Although I have always been a fan of drunken daredevil stunts, and refuse to discontinue being an adrenaline junky, I think I will listen to a recent lesson from the universe and shelve the drunken part. As follows is my personal account of the events of pre-sunrise January 1st, 2014...
I was invited by my most favorite of eccentric friends to an extravagent new years party at a house in Conchas Chinas, Puerto Vallarta. I knew it would be an adventure, but had no idea what was in store. We parked Carlito outside and entered perhaps the most beautiful house I had ever seen, situated on the side of the mountain with an open concept and plenty of jungle.
The party was fantastic and the tequila was flowing when I noticed a large tree on the far side of the pool, which was the perfect vantage point for taking a birds eye photo of events. Without thinking twice, I scaled the tree and although the flash wasn't strong enough to get a good pic, the tree itself was amazing and so I stayed up there a while, climbing from branch to branch. I came down, but after a while the serene branches reaching into the darkness called me and once again I returned to the tree.
This time, when I stepped across an abyss between branches on my way down, the unthinkable happened...my foot slipped on the wet bark of the opposite limb. I grabbed at a small branch to save myself but it broke, and I tumbled backwards into the darkness. All I remember is seeing the the leafy branches speeding out of my reach as I fell through thin air...
I woke up in a very comfortable bed, surrounded by very concerned faces. The girlfriend of the guy whose party it was told me that the paramedics were on their way, and before I knew it they were standing over me, asking me questions and feeling for broken bones. I put on a brave face and protested that I was fine. I must have been very convincing (or they had a new years party of their own to get back to) because after a minute or two they left. I lurched out of the bedroom and back to the party. I could see that a tendon on my wrist looked grossly puffed out, but I had been having such a good time, I wasn't going to let anything ruin it. Apparently, possibly grave injuries were quite inconvenient and not to be regarded in my current state of mind.
After an hour or more, all remnants of adrenaline had worn off along with the shock. I was finding myself unable to forget about the fact that my hand wouldn't work, and every breath felt like a knife to my ribs. My hip felt like it had been kicked by the angriest of donkeys. Feeling quite sober at that point, I quietly excused myself and left the party. The sky was gray with the light of a new day, and when I limped into an Oxxo to buy cigarettes on my way home, the lady at the counter looked at me with thinly concealed horror. Wow, I must look really bad, I thought foggily. It wasn't until I was home that the reality of my situation really dawned on me, the reality that I had never been hurt this bad in my life.
I found out two days later what happened, that I had fallen 6 metres and landed in the jungle below and just beside the concrete slab where the pool and back patio were. I was very lucky not to have hit the edge of that slab. A friend from Vallarta had run down and carried me into the upstairs bedroom, probably with my rear end hanging out for all to see. I definitely bruised and possibly fractured a couple ribs, pulled muscles in my back, shoulder and chest, pulverized the flesh on my hip, bruised and strained tendons in my left wrist, and knocked myself out cold for quite some time.
Sitting here now, 9 days into my recovery, I am both humbled by my injuries and impressed with my resilience. I have climbed trees for years, quite often after a few drinks, and never fallen let alone been injured so severely. It's been a great time and although I'll never quit climbing trees, I think I will think twice about the circumstances (tequila+fancy dress+wet forest=3 reasons to stay on the ground). I am also thankful to have drank so much milk as a child, and whatever other factors went into giving me bones that can take that kind of fall. Sure glad to be alive and kicking this 2014!