location for working on our tans. So I'm not really sure why we decided that we wanted to zip line. When one looks at me with my big hair, lip gloss, over-sized earrings, and almost always bedazzled clothes, I would guess that zip lining is not their first suggestion of pastimes. And yet, the activities guy at our hotel had no problem taking our credit card and booking our little excursion for us. I'm fun, I'm spontaneous, I'm adventurous. Okay, only one of those is actually true, and even the fun goes out the window when I am faced with the great outdoors in any really involved kind of way.

I get the distinct feeling that their experience was different from mine.
But the Real Housewives of practically everywhere zip line. I have seen them do in many times, in various cutesy outfits and sporty hairstyles. In the Housewives version, they very effortlessly climb to the top of a platform and proceed to zip line their way through a beautiful canopy of lush, tropical scenery while having what looks to be a fabulous time. I'm surprised they aren't drinking wine as they go along, for all the exertion required on their part. Sadly--and shockingly, in my case--that is not the way it really happens, at least in Los Cabos, anyway.

A grimy white van that looked like it might offer children free candy and puppies came to our hotel early the morning of to pick us up. This should have been my first warning, but it was early and already sweltering, so I suppose I wasn't thinking clearly. I had specially purchased a fuchsia V-neck t-shirt that matched my running shoes, so I was sensibly dressed for what was probably the second time in my life. We loaded into our sweet ride and bumped off down the road for about forty-five minutes to the dust, zip line headquarters. Basically, we were dropped off in a mini Mexican Grand Canyon and told to go get helmeted and harnessed up. I grew up in Georgia and am quite familiar with red clay and rocks, so this was not exactly the spectacular views I had anticipated. Let the good times roll, right? Deep breath.

We signed a stack of waivers roughly the size of Tolstoy novel, all of which saying we thought that voluntarily putting our lives in the hands of equipment that looked like it came from the Anderson, South Carolina jockey lot was a keen idea (in case you are not familiar with the jockey lot, let me just say that if you get there early enough on a Saturday, you can get yourself some designer impostor goods, a puppy, a case of broken crackers, and some bootleg DVDs, all for pocket change). Against my better judgment, I squished my bouncy ponytail up under that utilitarian helmet and even forced a fake laugh when I stepped into my harness. For someone who spends a large amount of time avoiding visible panty lines, this felt completely and totally wrong. In the spirit of adventure, we waddled our way over to our group and sat on wooden benches while our guide gave us some instructions in what could optimistically be described as broken English. You can't help but feel good about a tutorial that involves such detailed information as, "Ju see? Jesss?" and "Do like theeees." I'm glad we got that covered, senor.

It's at this point in our debacle that I notice there are lines running all across this canyon. I hear our instructor (and I am using that term extremely loosely) say something about there being 15 zip lines. Come again? That's great. I'll take um, two? He explains that we will go down one zip line, then proceed to hike our way in and around this crater-turned-tourist-attraction to all the rest of them. It now appears that what we have actually signed up for is an obstacle course that also includes an occasional zip line. I inquire if it is possible to only enjoy a portion of this setup, rather than the entire smorgasbord of fun, and am informed that once you are out on the course, there is no way back but to forge ahead and finish it in its entirety.

I want to paint a complete picture for you. Did I mention that the temperature now feels like we have gone hot-tubbing in Hades? I look down at my brand new shirt, which is now splotched with perspiration. I didn't see anyone drenched in sweat in the pictures in the brochures, only smiley, happy gringos who did not appear to have hiked a gorge and zip lined more times than you can count on both hands. Oh, and then I feel it. My upper lip has now fully broken out in beads of sweat. That is my cue. I do not do the sweatstache. No es bueno.

I remove my very fetching helmet and begin to shimmy out of my harness, which manages to succeed in pulling my shorts halfway off and causing me to trip precariously over my own two feet. This is all the adventure that this girl needs for the day. My next exploit is going to be bumping in that abduction van all the way back to the resort and getting out to the pool in record time to try and make up for this waste of precious vaycay. I could have been drinking margaritas, for Pedro's sake. The zip line gurus seem utterly confused by my lack of enthusiasm, but my hubby knows that this little venture is dead on arrival. He shakes his head, takes off his gear, and boards the shuttle with me. He then spends the trip back to the hotel assuring me that this outing was exactly what he thought it would be, and that he was completely up for it until I reneged on the deal. Insert sweaty, bewildered eye roll from me here. This, coming from the man who, as a boy, used a broken TV antennae to "poke" the channel buttons on the television set in his room, because there was no remote control and he didn't want to walk two feet to change stations? Your mouth is writing adventure-seeking checks that your body can't cash, buddy.

Lesson learned. We are now very careful about what sort of exhilarating experiences we decide to sign up for, and are sticking to things more our speed, like all-you-can-eat buffets and manager's special happy hours. We are headed to the Bahamas this week with my parents, and my mother is already talking about filling our days with things like Segway tours and dolphin encounters. That sounds fine by me, but as soon as someone mentions anything that involves helmets or harnesses, obstacle courses or hiking craters, I am going to tell them what I wish someone had told me: zip it.

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