As the regular readers know, I’ve been to a lot of parties on my world tour. But never an “Air Party.” What the hell is that, anyway? And what happens there? Let me tell you: It’s a festival for paragliders and parachtuters. The sky gets dotted with brightly-coloured parachutes. They put on a great show with all kinds of aerial acrobatics: twirls, spirals, flips! The music is pumping, there is a stage upon which a guy with a mic is doing play-by-play for the paragliders, and the beach is packed full of people. Apparently the top 5 paragliders in the world were there, doing their thing. They call it an “Air Party.” Don’t mind if I do.
I had stumbled into the 2010 World Paragliding Festival. By accident. (The travel gods smiled on me yet again.) I had one nice day without rain, so I decided to hit the beach at Oludeniz, Turkey. Next thing you know, I’m in the thick of it.
What’s fun is to watch the paragliders trying to find a place to land. They do it on the beach or boardwalk between the hordes of people. 99% of the time they stick it without problem, but I did see one woman clip the tops of a few umbrellas then land in a tangled mess amongst some cars.
Did I want to try this paragliding? You’re darn right I did. It was great. Floating around up there is a treat. The views are incredible — I would recommend it for the vistas alone. I have been sky-diving and bungee-jumping before, so I thought this might be boring. Instead, it was a lot more enjoyable. And less scary. It is relaxing and peaceful up there. As crazy as it sounds, to be floating around 2000m in the air, I would call it downright pleasant.
I liked this paragliding so much, I decided to put together another “How To” video on The Unique Art of World Travel: on being a paragliding passenger.
Trust me, nothing could be easier. The pilot does all the work. But, I take nothing for granted, so here is a little video to show you how. Really, all you need is a little courage. My only regret is that I didn’t film the landing. It was a bit hairy flying through town just a few metres above all the buildings, and then wondering where the hell the pilot was going to land this thing. I felt I needed to stick the landing, so I put the camera away. Bad call.
Oh, sorry about all the crotch shots in this video, that was accidental. Enjoy.
So, the 2010 Air Party rocked. Yes, I bought the t-shirt.
Cappadocia, Turkey, has some very strange rock formations. The are called “fairy chimneys,” and they look like they just fell out of the sky. [Author’s note: See how, in this description of the rocks, I alluded to the the paragliding above? I’m not sure what that’s called, but it’s some kind of literary technique. After 2 years of blogging, I’m finally getting the hang of this writing business.] People used to live in them. And they make for a stunning landscape.
A fairy chimney. Back in the day, I believe this would be considered a pretty pimp pad, given the good views out the back deck.Amongst the strange rock formations lie beautiful green valleys, with grass, trees, and fields for farming. (Very bizarre.) I spent a great day walking these valleys. In there, it’s fall right now. The leaves are changing colours.
That’s a wrap for Turkey. I spent 3 weeks there, but I missed quite a bit I wanted to see. I could have spent another 2, easily. In truth, I got slammed by rain a lot and that sort of pushed me out of the country.
Turkey was awesome. I liked the food, the transportation (the buses have a TV for each passenger!), and some of the people I met. Turkey is one of those countries where learning a little language goes a long way.
I heard that you have an illness, and the only antidote is more Turkish pics. Consider yourself cured.