Every day the para gliders with their colorful Parapente kites pass right by my windows. Usually, when one goes by, I run out to the deck to see them and then wait to watch them land. They are so close, I can literally look them in the eye and often they will give the “Thumbs Up” sign and shout “Hola!” with a huge smile on their face. I smile back and shout, “HOLA! Que Bueno!” (HI! How WONDERFUL!)
The men and women who para glide make their launch from the huge hill high up and behind this building where I live. Throughout the day, you can see all kinds of colors of parapente kites in the air as they fly around in the sky. Sometimes you will see two people flying in tandem on one kite.
It is an amazing thing to watch as they make their graceful turn just before landing as they reduce their speed and then land on the beach right in front of my building. Some are better at landing than others.
Some come down out of the air as if they are simply walking from air to sand. Others hit the ground at an odd angle and then tumble over and over themselves trying stop the forward momentum. I find myself rooting for them to have a graceful smooth landing every time.
There is one woman who flies by almost every day. She smiles and laughs and screams “Whooooo!!! Hoooooo!!!” as she passes by us. She then makes her graceful turn enroute to the beach as it were the easiest thing in the world. She smoothly drops out of the sky. One foot, two foot, three foot four and she’s got it. She’s landed.
Then comes the part I like best. This woman starts laughing hysterically and pounding her fists up in the air screaming “YEEEEE HAAAAAW!” over and over again, and it is the sound of the universal cry of joyous elation.
After the landing, the kites lines are pulled in and then all folded up and off they go back up the mountain again.
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WORDS TO THRIVE BY FOR WORLD TRAVELERS: FOOTPRINTS IN ECUADOR by Mary Anne Dorward
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