A month in Thailand is a great reminder on how little we need to be content. I simple thatched hut with a spigot for running what...that's about it. There are few distractions from the endless adventures, great conversations and breathtaking beauty.
That said, after a stint there, there's nothing quite as amazing as a comfortable bed, air conditioning, different food and a hot shower. So I left the picturesque beaches of Thailand to a polar opposite environment...Kuala Lumpur.
I was ready for some city BASE jumping fun.
Jumping in KL is a bit different than the treacherous climbing assents and beach landings of Thailand. Jumping KL style: elevator ride to the top, some apps and a round while watching the sunset, then the quick way to the ground.
After a couple hours of monitoring the wind, it decided to rest just enough to let me fly. My friends finished their drinks and made their way to the exit to avoid getting busted by association. I handed our awesome waiter a hefty tip and headed to the bathroom to rig up. I slid in the narrow bathroom and pulled out my kneepads, parachute and helmet. While in the single stall bathroom donning my parachute, I get a knock on the door.
Are they on to me? Have I been busted before I even started?
Nope. Just a fat European tourist in a far too liberally-cut bathing suit holding his stomach with an urgent look on his face. I push past him. He barely gives the guy wearing a parachute and a helmet a second glance. He's solely focused on containing himself for the 4 seconds remaining to the toilet.
Ok. Pins Clear...Check. Pilot Chute Packed...Check. It's go time.
On first impression, I thought a restaurant comprised of entirely glass walls was beautiful and open, as I now walk through with a parachute strapped to my back, I feel a disdain for the designer and his forced voyeurism.
I walk past the guard station at the entrance to the restaurant. The guard is conveniently distracted by a two tourists signing their names illegible in his ledger. I push through the door and walk quickly down the staircase placing me squarely in the middle of the restaurant. From where I stand, I'm 100 feet away from the waist high railing, the only thing standing between me and my jumping exit. As I take my first few streps across the dining room, I start to get attention.
"Sir!" I hear behind me from across the restaurant. I'm committed. I speed up to a light jog.
"Sir! Sir! Sir! Sir!", the voice grows louder quickly as the guard comes toward me. I speed up and rush toward the railing, the last barrier restraining the sane and fearful from plummeting 37 stories to the ground below.
4 Japanese women sipping sweet rose and chatty loudly take notice of the commotion and fall quiet looking over toward me, curiously assessing what's happening.
"Sir! Sir!" the security guard continues, now at a yell. I hear him getting closer. 5 more step and I reach the railing. I pull myself over and walk on a narrow beam extending out from the building. I am now standing on a 2 foot protruding beam. I glimpse down only briefly at the 100 meter drop below. One of the Japanese woman screams as I take my first of three steps to reach the edge. 3..2..1...see ya.
The twinkling KL skyline peppered with skyscrapers immediately speeds up to a blur before my eyes, blazing past like the stars in hyperspace. I hear one last shout of 'Sir!' now growing quieter behind me as I begin to accelerate toward the ground and the wind rustles to replace it.
I throw my pilot chute and hold my breath. In 1 second, I'll know if experience and luck are on my side. I'll know if my decisions about the wind were accurate. I'll know if my student followed all my instructions perfectly when folding my parachute for his 3rd pack-job ever. I'll know if my push was good and I haven't pitched too far forward or back or I'd dropped a shoulder by just an inch or two to increasing my chances of my canopy turning into the building speeding by my feet on just behind me.
The canopy pops open. Great work on the pack, Josh! Perfect on-heading. Relief surges through my body. My skin tingles. The world comes rushing back into focus; more colorful and vibrant then I've remembered from just seconds ago.
I haul down on my toggles and steer myself to the landing. I let out a yell without even noticing and I'm met with resounding cheers from my friend below as they come running into my landing zone.
I touch down gently. I made it. The surge of delight only grows. I take exactly 1 second to celebrate, to relax and to enjoy the experience...time to avoid the Malaysian police. I fumble 4 times trying to open a simple pull-synch cord on my stash bag as my hands are shaking from adrenaline. Similar to how my 2 second free fall felt like 1-minute, this feeble attempt to stash my canopy under pressure plays carelessly with time and feels even more difficult than growing the will to jump from the building.
Parachute halfway in the bag, I begin running from the landing area, a semi-abandoned parking lot in full view of the building I'd been standing atop on 10 seconds prior. I jump over a sewage infested river and run up an embankment to awaiting friends.
I climb to the top of the embankment toward my group. Freedom is so close. Just over the railing and a stroll off into the crowd. Then I hear, "Leave it and run!" Travis yells as a cop flips on his lights and sirens on the adjacent road. I drop my parachute into a tree and turn barreling down the embankment I was just climbing up. In one leap, I'm over the sewage river and halfway through the parking lot, when I hear, "You're ok! You're ok!" in Alison's lovely french accent. The cop goes speeding by the group and pulls over an unsuspecting motorist. Never have I been so elated for someone else's misfortune. I stop, turn and give an exhale. High fives all around.
BASE jump KL style...
A snapchat from the jump:
A couple other KL photos: