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Published: January 27th 2012
Today was the second day of activities. Got to the center by 10am, ready for a morning of paragliding and zorbing.
Keenen arrived and soon after we were in a jeep and on the half an hour journey, along the usual bumpy roads and dodgy looking bridges, to the paragliding center. Once we arrived we could see parachutes already in the air, though wherever they were launching from was hidden from view by the forest around the landing zone. The jeep driver pointed towards the hill and promptly walked off, so we headed in the direction he was pointing and started up the hill on a narrow dirt path. This path, it turned out, was bloody long, and inhabited by snakes.
It took about 45 minutes to get to the top, at a pretty steep gradient, at one point someone pointed out a snake just off the path, we all looked at the floor a little more after that. I fell behind every now and then (bloody hill) but eventually we all got to the top, panting and horrifically sweaty. Set out on the hill to our right was a number of parachutes, all laid out on the floor. On our left was a drop, a steep drop, almost a cliff infact. We were beconed over and split up, each being clipped into a seat-like, and fairly tatty looking, harness. The pilot(?) strapped in behind me. He hadn't really said anything up till this point, and as i stood, facing the drop, fully aware of the fact that my time touching the ground was rapidlty running out he leaned forward and said 'When i say, we run'. I nodded, this might have been accompanied by a random sound or two, but im not sure. Less than 10 seconds later he says 'go' and i go. 'STOP!'. I stopped, confused and not a little concerned. The guy done something for a few seconds before saying 'go' again. I wanted to ask if he was sure but I didn't and just ran instead and we were quickly airborne, and i quickly forgot that i was ever worried. The view was awesome, the forest below and hills and mountains all around. The flight lasted almost 10 minutes, passing over the forested hill we had walked up and then circling hundreds of feet above the ground. Near the end the pilot got us decending in fast, tight circles. As we approaced the ground the pilot leaned forward again and told me to run and stay standing when we hit the ground. We landed, I fell over. The pilot wasn't too pleased with the sloppy landing, but in less than a minute I was detached and standing. I thanked the pilot and turned around to find 2 or 3 guys with big camera's, they had photograped my decent and were selling the pictures, I declined and waited for Keenen to land a few minutes later.
We moved towards the jeep, but the driver was nowhere to be found. We decided to chill out in the forest for a bit, cooling off in the shade for a little while. The driver got back after about 20 minutes and led us towards the zorbing balls. I've never zorbed before, we were told to walk up a small incline while a few guys ran up the hill, pushing the massive ball infront of them. Once it reached us we were told to take off our shoes, hand over the contents of our pockets to the driver and jump into the ball through a small hole. We strapped ourselves in and the guys got the ball rolling :-) The incline wasn't very steep but the ball was going pretty fast. It was great fun and Keenen and I were laughting all the way down. After that we jumped into the Jeep and headed back to the center.
We went for breakfast at Roasted and Toasted in Manali and after that I headed back to the hotel and passed out for a few hours.
I had dinner that night at Rainbow with Helen. We ended up staying there for a few hours, she had some cards so we got a beer and played a few card games. By the time we finished we had gone through quite a few beers and once we'd had enough we both went back to our hotels.
We had decided that the next day we would head over to Old Manali on the other side of the valley so we could spend a few days there.
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