Cochabamba

DAY FIFTYNINE – SIXTY

Cool name! I arrived early in the morning and went to the hostel I was going to meet up with Michelle and Leah. The reception guy had just woken up and was not happy nor helpful at all. My room was in the very back of the hostel, which I switched later to be in the same room as the others. It was so great to see them again. They had stories to tell and I had stories to tell. It felt really great to talk and be around girlfriends again. I was so excited to spend my last two days with them! We walked around and made our way down to the market. It was really hot out with clear blue sky. Supposedly the market in Cochabamba is huge and impressive but I didn’t find it very big and it turned out we couldn’t even find the main market part. After we walked around a bit more in search of this art house we ended up in mechanic city. One car shop after another. After our long search we found the special art house and it was great! It’s an old slaughter house now trying to build up the community and help out. We didn’t expect it to be like that at all. It’s a really great project and they made a great banana and strawberry smoothie.

Next we tried to book a paragliding tour. We drove up to this “paragliding company” Mish found on the internet but there was no sign or anything so we asked this woman. She only spoke spanish and said: Christan? and Michelle answered yes eventhough she had no clue. The lady opened a door to a rather dodgy looking place and yelled out “Chriiistiaaaaaan” for a while but no answer. So then we went back to our hostel and relaxed a bit. Michelle found a different paragliding company and we went there. Even though they were already closed they called up people and were able to get us our flights. They were nice and helpful and looked very professional so in the end we were glad we booked with them. Then we had dinner and went to bed early because we had to get up early the next morning.

We got up early and excited for paragliding. It was a cool group of people and we did a lot of talking on our way over to the landing area. The car drove up (to the starting point) three times. Leah and I were last so we waited for quite a while while watching the others fly and land. It was a beautiful day. Mish landed and told us how amazing it was and of course then we started to get really excited. We got in the van and drove up about 600m higher and had an incredible view over Cochabamba and -valley. Then we got strapped up with all our gear and tandem instructor/ partner. They tell you to run fast and never stop running and not to trip and fall. I got a bit nervous that I might trip or can’t run fast enough. Leah went first but failed. It kind of took all the pressure off though. Then it was my turn. I started running as fast as I could and never stopped. Sometimes it lifts you up and then you just waddle your feet in the air and suddenly there is no ground at all under your feet. You have to lift yourself up to sit correctly in the “seat” and then ahhh…..so comfortable. You can feel how something is lifting you from above. It’s so calm and quiet and relaxing just floating in the air. I never got scared being up in the air and just enjoyed it. It gave me this incredible feeling I can’t describe. You feel weightless like a feather in the sky just gliding around. It was so incredible seeing over everything and the wind passing by you unlike in an airplane. For more fun we caught these turbulent winds where you spin around in a loop like in a tornado. You get super fast and it feels like being on a roller coaster. It was amazingly much fun! We did the spinning around thing a few more times after that while slowly getting closer to the ground. I never wanted it to end and could’ve stayed up there for hours. It was just so peaceful.

Unfortunately though we had to land eventually after about 10 minutes of flying. Of course though my landing was no ordinary landing like you’d expect. No my landing is quite a funny story to tell.  We didn’t go to where everyone else had landed because we were still too high up in the air. We glided down this street a little further to another landing field. That would’ve been a reasonable place to land but no no… that’s not where we landed either. We were already very close to the ground and my guide started turning. Turning towards this pile of rocks, a cactus, a tree and behind the rocks were dry bushes. For a second I thought we were going to head right into that mess but my guide told me not to worry. I trusted him for a second and believed a miracle would happen to lift us up again. All of this happened so fast and then BOOM! There was absolutely no miracle. My butt hit the pile of rocks making us fall face first straight into the itchy bushes in between the cactus and the tree. I just started laughing not realising yet how uncomfortable it really was. The bushes were not soft and the fact that the guide’s weight was pushing me more into the scratchy bushed did not help. It’s even more funny because I really wanted to fly with this special guide because he’s known for his great landing! Well I sure got a memorable one! Once you’re out of the bushes and standing on your own two feet again you get this uncontrollable smile on your face. It was incredible. We just wanted to hug everyone and that’s exactly what we did.

Later the three of us left on different buses. It was time to say goodbye again. I hated saying goodbye to them again. We had so much fun together and make up a great team.

So I got back on a bus for the last time back to La Paz for the 5th time. My trip was coming to an end. Only one more day in La Paz. At least so we all thought…

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