Saturday, 3 September 2005

Took my paraglider out to the riverbank for a bit of ground handling.

it's amazing how much attention this generates... on top of me being foreign and not exactly normal-looking anyway...

Some cars stopped to watch, some people called out to me, and after a while a guy driving past in an expensive-looking white car took a detour and drove down onto the riverbank beside me. He came up to me and asked in pseudo-wakariyasui semi-gestured Japanese if he could be my friend. Slightly wary, and not 100% sure how to deal with the situation, i said, "er... so what's your name?"
"Ah, yes;" he took out and handed me a busines card with very little info on it, "So, i really want to try paragliding. Where can I get one, how much for?"
I still had absolutely no idea who this guy was, and he kept hinting that if/as we were friends i could/should let him try my wing out...

He was also keen to find out where i live, and said we should meet up some time. For some reason he seemed surprised that i live in the town we were standing in. i didn't give him any more details.

I told him about the paragliding schools i knew of nearby, and he said "Oh, it's alright, i taught myself to drive, so flying one of those should be pretty easy to pick up, too."
When i stressed the necessity of getting proper training (in weather observation, and a certain way of thinking), otherwise it's really really dangerous, he said it was the danger that he found appealing...
He then asked what was in the pouch in the back. When i told him it was a reserve parachute, he said, "Oh, I've always wanted to try skydiving!" and went on and outlined his idea of flying up really high on a paraglider, cutting himself loose, and freefalling for a while before pulling out the parachute and gliding to safety...
Nice idea in theory, but i don't think it's a particularly good one to try in practice.

This is not the kind of guy i would ever dream of letting anywhere near my paraglider. Nor anyone else's. Not even if he paid me.

He eventually wandered off, to be replaced by a couple of junior school kids, whose presence was pleasantly refreshing in contrast. But by that time, the wind had died off.

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