Posts Tagged ‘Darwin Awards’

May just be best to drive with your eyes closed here.

When I first glanced at these pictures of a certain road in Bolivia, my thoughts went immediately to the spectacular beauty and awesome scenery.

My seconds thoughts were wondering why my stomach was starting to do the tighten up.

It does not matter if you lead a fairly sedate life, where a bustling crowd at Starbucks launches you into a tizzy or if you are an über extreme adventure enthusiast, where you seemingly risk life and limb in every recreational pursuit you undertake.

We all seem to have some type of built-in Scare-O-meter, wherein we get that feeling when we begin to test the limits of our personal risk aversion.

I would think anyone lacking this human adaptation is probably already a winner of the Darwin Awards, or a candidate for inclusion in this club.

One of the most obvious manifestations of this phenomenon is at a lake lined with rocks suitable for jumping off at various heights above the water.

Inevitably, you will notice that some people will, without hesitation, climb to the highest possible jump-off spot and immediately leap off.

Others will find either their comfort level of height OR some higher level that they have been peer-pressured into attaining.

Our personal Scare-O-meter is certainly re-calibrated based on our age, perceived life responsibilities and how many beers we have consumed.

And for me, mine is probably observable in unintended emissions in my britches. TMI, I know.

Ironically, it is my impression that people who seem to have extraordinarily high levels of tolerance for defying death may, in some circumstances, be less at risk–until they do in fact kill themselves–than people who, for whatever reason, go beyond their comfort level (such as a perceived necessity to prove their Manhood…or…just too many beers).

The reason is probably not rocket science: kind of like hesitating when crossing a busy intersection.

Either go or don’t go.

Back to our road trip pictures, when you read the text that accompanied the photos:

If you are ever traveling through Boliva and want a bit more adventure for your tourist dollar hop on a local bus and tour Yungas Road.  The road is also known as El Camino de la Muerte or the Road of Death, and is responsible for the death of between 200-300 people each year.  the 60 some odd kilometer road was named the world’s most dangerous in 1995.

You realize that for some people, it’s not a guidebook they need for their full-throttle activities…it’s a Last Will and Testament.

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How long has it been since there has been such a proliferation in adventure travel of a nature that death or debilitating personal injury is better than a 50-50 proposition?

And please tell me exactly what is the tremendous attraction to these activities.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’ll take an adrenaline fix with as much a rush as the next guy – or gal, but under most circumstances I would like at least a fair shake at being able to repeat the innervation again some other day.

What brought this thought to mind was a tiny news item buried back in my local newspaper yesterday that basically gave the following facts:

1. Guy, who happens to be named Markus, pays for a Scuba diving trip to see sharks.Shark doing what sharks do.

2. Guy’s choice of commercial diving company – Scuba Adventures – chums the water with bloody fish parts to attract said sharks.

3. Guy is in the water waiting for said sharks: no shark cage.

4. Guy gets close up view as said sharks show up.

5. Guy is dead.

No really…this actually happened. Read the story for  yourself.

Now, I’m not saying this guy is a shoe-in for a Darwin Award but…WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!?

Sharks have teeth – lots of teeth – and their function in the grand scheme of things is to kill some form of meat – mammal, fish, and yes, ocasionally a surfer or diver.

You certainly cannot blame the shark for doing what they do best…survive.

I could provide a litany of many other instances of so-called adventure, or extreme, travel where I personally would question the cost-benefit ratio of the thrill of the activity vs. the likely – and sometimes very bad – outcome.

I am a firm believer that if you want to go out in a blaze of glory, have at it.  Just don’t create any collateral damage, whether they be friends or first responders trying to put out your fire.

In the case of Markus, I strongly suspect that he did not plan to make this his last dive.

Ironically Markus was a lawyer; I would guess he has – or had – lawyer friends.

If I was Scuba Adventures I would probably get a lawyer myself. A really good lawyer.

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