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Friday, September 24, 2004

 

Well, I lived...

Oh, did I ever. I´m so glad I did this.

Launching a hang-glider is similar to walking the plank, only faster. You run at high speeds down a very short ramp ending in a thousand-foot vertical drop, which is easily one of the most terrifying things I have ever done. The worst thing is, of course, not knowing. When I dive I know whether, eg, the cylinder has oxygen in it, because I have checked it myself. I know jack about gliders. The thing could have been a death trap for all I knew. And of course there is the usual unhelpful internal dialog, along the lines of i´m gonna crash, i´m gonna die...

Luckily, the process of launching the glider is extremely quick. There are perhaps three seconds of utter frigid dread and then you are off the ramp and in mid-air and the updraught hits you... Feels good. Feels better than good.

The view is more or less the view you get from a high mountain, except that you are actually looking straight down on the houses, cars and beach, which is pretty cool. And you literally feel the wind in your hair.

(The pilot pointed out a car wreck to me. "Dangerous activity, driving" I said).

Interestingly, at no time during the flight itself did I feel the slightest fear, not even when my feet were released from their straps so we could land. (Although this was uncomfortable, since it meant the strap around my waist had to support all my weight). The landing was almost effortless.

Yes, what with hang-gliding and my night at Lapa, this must be the most fun I´ve had in.... too long.

Don´t know if I´ll be able to blog until I get back to London, since the weekend will be pretty full.

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