Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Gift of Flight...

Rundown: Birds beware... Pete takes to the Air!

Location: Skies above Santiago de Chile!

You guessed it. Paragliding. There's no jumping off cliffs, the whole rig is flying before you leave the ground. After ample courses (in Spanish), many an hour of ground handling the wing, and short duration flights, you're strapped into a seat harness with raisers (lines) above.

Haul on the raisers and the wing inflates and climbs overhead. Balance the wing with the brakes.

Check the lines to make sure they're free of snags and the wing is flying well. Turn to see your launch path and perform the awkward loping run that speeds the wing and lifts you off the hillside.

Once away from the hillside, scootch into the harness and start looking for thermals, easing on the brakes and leaning into the turns.

"Peter! Siga donde el pajaro!" Go where the bird is flying, comes my instructor Marcelo over the radio, guiding me to the site of a thermal. How do you say no to that?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shilean Shinanigans...

Rundown: General foolishness around Santiago amidst brief bouts of teaching...

Location: Santiago, Chile

Took horses out around Lo Barnechea with the rest of the Nido newbies.

I had a great time, but I think I was breaking my horse's back. Yikes. I think I had some cowboy in my jeans... er... genes. Just need a couple of six-shooters.

Even managed to make some local friends despite my poor taste in head garb!

This little guy was following his mom in the herd of city-slicker-laiden horses moseying up the mountain. He was a pretty good sport once we sported him some apples!

On a separate note:

Participated in a fund raiser at school where the kids raised money and the winner got to do what they pleased with a pair of trimmers and their favorite teacher's head. I felt a little like batman for a week.

Shaved the do off right in time for the One Mic Stand, another fund raiser where the Nido staff fire up our best stage faces at a big barbecue.

...and the crowd goes wild... once I left the stage...