What would you do if a man threatened to put your children on the roof of a jeep and then perform dangerous vehicular acrobatics like trying to flip the car over?
I'll tell you what I did. I said yes, paid him a large amount of money, AND my wife gave him a tip afterwards.
No, it's not bad parenting. It's a concept called adventure holidays, also known as assisted suicide.
The horror began a day earlier when my wife handed me a brochure of a jeep-trekking day tour while we were in Thailand.
Now MY idea of a wild vacation is trying out an incremental adjustment to my favored reclining position on the sofa, but I responded as a married man should to all spousal utterances: nodding like a pecking bird desk ornament.
The next day, a jeep-like pick-up truck picked us up. Tour guides sat in air-conditioned comfort in the driver's cabin, while we paying guests balanced on benches in the back of the truck or clung to the cabin roof.
The driver drove like he was half mad, until we met up with rival drivers - and then he drove as if he was completely mad. The jeeps bounced over off-road mountain trails, while passengers screamed and held on for dear life.
At the end of the day, the adults had that glazed look of people who have survived World War I or a Transformers movie, while the kids were jumping up and down, saying, Again! Again!
A fellow survivor of this expensive torment was from Chile, home of the world's scariest entertainment, a bungee jump into the mouth of a live volcano. The brochure, and I am not making this up, says: FAQ. Q: Will I die? A: Yes. You could. You'll be signing a waiver though, so we're cool. Well, that's all right then.
After I got home, I read in the paper that Action Park (nicknamed Class Action Park) will soon reopen. This is a famous theme park in the US state of New Jersey that was closed down in 1996 because so many people were killed or injured. What's going on? In my day, being maimed or killed was considered a bad thing. Now we buy tickets and queue up!
Note to self: Never use the words rational and humanity in the same sentence again.
Maybe I should switch sides. A reader sent me a recent news report about an attempted suicide in Qingdao, China. A man climbed out of a window and balanced on a ledge, five stories up. When he tried to throw himself off, firefighters at ground level blasted him with a water cannon, which carried him upwards and back through the window out of which he had climbed.
I hid the report from my children, knowing they would copy it. I'll jump out of the apartment window and you blast me back in with the gardener's hose, it'll probably work.
Mind you, if they did try it, and it did work, I could market it as a new adventure holiday concept. Jump out of my apartment window! Only a few hundred dollars! Must sign waiver!
I might earn enough to go on another adventure holiday. O joy and bliss.
(10.07.2014 - Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas and comments via www.mrjam.org)
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