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Published: March 31st 2008
With 2 full free days in Pokhara we set off early to peruse the shops, buy presents, postcards, posters etc. Then me and Linda went down to the lake and hired a wooden rowing boat and man to paddle us and spent a blissful, relaxing, peaceful hour out on the water enjoying the view and taking more photos. We saw paragliders up in the skies with the snow capped mountains as a back drop. They were sooo high up (more of this later!).
Then it was back to the hotel to christen the pool, laze about sun bathing, drinking beers, listening to music, reading, having another swim, drinking more beer. Heaven! A little Nepalese boy came called Shankar came over and we got chatting. He was such a clever one. He could read and write English better than my little girl who is the same age. He loved myMP3 player and kept wanting to have another listen. Then it was on to writing in my little note book and he wrote: 'Hello sir and madam, please try to understand we want to play football. Nice team cost 100 Country, money.' Quite a little business man.
And so back to
the paragliding. Having seen information about paragliding flights from Pokhara some of our group had tentitively expressed an interest. In a moment of madness I also put my name down! So it was with trepidation I set off with Helen, Linda, Niamh and Sinead (plus a girl called Maxine) the next morning. Actually the jeep ride up the mountain was more scary than the thought of the paragliding to come as we bumped and swerved about the mountain road, lerching alarmingly towards the shear drops on one side! We eventually stopped at the launch site and we were all relieved to see how short it was (about 20m max) - none of us could imagine our legs being capable of more than a few metres of running for take off! After all the preambles and instructions we watched a few solo fliers take off, including an eighty year old former Nepalese pilot who just couldn't give up flying!
Then it was our turn to put on our harnesses and one by one fly off into the sharply sloping void in front of us. It was really only a couple of minutes of anticipation waiting for the right wind then
the pilot got the shute up in th air, then - walk, walk, run, run, run - WAY HAY I shouted as we launched off the hillside and swooped and soared.
We were immediately way up high with the terraced fields down below us. It was just like being a bird - something I've always wondered about as I've watched birds of prey circling up the thermals. Now I know. It's sooooo amazing. I couldn't stop grinning. We lost a bit of height at one point so Anul, my pilot took us closer to the hillside and we began to slowly circle higher as we caught the thermals (listen to me, like I know how to fly a paraglider!!). Eventually we were higher than anyone else (about 15 or so other people to avoid!). Unfortunately it had to end and we gradually descended towards Pokhara Lake and swooped down towards the landing spot, the ground suddenly rushing up as we ran in to an ungraceful landing! I took so many photos while I was soaring like an eagle and even a video too. I hope I get the chance to paraglide again some time. I think it could become
After lunch by the lake at Boomerangs we went back to the hotel fully intending to go on the trip up to the Stupa and the Tibentan refugee camp that the others had visited while we were paragliding. Unfortunately the heat was just too much and I couldn't face the climb, besides pool and beer were beckoning and we settled down for another relaxing afternoon. Not something I'd expected from this trip.
Our evening meal was a bit subdued as it was our last with Sionead and Niamh, who had to leave the trip early for family reasons. We were all sad to wave them off in the morning but hoped they would get back home quickly to be with their family.
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