This weekend I convinced Sara that she was going to go paragliding with me. We signed up for our trip, woke up SUPER early (as we do for all trips....which you probably have realized by now this is my least favorite part) and drove 4 hours to somewhere (mother I'll look it up cuz I know you're always curious)... Anmyeondo(안면도) island in Chungcheongnam-do. It was hot but fortunately it's cooling down a little. It was 88 yesterday, which with the humidity the "feels like" thing on the weather channel says 100 ish (this is much lower than the recent "feels like" 120). Anyways, it was a sunny day, there was a good breeze later on, and we got to fly in the sky! First they taught us what to do, which was really REALLY confusing when it was being translated. We were told something about running forward, the parachute coming over your head, letting go of some but not all of the chords you're holding on to, and then the different arm positions they would shout at you as you're flying. We all got really nervous because that was about the extent of our training. We practiced the motions of "arms up" "right arm should" (not shoulder, should) "right arm chess" (not chest) "hap dow" (which means half down) and "pull dow" (which means full down). That's the easy part. The hard part was when you were strapped in and everyone is shouting different directions at you. You have the two dudes who are helping you with your chute, the 3 people who are holding it up behind you helping it get in the air, and the dude on the walkie talkie who is directing you. It goes a little something like this:
Two dudes standing next to me: Ready?
Two dudes: One Two Three!
people behind me drop the parachute as a start moving forward (let it be noted that there's also another dude who lectures us after EVERY person saying "don't hop, don't walk, RUN when they count...so we all have it in our head to run downhill like awkward skwaking birds with our arms out and heads down but bent over and eyes up...you picture that)
Me: running... cuz that one angry guy told us to
Two dudes: Don't Run
Me: Stop running
Angry dude: RUN
Me: AHHH idk what to do
Two dudes: Let go of the cables let go of the cables let go of the cables run run run run run
Dude on walkie talkie: Hand up hands up!
mind you, all of this is within like 10 seconds, so pretty much imagine a bunch of people shouting different things at you and you just do all of them at the same time until your feet aren't touching the ground anymore
Once you're in the air, it's a breeze (pun intended). You are just floating there like a bird. SO awesome! And so pretty, and you're like whoa I'm gunna blow away and then the dude on the walkie talk is like "leptuh hand chess" and you're like oh whoa I'm not gunna blow away. It was really cool!
So that was the experience. I got to go twice. The second time was even better because you're not as stressed about all the commands, you pretty much understand the general idea and you just go with it. Also the second time the wind was stronger so I flew way higher and for way longer. Although the flight time was still only about...5ish minutes? I don't know, you lose track of time quite easily. I do wish it was longer that I was flying there but it was cool to be flying there at all!
Oh then there's the landing...That part wasn't too bad and I did a really good job the second time. You're coming closer to the ground and the walkie talkie dude is like "hapuh downuh" and so you put your hands about where your belly button is...but then he often gets angry so he's like "HAPUH DOWNUH HAPUH DOWNUHHHHHHH!" and you're like I AM! Then he's like "pull downuh pull downuh!" and then you are supposed to start like running until your parachute kinda falls...well there's two problems with that. One, there are really tall bushes you're landing in pretty much...not the easiest to run in and two, I kinda just forgot the running part last time. So what happened was I did the full down, and then I just landed face first in a cottony type bush and my chute kept flying kinda so it dragged me through the bush a bit. Oh well, I came out just fine. The second time, I was the first to go on this new location so the take off point had not been patted down by other people and parachutes yet, I said to the guy "running, hard, tall grass" he was like "haha its ok" uhhh. ok? And then the guy at the bottom in his SUV was trappling down all the weeds so I had somewhere to kind land. When I landed that time, I was able to kinda run and be successful as opposed to the first time.
Anyways, fun times were had by all. I got SUPER sun burned. I've been loading up with aloe all day. It seems to be helping. Here are some pictures of the crazy events.
This is the second time. They were getting me ready.
This is when the angry guy would be like RUN RUN and the two dues in front of me are like don't run, let go of these ones.
This is me being a parachute holder upper.
Getting out of the van that takes you back up to the top...they fit four people, and their bags and parachutes in that car. Not easy.
This is our instructor telling us what to do, kinda.
This is the part when he's like ok RUN
More pulling and running.
Getting strapped in
I believe I can fly! I believe I can touch the sky! I think about it every night and day spread my wings and fly away!