Yesterday was a national holiday here in Ecuador…Day of the Dead…where nobody went to school or went to work and instead lined up at the grocery stores to buy roses to lay on the graves of loved ones. Since we had no loved ones to deliver flowers to we decided to take Karen´s recommendation and head back to Crucita for a little paragliding. As always, we found Raul to be helpful and friendly and he took me, the Swedish girls Hanna and Clara, Eugenia (Bulgarian who lives in New York) and Wyatt up to the top of the cliff.
Yep, that´s me. Flying high above the village of Crucita and the Pacific Ocean. Cool picture huh? Luckily Eugenia has a great SLR camera with telephoto lens so she was able to get these close-up shots despite the fact that we were pretty far away. The little black smudge in the lower left-hand corner is one of the many sea birds that cruise around all over Crucita. As it turns out, paragliding is not at all scary. I didn´t even notice when we stepped off of the cliff as I was too busy trying to remember everything Raul told me to do. Once you´re in the air it is extremely relaxing…you sort of just float around up above the ground and the water.
Clearly I was just going for a ride but Raul and some of the other pilots offer 4 day classes on learning to paraglide. He says that on the second day of class you are able to fly by yourself and sure enough, we saw one guy successfully glide down to the beach on his second day of class. I also asked Raul if he´s ever had anyone completely freak out once they were up there and apparently a girl from California had an absolute meltdown and nearly crashed them. He also had one guy pass out into complete unconciousness which proved difficult for landing as the rider needs to be able to stand up at the right time. The big pack on the back of Raul is not counterbalance weight as I first thought but is a reserve parachute and other safety equipment in case the glider fails. Raul says that, thankfully, he´s never had to deploy the parachute…and they´ve never had an accident at Crucita. After all of us had taken our turns it was off to one of the many seafood restaurants along the beach where I had, quite possibly, the best thing I´ve eaten since arriving here in Ecuador…here´s a picture for the foodies in the crowd. Yummy butterfly prawns with a roasted garlic sauce. Yummy. I very nearly want to go back to Crucita for a third weekend in a row just to eat this again.
OK, that´s it for now. We´re having a graduation party at my house today so I´ve got to be brief so I have time to mentally prepare for all of the spanish I´m going to have to speak this afternoon. I´ll leave you with a couple more pictures from the trip to the beach and will type to you soon.