“Run, now, go!”
I ran as fast as I could towards the emptiness until, suddenly, I felt my feet leave the ground. I sat comfortably in my harness now, flying above Pokhara’s beautiful blue lake.
“I want to go as high as possible!” I told Alex, the paragliding pilot strapped behind me. We started going up, the paraglider naturally lifted up by the wind. An eagle was flying near us, probably thinking these strange colorful wings were family.
We were flying higher than anyone else now, and I wasn’t scared one bit. The lake and the surrounding mountains were far away. I guess the sky is the ultimate off the beaten path spot for some quiet and peace.
Watch the video of the take off!
Alex asked me if I was up for some acrobatics on the way down. As I nodded enthusiastically, he showed me the plastic bag in his hand. I was confused for a few seconds, then Alex pulled on the controls and we started doing giant sideways swings. The purpose of the plastic bag became clear at once.
“Stop, stop, no more acrobatics”, I said.
One more swing and I knew I was going to be puking in fast reverse wind. I couldn’t do that to Alex.
We landed, me taking deep breaths to try and get rid of the nausea. The landing was so smooth that all I had to do was stand up, and I didn’t even fell over.
A few minutes later, while I was sitting down, sipping on my water and still feeling sea sick, I was told that the nausea is pretty common, some people even throw up instantly at the first movement. Some, on the other hand, don’t feel anything at all and can spiral in the air as much as they want. I cursed my strong tendency to motion sickness and gave up on the idea of skydiving right then and there. (EDIT 2016: six months later I tried skydiving, and it was awesome!)
Still, paragliding in Pokhara is not famous by accident.
Although the experience left me a bit shaky, I’ll cherish forever the memory of the take off and of this unbelievable feeling of, truly, flying.
You want to experience paragliding in Pokhara? I went with Blue Sky Travel for 55$ the 30 minutes flight. The pictures and videos are an additional 15$. I felt very safe all the way. There’s a take off everyday at 9am, 11am and 3pm. I recommend going in the morning, you’ll have a better chance at a clear sky and a good view of the Annapurna.