As of today, I’ve been away from home for 95 days. It’s only special simply because before today the longest I’ve been away from my beautiful islands is 94 days. This was in Vietnam last year.
(This post was originally published as a note on my Facebook page.)
Ok, because a bunch of people are spamming my inbox… 🙂
1. No, not really that scary. But the rush is phenomenal. It’s a little annoying that the freefall lasted only 30 seconds or so… BUT…
2. The float down on the ‘chute was actually more fun and exhilarating. We did some spins and turns, and no one ever tells you of the rush you feel when you’re doing these moves on a ‘chute. It was actually more addictive than the free-fall. You can really feel the g-forces pile on, and you hear the wind suddenly whipping as you gain speed. You can even make the thing dive… yes, with the ‘chute on. I always expected it to be a boring floating-down-with-nothing-to-do kind of experience. Now I really want to do it again, or take up hang-gliding. IT ROCKS!
3. The song is “Radio Song” by a French group called Superbus. It’s from their Unsorted album. It also appeared in Guitar Hero 3 (for XBOX) where I learned of them and became a fan. You can find the music video on Youtube.
4. It cost about 275 USD. The video and stills cost me an additional 135 dollars. Meh.
5. You can get certified in around 8-10 jumps which takes you from a number of tandems, to static solos, to completely oh-my-god-I’m-all-alone-with-my-nads-and-my-chute-and-my-creator solo.
6. Yes, I’m seriously considering getting certified. But 2750 dollars isn’t cheap. But then again, we all die anyway, and we can’t take the money with us. 🙂
7. Yes, the instructor who kept me alive was this lovely lady called Dee who was all pro and all helpful and happy. Yes, I was strapped to her. Yes, pelvis to pelvis. No, you can’t do it facing up. No, she’s not available. Yes, her hubby was waiting on the ground. Yes, he’s twice my height and weight. No, you don’t want to mess with him. 🙂
8. Yeah, I was screaming all throughout free-fall. Didn’t even realize it. Didn’t even hear it. All you hear is wind. Once the chute deploys though it becomes quieter. Was having a nice conversation with Dee on the way down, and she let me take the ropes for a few calm spins. 🙂
9. No, I was not the one taking the pictures. Watch the video. It was this nice dude called Yuri. I assumed from the name and the accent that he was from somewhere in or close to Russia. Possibly the Ukraine or something. I’m not good enough with the accent to place it specifically. I’ll make sure to ask if I can find him on Facebook. Anyway, no, I wasn’t about to go jumping out of a plane with my camera gear. Yes, he was using a pro-looking helmet-mounted cam complete with a sighting reticle over his eye. No, I didn’t want to ask if he could fire missiles with that thing. Yes, I’m sure you can buy missiles cheap in Russia.
10. Yes, I’m quite happy I did it. 🙂 Yes, I think people who like that sort of rush should try it at least once in their lives. Yes, it’s about as safe as driving your car to work in the morning, in the streets of Manila. 🙂 So yeah, DOH ET!
I know what torture is. It’s a long-ass ride home in horrendous traffic, in a cab where the driver insists on playing his Air Supply CD, in an eternal loop.
Here I Am. Even the Nights are Better. Two Less Lonely People in the World. Now and Forever. Making Love Out of Nothing at All. Every Woman in the World. All Out of Love. They should have written one last mega-hit entitled “Please Kill Me Now Before I Gouge My Ears Out With A Car Door Lock Knob.”
It’s utter anguish. Not because Air Supply sucks. On the contrary, I know of few people who can resist singing along after overcoming the initial wave of nausea.
It’s just that after a few bars of “Every Woman in the World”, the faces of all my exes have flashed before my eyes and I realize just how much I still love them all so…
I panic. I pull out my ipod. Must escape. I put the buds in my ears and hit “shuffle”.
I get Clair Marlo’s “Till They Take My Love Away”.
Like I said… I know what torture is.
The Apostate Aflame stood on the shore, his red ember eyes gazed steadily across the ocean’s turbulent edge, searching for a glimpse of what lay beyond the horizon. Beyond where the sea met the sky, he thought, there are more lands. There must be.
A sharp pain pulled him from his reverie. The water had lapped his toes and he winced and staggered back. Where the water had touched him his flesh smoldered and turned black, cracking in bright red fissures. He cursed himself for his distractedness. The sick-sweet smell of burnt flesh filled his nostrils. He would be fine, of course. In a few moments his feet would catch aflame once more and all he would have would be the memory of pain.
He stared back at the path he had taken and saw his footprints seared in glass on the sand. Soon, he knew, he would leave his last tracks and walk into these waters to leave the Isles forever. Soon would come the pain wrought of the death of a life and the glorious maddening pain of rebirth.
But there was time still before that would have to come to pass. Time to try to remember, to fix what he could. Time to seek some last vestige or forgiveness or redemption.
Near the tail-end of an otherwise flawless evening, the strangely enchanting girl blurted out to me; “my god, you’re borderline gay.”
What is going on in the world? Since when were otherwise gentlemanly arts relegated to the province of gayhood? Strangely, these were all arts and faculties that I always felt were supposed to **add** to a gentleman’s appeal, rather than detract from it. So what are men supposed to do? On the one end, we are constantly accused of being little more than speaking apes; lazy and smelling like mushrooms. Apparently, when one deviates from this, one runs the risk of giving the impression that one plays for the wrong team. Sigh.
For what it’s worth, and for the sick and simple pleasure of peering into my deviant little brain, here’s a quick and dirty list of skills I think every gentleman should learn. I’m not saying I have all of these in my pocket; that would be too immodest. These are simply the marks I’ve always thought were worth having simply because in a life so short, the only true crime is to be uninteresting. In no particular order, after the jump.
I’m at the airport, again. But this time at the ungodly hour of midnight, waiting for my crap 1am flight with Cebu Pacific.
I was hungry and knowing that they don’t actually feed you in these budget flights, I got myself a sandwich at the airport concessionaire. It was a dry, cold ham and cheese sandwich. It was crap, which wasn’t a big problem except the bastards charged me 7 dollars for it. Godammit, this is Vietnam. I can get my pipes cleaned for that kind of money. And the little old lady manning the counter didn’t even have the courtesy to give me a reach-over.
Grr… we were supposed to board at 1230pm. But hey, the plane just arrived, which means its delayed by at least 30 minutes again.