29 October, 2007

More pictures from the para-gliding weekend

Para-gliding off of a Dormant Volcano

Always a weekend somewhere here in France. This weekend we went to another big house with another bunch of friends and spent the weekend hiking and of course...para-gliding, because isn't that what everyone does on the weekend?

I hesitated to agree to this weird para gliding stuff. I was pretty scared, because you know, I'm always scared. I refused to research anything about para-gliding, because there are accidents in any sport and I had no desire to scare myself any more than I already was...I saved that fun activity for afterwards.

This is me and the guy who took me up. Here I am pretending not to be scared. Oh crap, no turning back. He is explaining how to take-off right here and in my nervousness I am half-listening, always a good tactic.
Here he is yelling at me - no no no. Because I didn't listen. Notice I am leaning back and he is leaning forward. I am royally screwing up the take-off.
Phew. All is well, we made it. We flew for 20 minutes. It was really calm and slow, although it was always a little disconcerting to be hanging in a harness from a bunch of strings attached to a parachute thing. I also made a big mess of the landing. Everyone warned me that the landing was going to seem like you needed to run...but that really it's just a nice gentle walk when you get down. I thought I was going to nail it. As we descended I thought how clever I was and how great my landing would be. We approached and he yelled directions in my ear that I didn't understand. The ground approached fast and still I resisted the urge to run. And then we crashed and I realized that my slow walk was not enough and that actually I should have run a bit! hahaha. Oh well, it was fun anyway.

24 October, 2007


Some photos from hanging around Lyon this week.

Forever I've been talking about the free bikes...seen below, here they are. If only we could start that in Cleveland.

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Other Pictures from the Fête

Tina and Jason. Jason was kind enough to take fabulous photos all weekend. So I have to give him credit for all the pictures I have from this weekend.
The beautiful French countryside.
Tina, being the dance teacher she is, wowed us with her moves and even taught us a few. She was quite popular on the dance floor...of course none of us wanted to have to dance next to her, but we welcomed any help we could get!
Next door to our house there was a family of donkeys. We amused ourselves for probably way too long, petting them and feeding them lettuce.
The house...of course we had to try climbing it...just look at those holds!

Rounds 2-4

After the bottle contest, we did the limbo. After the limbo, there was a tough twister comp, and then my favorite - the marshmallows. How many marshmallows can you shove into your mouth without chewing, swallowing, or puking? The record was 22. They looked like squirrels, it was actually pretty gross, but mildly fascinating at the same time.

The Biggest Birthday Party I Have Ever Been To

When the French have a party, they sure don't skimp on anything. Our friend Geoffroy celebrated his 30th birthday last weekend with his friend Stephan, who was conveniently born on the same day in the same year as Geoffroy. They invited 50 of their friends and then rented a big house in the countryside to accommodate all of us. They spent the week cooking and preparing everything....even and orientation race. See, Geoffroy is a big mountaineer, so the weekend wouldn't be complete without some outside fun. Geoffroy designed and marked the orientation course, handed out maps, compasses and split all fifty people into teams. It lasted about two hours and was followed by 4 rounds of finals. There were four people to a team, so each team chose 1 person for each activity.

THE BOTTLE GAME: The first round was the wine bottle balance thing, I have no idea what else to call it. It is explained in pictures below.

First you balance on two wine bottles like so. You can't see it too well, but you do have a barrier (the piece of wood) for your feet so that you can't move them forward. The object is to move one of the bottles as far forward as you can, without throwing it, then balancing on the remaining bottle and somehow finish standing up, without falling or letting any part of your body touch the ground. Then you get stuck like this and think oh crap, it's like push ups on wine bottles.
If you are lucky enough to descend on the bottles, you usually contort your face something like this and cast your gaze way ahead of you setting your goals way too high:
ohhh, don't let it fall:
Oh .... or more like ahhhhhh....trying to actually push up with both hands on one wine bottle proved nearly impossible:The End, and mostly the end was failure ;) But how sweet it was.