Sunday, July 22, 2012

Clearly, I'm a danger to myself and others.

There are exactly four cannot, do not, or else get your ass sent home rules in Peace Corps Paraguay. I am proposing a fifth for the safety of myself and my fellow adrenaline junkie volunteers.

It's no secret I'm no huge fan of rules and restrictions. My Dad raised me right, teaching me its better to ask forgiveness than permission. However on this occasion I must admit that I was too stupid to do the right thing, and could have used a big brother guiding me.

Hot dog wrapped in empanada & Fried!
Campo 9 recently had it's Fiesta Patronal, or Patron Saint day. It was a fun filled day, with a church service in the morning followed by a procession where we walked behind a statue of Joseph for a couple blocks, and all topped off with a carnival. Julia and I had seen the carnival setting up for days. We were amped. We hoped for some carnival staples, greasy food, fun games, and good rides.

All of those things were present, but I would use a different adjective than "good" for the ride portion, unless you equate "good" with death defying.
 Introducing the Kamakazi:

This was the featured ride at our little carnival, and I just couldn't help myself. I had to go on it.

Julia and I purchased our tickets and hopped on the first row seats. We were the only people on the ride and were soon to find out why.

The ride is simple enough. The oil rig looking cage swings back and forth until gaining enough momentum to go all the way around in circles a few times. I frigging love rollercoasters, have gone up against the baddest of the bad at Six flags, and am always back for more. What could this junoir league carnival ride do me?

Oh how wrong I was.

Things started bad from the begining. We were lead into our seats, and had the safety shoulder straps lowered over us. Never mind that the attendent had to jiggle it a few times to get it to lock. Most upsetting was the fact that the shoulder resraint didn't restrain my shoulders. Then we started moving. With each change of direction the cage creaked and moaned, Julia and I laughing nervously.The further we went up, the more I noticed jerry-wrigged or straight up broken parts of the cage we were sitting in. Something was attached via wire. An outer cage bar was just not attached on one side. Then things got real.

We start going upside down.

Remember the shoulder restraints? The only thing keeping us in our seats. We would fall into them every time we went around, butts lifting from the seat and into a space I most certainly could have wiggled out of if I so desired. Julia and I were bracing ourselves using the bars of the cage that may have been attached using chewing gum and rubber cement.

Why are there so many extra seats for the Ferris wheel?
More and more it is occurring to me that this ride, was most likely made when Kamakazi was a culturally relevant and not super insensitive name for a ride in AMERICA. The thoughts start rushing through my brain. "How many countries have rejected this thing before it got to Paraguay?" "What sort of safety regulations did the US have during the 40's on anything let alone carnival rides?" "How old is the kid operating this thing anyways?"

We slow down and don't go all the way around. At this point it seems the ride is over. Wrong AGAIN. Now we go backwards. 

Cue a couple of atheists openly praying. Jesus, Buddah, Shiva, Yahweh, I shamelessly spammed the deities for help. The moans of the vintage metal growing louder, and the slight pause at the highest point of each revolution, made me certain that I was going to careen to earth taking out the people below. Maybe that's why they call it the Kamakazi?

Still shaking
Then the clouds parted and the ride slowed. Once at a stop Julia and I poured ourselves out of the cage as our legs had no more strength from bracing ourselves and fear. My hands were shaking and I looked up to find Julia in tears.

"That wasn't fun."

"Why did we do that?"

So while we survived, I call on Peace Corps Paraguay to add one more rule, because clearly I need someone to protect me from myself. No Carnival rides with menacing names from yesteryear. That shit is way more dangerous than my buddy's moped.

 I think some thing like this, is a little more appropriate.