Toluca Gringa

8,700 feet does more than simply turn you into a cheap date

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Here's a shot of another flyer from more or less the take off point. You can see a few more photos at www.picasaweb.google.com/kristanitza
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Friday, July 20, 2007

On Saturday, I jumped off the side of a mountain attached to a rather attractive stranger. (photos to come). I can't say paragliding is something I've always wanted to check off my list, but it seemed logical at the time. Valle de Bravo is supposed to be one of the best spots for air going in the right direction. Plus, if you crash to your death there's a nice lake to catch you. My tandem guy, can't remember his name, was young and cute and I dared not ask how much experience he had. Or if he was at least old enough to vote. The fact that he weighed a little more than me was the glimmer of hope I was clinging to. He strapped on the gear with a few clicks of what looked like backpack buckles. The thing felt huge and dangled off my backside. Is it too loose? I asked. No, it's fine. Is it too big then? I nagged. No, it's fine. Don't touch it, he said. So I stopped asking questions and took a running jump of the side of what I'm going to call Mount Valle de Bravo because I don't know what else to call it.
And then, I was actually flying. I'm not sure how high or how fast. These are questions I forgot to ask because, I now realize, I get nausious when I fly in the air. Live and learn. But, we were significantly higher than the trees and some birds. I could see the whole town below, from one border to the other. And we were too high to see small things like people or dogs or gordita puestos. Maybe 2 or 3,000 feet?
Coming in for a landing, the cute guy did a little spin thinking I would enjoy it. A nice rush, yes, but a collection of bile crept up my throat and I wondered if I puked in the air just who would be affected? I could only hope the liquid would be dispersed into the wind. At worst, the wind would carry it straight into the face of the boy who held my life in his hands, he would be blinded by the acidy substance, lose control of the glider, and to the earth we would fall, putting me in the same category as Janis Joplin, technically.
When we hit the land, run! he said. Yeah, right. I thought. OK, I said.
So, prepared to run and thinking I would impress all the spectators with my effortless landing, we hit the ground. I think my legs tried to run. I'm not sure, but they ended up folding beneath and under and around me, leaving me in a pretzled lump with paragliding strings and canvas all over the place. Plus, I still felt the need to puke. Cute boy quickly unbuckled me, and off I ran, still covered in bulky gear, to relieve myself. He laughed.
Despite all this, I was ready for a beer and some shrimp tacos.
Later, a friend told me that there are no mountains in Valle de Bravo. Just hills. Thus reducing the magesty of this story.