Monday, 21 January 2013

Birthday Parasailing

With all the excitement of Japan and Christmas, I forgot to say much about my birthday surprise from Nick. The only hints that he gave me up until the day were that it involved a flying cap, he wasn't going to have me dive with sharks and that it was weather dependent. I went to bed the night before kind of praying for rain.

Unfortunately, I woke up the next morning and the skies were a brilliant blue and the sun was shining. I wrapped up as best as I could and was rushed to KSU where we were getting picked up. It almost felt like a kidnap, we came out of the metro exit where there was a van waiting for us, the door was rolled open when Nick and I approached, and he pushed me in before I could say anything about the Parasailing sign that was printed all over the van.

The van was filled with lots of jolly Koreans, including the cutest toddler I've ever seen, who all minded their own business for the hour drive out of Busan.

The van wound through tiny villages up a mountain road, and eventually pulled over when we had got to the peak of the mountain, and lead us up a muddy hill, where he said that he was going to check the wind.

When we got to the top, there were a handful of people already there, decked out in proper outdoor gear, my Hello Kitty Mittens and fur coat seemed a little out of place. They were dragging their heavy parachutes to the edge of the hill, edging down backwards and waiting for the wind to lift them off their feet. The take off seemed pretty erratic, but once they were up in the air they were peacefully sweeping around.

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After a lunch of make your own kimbap where one of the other men in the van kept force feeding me spicy clams, it was time for me to take flight. Luckily I had been partnered with someone who was pretty experienced, so I just stood while he strapped me up, and then pretended that I understood the instructions that he was giving me in Korean.

That was possibly the most scary part of the whole experience, worrying that he had said some crucial information, that I would do something wrong and we would plummet down. Even more worrying was the fact that there was clearly a graveyard on the ground, hundreds of metres below.
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Once the wind had swooped us up into the air, and the initial panic was over, it turned out to be really smooth and relaxing. There was an amazing view of the rivers and mountains around us, and every now and then we would swish past Nick and his partner so would madly wave at each other.
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Unfortunately my coat proved to be impractical again, so after about 20 minutes I was freezing as we were up so high, so I was very happy to feel solid ground under my behind as I landed less than gracefully on my bottom with a bump. Thank you Nick for such a great birthday present!