Tuesday, 12 November 2013

DAY 12 - Goa

THE party destination in India, Goa is the meeting point of unending beaches, laid-back people, afternoon siestas, cheap booze and intoxicating substances. While Goa remains one of the best weekend getaways from Mumbai, one of my most special memories of Goa is of paragliding in Arambol. I was staying in Arambol, in north Goa with a friend, and we happened to meet this foreigner couple who own a store that sells hammocks near our hotel. We struck up a conversation with them and as it turned out, the owner’s husband, who is a paragliding instructor asked us if we wanted to do a tandem flight.

Paragliding had been on my bucket list for a while. I’d tried parasailing and the conventional banana boat ride in Goa itself, but paragliding was yet to be ticked off my list. So I just went for it in the spur of the moment. We instantly gathered the required gear and set out to climb up a cliff. All seemed hunky dory so far. But once we were all set, attached with our chutes and me standing a few steps before him, my charming instructor says “Now just run and step off the cliff.” Sure, why not? Seems easy right?

View from the top

His casual tone had my eyes pop out. I said “okay” and made an attempt to, well, jump off the cliff. I backed out; quite literally, I fell backwards. He says, “Relax, just walk fast, that’s all.” He had done this a dozen times before, but jumping off a cliff wasn’t so normal for me; except while stating a metaphor. I had no choice though. And so I did. I just ran until there was no ground below me. Once I was airborne, it felt so oddly comfortable; as if it were natural to be flying. The ride was super smooth till we made a successful landing. I even got the chance to operate the chutes myself in between for a few seconds.

While Goa will always be my go-to destination to chill and do nothing, it will remain special to me for my first paragliding experience.

NEXT: DAY 13 -Maldives

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