(Learning to Fly, La Paz – 09/06/2018)
La Paz is the highest capital in the world and the place for one of the experiences I wanted to do in this trip: paragliding.
After pushing myself doing the zip line over Victoria Falls, it was time for me to go to the next level and try to float in the air. To fly and feels what is like.
La Paz offers the possibility of doing lots of adventure activities at very affordable price, so when paragliding was offered to me for $60 USD I did not hesitate. I booked my fly with Marco Aruquipa through an agent although can be done directly with him (https://parapenteboliviia.es.tl)
Although I was excited, I became anxious about it since the minute I committed to it. The night before I couldn’t sleep well… the idea of jumping over a cliff was frightening to me and making me anxious.
-‘Close your eyes when you run towards the cliff’ – I was advised. But that seemed to me even scarier thing to do.
Early start at 6am for a jump that would happen around 11.30am…. 5 hours of anticipation for the moment of that jump…. That wasn’t helpful… I wanted to be the first one so I could relax afterwards.
Paragliding requires lots of preparation. And I wasn’t the first person jumping, so the hours waiting felt to me like an eternity. But apparently mid morning conditions are always better than very early. I was given the best slot for the fly that morning.
Finally my turn arrived so I jumped into the car to get to the top of the mountain.
We ascended through an impossible bendy road with sharp vertical cliffs. I am not sure what was more dangerous, the flight or racing up the mountain in that impossible road. However, I must say that driver was very skilled. He squeezed the performance of the car.
Once we arrive to the top of the mountain the instructor was checking the wind conditions from the space we were suppose to jump. My heart started to go faster and I could feel the adrenaline. However, due the direction of the wind, that platform was not suitable so we went for an alternative jumping place.
The second place chosen for the jump was even scarier. In less than 20m run, there was the cliff. More adrenaline was running through my system, but fortunately everything happened fast. We did a couple of rehearsals for the running bit and in few minutes I was set.
I decided to jump with my eyes closed. Just run and go!
So the moment arrived…. ‘Three, Two, One…… RUN!!!!’
Almost immediately I was up in the air, flying. And everything was smoother that expected. Once comfortable sit on the para-glide, the whole thing felt like a gentle movement of a feather in the wind. Marco allowed to drive it and as I gained control over it, my anxiety dissipated completely and my enjoyment soared.
After 20min in the air, with safely landed. What a beautiful experience paragliding was. I would definitively do it again.
My pictures and movie of the experience are blended in the video below.