What the heck was I thinking? Are you sure this is a good idea?
That's the G-rated version of a couple phrases you're probably uttering as you're strapped into your seat for a ride on VooDoo Zip Line. Now look at the ground 490 feet below (if you dare). There's a strong likelihood your life just flashed before your eyes.
VooDoo Zip Line is located on the 51st story of Rio's Masquerade tower, also home to VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub. Reminiscent of a ski lift for two -- sans snow and skiing -- the open-air ride zips you and a friend (or stranger) at speeds up to 35 miles per hour to the Rio's Ipanema tower, and back.
The speed limit of residential neighborhoods and other sleepy stretches of road, 35 mph might not sound very fast. But take our word for it. When your feet are dangling in mid-air high above the cold, hard pavement with only a lap belt to protect you from the laws of inertia, you'll praise 35 mph (and wish you had paid better attention in physics class).
The ride experience begins with check-in at the VooDoo Zip Line store on the second level of the Masquerade tower. From there, you head upstairs in an elevator to VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub. Enjoy the 360-degree view while you can. It won't be long before reality sets in and you just want to close your eyes and pretend you're back on the ground.
Now it's time to get in line and wait your turn to ride. If you have personal belongings and loose objects like sunglasses or backless shoes, you'll have an opportunity to store them in a personal locker (the guests frolicking in the Rio pool down below probably won't be too pleased to be pummeled with your flip flop).
When you're up, you head past a gate and onto the ride, where a ride operator straps you into the seat. Now let us stress the strap part. It's one strap. A simple lap belt. That mere belt is the only visible safety device keeping you from plunging into a nearly 500-foot free-fall. But don't worry. You're strapped in tightly -- the one time you're thankful for your muffin top.
These next few moments are the scariest. Downright terrifying, really. As you sit with your back to the Strip, you can barely stand the anticipa ... and suddenly you're off, zipping forward through the air, and then back again to the starting point.
Perhaps your fear melts into excitement and your frown transforms into a smile. Perhaps you scream at the top of your lungs for the entire one-third of a mile ride.
Whatever the case, don't be embarrassed if you find yourself kissing the ground upon return. You won't be the first person to do it. You certainly won't be the last.