Monday, November 19, 2007

Flying High

Every year at this time there is a recurring issue for smaller companies. What to do for the end of the year party? Of course we can't call it a Christmas party since we have numerous faiths or lack thereof in the company but I don't think that this is really fooling anyone. It is after all, the end of the Christian year. We've done the restaurant and the braai type thing so we decided to step outside the box so to say and take everyone on a "Canopy Tour" which is becoming quite popular here.

Of course we didn't tell anyone but subtly dropped hints that had everyone second guessing that we were doing a collective bungee jump which had certain sections of the employees in a flap. We are talking about programmers here after all - and don't even mention the Sales and Marketing.

A canopy tour, in case you haven't guessed, is a series of flying foxes or foofy slides, depending on where in the world you come from, that weave their way either through the tops of a forest or in our case zig-zag down a gorge. The slides vary from about 30m to 150m and some of them are pretty quick so you get issued with a leather glove with which you can slow yourself down. Sort of. Alternatively you can just shove a finger into the trolley that runs over the cable - that also stops you pretty quickly. Painful but definitely effective.

At the start of the tour everyone was hanging grimly onto the trolley petrified that the harness was going to break but by the end most of us had got over that and were having a great time looking around as we whizzed over the tree tops.

This is quintin showing how the sales and marketing department does it - with a degree of style and a smile. Note the right hand on the cable acting as a brake.

The whole exercise is totally safe, there are two cables and three attachment points between your harness and the cables preventing gravity from winning the day, any one of which would be more than safe enough. The only real danger of hurting oneself is to not apply any braking and making, as the guides put it, a bushman painting on the rocks at the end of the slide. Even this danger was greatly diminished because they have rigged up emergency stops to prevent one from moving onto the next world. So I think it is safe to say that the only real way to injure one's self is to jam a finger into the pulley as a couple of people found out.

I tried to take photographs of everyone as they skimmed over the tree tops but was only marginally successful. The video taken by the guides was a much better plan but it did enable me to have and excuse to go first on most of the slides. What was really great was the response to the event the day after, we got the feeling that everyone really did enjoy the day out and for some, it was an experience of a lifetime and everyone received a DVD of the day so that they could remember it forever.

Oh, well back to boerewors and rolls next year.

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