Monday, June 24, 2013

Floating Through June

The month of June eased us into the heat of summer rather nicely.  My recollections of last year were that the weather turned immediately from frigid cold to suffocating humidity and heat.  We have enjoyed the sporadic days of rain and occasional cool and breezy winds which have taken the edge off summer's sweltering heat.  Taking advantage of that, we took in a couple of really "cool" outdoor activities.

The 6th of June is a Korean Memorial Day, and a day off work for Bob.  The winds were perfect for paragliding at a school which is about an hour drive south of Seoul.  We arrived about an hour early and watched the many gliders taking advantage of the great holiday weather.  With no instruction, we were loaded into a truck and driven for about 10 minutes to the top of a mountain.  They quickly snapped a couple of photos of us, then put us in harnesses, shin guards and helmets.  We were to fly tandem, each with our own pilot.  They took me first, and all I was told was to lean forward while running forward off the edge of the hill.  Just as we took our last steps, a big gust of wind caught the para-sail and jerked us backward.  But then, after a few minutes of confusion, we were floating in the air and headed forward above the tree tops.  Pulling myself into the cradle-like seat, I settled comfortably back and enjoyed floating gently in the air.  There was no fear, just a peaceful and enjoyable flight.  I looked back to see Bob flying behind us.  That's when my pilot asked if I wanted to have a little fun.  With the pilot pulling on one of the cords and leaning to the side, we started spiraling down and then up, as if riding a roller coaster.  At the conclusion of that ride, we experienced another swinging motion.  Hanging in the air, we began to swing from side to side while drifting past the landing pad.  Then a final turn headed us back toward the mountains and another tug on the cords began our descent.  The padded cradle took all the impact, as I raised my legs in preparation for our landing.  Wahoo!  The 15 minute ride really was a lot of fun!  I removed all my gear just in time to watch Bob touch down.  I think he's convinced that he wants to take lessons and become a certified para-sailing pilot!

We paid for the adventure, which cost us each 80,000 won (<$80), and an additional 20,000 each for photos and video.  Unfortunately, we have not received any imaging, and are afraid they may not have appropriately operated the cameras during our flights.  If we do get images, we will add them here at a later date.  On the drive back home, I did have that carsick feeling for a few minutes.  I think the crazy spiraling motions in the air left me with a little motion sickness.  But it was still well worth the experience!  Below are just a couple of photos we took that day.  The first video is a preview of what we actually did!  The last video proves that we were not the only ones "flying" with the masses in Korea that day!


Bob decided that his office staff in Seoul needs to experience an occasional social "bonding" activity.  So a week later, he booked an evening dinner cruise on the Han River.  The all-you-can-eat buffet offered a good variety of Korean and western foods, and the hour and a half ride down the river, complete with entertainment, was a fun way to see Seoul.  None of the group had taken this cruise before, and I think everyone had a great time.  The boat was boarded in Yeouido and the turn around point on the river was at the Banpo Bridge.  There is a nice colorful water fountain display set to music which takes place each night off the Banpo Bridge.  There was a little too much daylight to fully enjoy the show, but the return ride to Yeouido provided a beautiful view of the city at night.  (Despite my poor photography!)


What a fun way to float through life - right?!