How about some paragliding at my first “Air Party”? (Day 760)

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.

The Turkish Mediterranean coast, as seen from 2,000m up while paragliding.  My fellow paragliders are in some kind of formation.  How about them views, eh?  Gorgeous.

A paraglider soars high over the Blue Lagoon

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.

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4 Responses to How about some paragliding at my first “Air Party”? (Day 760)

  1. Lauren Harvey says:

    Shawn, I am SO excited you got to do all this stuff… I’m reliving my Turkey trips through you!
    Side story: at the tail end of my paragliding experience in Oludeniz, my pilot said “do you like extreme?” Me: “sure.”
    Cut to us immediately starting to corkscrew spiral towards the earth at 40 km/h (give or take) all the way until just before we landed on the beach.
    I actually have a video of this too… must locate and post.
    (Btw, are you going to Jordan? I highly recommend there too!)

    • smartelo says:

      I remember when I heard that you were making multiple trips to Turkey. I couldn’t understand why you kept returning to the same country for your vacations. Now I finally get it :) If you find that video, definitely send me the link! Jordan — yes, tomorrow!

  2. Joe says:

    Nice pics Shawn. Sorry the weather didn’t cooperate. Istanbul has been sunny and 20 for the last 3 weeks.

    Keep on truckin’

  3. Pingback: Summary and Best Of: Europe, the Middle East, and Africa | Shawn Was Here

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