So dad and I decided to go paragliding.
Prelude: Last night we invited our Nepali friends, Raj and Devendra, to dinner. Dad really wanted to try some fish from the lake before he took off to the jungle so we set off for Moondance. Moondance is a Canadian and Nepali owned business and as such offers a large variety of food and a hipster bartender. The food and the company was amazing — topped only by the chance seating of our trekking friends, Patrick, Mario and Dilip. Seriously, they were seated at the table next to us. This was great not only because we like them, but because we got to hear about the rest of the trek to High Camp, which we abandoned largely due to snow. Apparently the snow became much deeper past High Camp, and they turned around as well. Also, lucky for the 77-year-old trekker stuck at High Camp, he now had foot prints in the snow to follow down the mountain. He had waited six days for this.
We finished dinner and headed to the Busy Bee for some drinks. Patrick joined us for one last drink in Pokhara before heading to Kathmandu and then home to China.
Back to paragliding: Earlier in the evening, Raj made a call to a paragliding friend and set up Dad and me for the early-morning jeep ride to Sarang Kot so that dad could go before his microbus to the jungle. We met the jeep and signed our life away as one does before running off a cliff strapped to a Nepali man and a kite. As we waited to depart we glanced down to see not only the dusty floor but the mangled remains of a small gecko dismembered under Dad’s shoe.
Although we had been invited to ride inside the jeep on the way to the insurance-form-signing office, immediately following that penstroke we were ushered into the uncovered back of the jeep to hold on for dear life until we reached the paragliding launch roughly 1000 meters above Pokhara.
Although there was some concern about Dad’s 6ft-2in, 200-lb frame getting a good paragliding ride, he was quickly strapped to a pilot and in the queue to take off. (You’ll have to ask Dad how he felt at this time, but he looked calm and ready.) Minutes later I watched my father run off the side of a hill and lift gracefully into the air above me. I worried for a moment…but only about what Mom was going to yell at us. I was pretty sure at the time, and know now, that dad had neglected to mention this flight in his last conversation with Mom. The Instagram photos went out…and we now have nine days to wonder what our punishment will be for this small omission.
Next it was my turn, and Krishna told me to run. Against regular logic I ran towards a cliff, and two steps later I was circling Strang Kot amongst thirty or so others paragliding our way to the beach of Fewa Lake. It feels like the most gentle weightless ride — very relaxing and a beautiful view, until a gust of wind takes your parachute for a ride.
Krishna assured me that we were safe and all I needed to do was make beautiful pictures with my camera. I stiffly aimed the camera at the mountains as we floated to our landing about 25 minutes later.
Sorry mom. 🙂