Last Saturday I attended a trip put together by one the the many travel groups here in Korea. This trip offered an opportunity to go paragliding, something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile now. I set out with a group of nearly 100 other foreigners for Cheongdo early on Saturday morning. I’ve posted a few other times about this small town near to where I live in Gyeongsan. Since we had so many people, my group couldn’t paraglide until later in the afternoon. There was a lot of waiting around and lots of nervous jitters throughout the day. Finally, it was our turn to go up the mountain. We crammed into a van to drive to the top. The driver must have been bored, because he was driving like a crazy person whipping around the turns so quickly. Everyone was joking that the drive was more dangerous than the paragliding.
Once we got up to the top the views were really amazing.
I waited for nearly two hours for my turn to go. They kept telling me to wait because I’m small and the winds in the late afternoon were better for smaller people. When it was finally my turn, everything happened so quickly that I didn’t really have time to be nervous. About 10 minutes before I went someone crashed into a tree, but I was optimistic that wouldn’t happen to me! Everything went really smoothly. I wasn’t really prepared for the feeling of it though. It was A LOT scarier than I thought it would be. It was very windy, and I kept getting that weird dropping feeling like on a roller coaster. Not being able to communicate with my pilot was hard too. He was laughing at me because I kept saying, “Ohmygod ohmygod!” , a phrase the Koreans have adopted into their own language. He was very nice though, and when it was clear I was too shakey to operate the camera he took it from me and recorded some amazing video. Once we got closer to the ground and we steadied out a bit it was a lot more fun. The views were amazing, and I’m really glad I got to do it. It took about 10 minutes to get back on the ground. When I landed it took about 5 minutes for my ears to pop from the air pressure though. Very uncomfortable feeling! Overall, it was a really great experience.
I was lucky to get a really good pilot! He asked me for my e-mail before we took off, and by Tuesday I had received all my pictures and a video he edited for me. It turned out really well. I’ve been showing my students all week, and they’ve really enjoyed watching it. I’ve also inspired a few coworkers to try paragliding!