I’m still in Pakistan and have now been transferred to a city called Muzaffarabad in Kashmir province. The organization I work for is responsible for providing new winterized tents to all internally displaced people and refugees from the earthquake, which accounts for approximately 40.000 people… not an easy job. Have been working 24-7 the last week, living in harsh conditions, dirty cold house, little sleep, too much work… not even been able to do any yoga!
But last Friday I got a phone call from a paraglider friend of mine who was coming up with a French-Belgian couple traveling with tandem gliders and filming a documentary here in Pakistan. They were stoked to come to Kashmir and I escaped work by saying I was going for an interview with some journalists… not too far from the truth?! We drove straight up to the highest mountain here, some nine thousand plus feet, and just had time for a nice evening flight before it got too dark. And the plan was of course to let me drop from the glider. I had some trouble un-clipping the safety straps, and at one pint I was only attached with one strap around my thigh…I was picturing myself hanging with one leg attached not being able to detach… ha ha, but with some help I managed to open the last clip, and I was ready to go.
I dropped out of the seat, did a front flip and went on my back to wave at the pilot… niiiiiiice! Realized how much I have been missing the air… there’s nothing like accelerating in free fall and reaching terminal velocity. I was also jumping with my newly received Berghaus branded canopy and had to conclude that I was extremely happy with it after having tested it in the air. The funniest thing though was landing on a stadium packed with cricket playing children, they all went bananas and cheered and came running as I landed… what a laugh!
But after packing up the crowd was getting uncontrollable, a bit scary, as I had to wait for Chris, the tandem pilot. But we managed to make our way out of the crowd, and I jumped in a Rickshaw in order to make it back to the office on time. Little did I know that I had been busted big time… several of our staff had seen my canopy in the air and as there aren’t too many other jumpers around here I couldn’t really talk myself out of it… ;-)