“I think I’m going to poo myself”; a direct quote from Emma standing at the top of a mountain in Rio de Janeiro waiting to jump off in a hang glider!
Last night whilst at the bottom of the Sugar Loaf cable car we picked up a leaflet for hang gliding and provisionally booked 4 spaces for this morning. Emma was adamant that she wasn’t going to jump but came along for the ride anyway, the rest of us were a little nervous and trying not to think about it!
We arrived at the base of the mountain and all paid 15 Reis to get a licence to fly, it was the quickest licence we have ever applied for and within 2 minutes we were presented with our student cards. In Brazil you are not allowed to hang glide unless you are fully qualified or a student so our licence states we are learning to hang glide!! We also met our tandem partners, Klaus, Conrad and one other but I can’t remember his name.
We were then driven to the top of Pedra Bonita mountain where there were lots of people waiting to fly and several gliders being set up. Me and Paul were suited up first and within a few minutes were at the front of the queue about to jump, I can safely say I have never been so terrified in my life. Paul stepped onto the ramp, aka launch pad and I had to watch the man I love run downhill and jump off a 600m cliff. I thought I was going to be sick but then suddenly I was on the ramp running downhill not thinking about anything other than run run run!
As soon as my feet left the ramp all fear was gone and I was gliding through the air like a bird overlooking what was, in my opinion, the most beautiful city in the world. The view was breathtaking and my instructor was so calm, pointing out the sites and telling me to relax and smile for the camera. After what felt like just a few minutes we were over the beach and swooping in to land. I met Paul at the bottom and we both agreed it was one of the best things we have ever experienced.
At this point Emma and Chalkie were still up the top of the mountain, they had to wait for Paul’s instructor Klaus to get back up to the top. We were watching the other hang gliders fly down and were looking out for Chalkie when we got a text from Emma’s mobile that said “I’m in the orange one”!! It was actually Chalkie texting us but it was true, she was in the hang glider and going for it, we couldn’t believe it; for those of you who know Emma you will remember she is scared of flying and here she is jumping off a cliff under a piece of material 🙂
Safely back on land we got a lift back to Copacabana and grabbed some well deserved lunch. We then spent the evening by the pool playing cards with a few drinks.