If you only knew how much time I have spent trying to pull this post together. If only. This video crashed the laptop – I don’t even know how many times. I think we might be due for an upgrade. But I won’t go down that path. Back on topic.
J-Mar knew I had something big planned for the weekend – I was so excited I could hardly contain it. So, when we woke up I was very eager to give him an idea of what we’d be getting ourselves into. For this, I solicited the assistance of a dear family member, J-Mar’s brother, Michael (M-Mar?). First, he read his paper clue:
As instructed, he opened the email, to see this glorious clue.
So, have you figured it out? Well, good, because I told Michael to err on the side of confusion. Success! Thoroughly confused, we got in the car to pick up two friends, Todd and Doug. We continued on to the Taewha Hotel, where we “coincidentally” found five more friends: Christine, Justin, Ryan, Michelle and Chris. When we pulled into the parking lot, J-Mar saw a gray van with parachutes all over it.
For years, my dear husband has been talking about wanting to go paragliding. So, when googling “the ultimate 30th birthday”, I had to Google “paragliding Ulsan”. Well, what do you know? There is a company that does paragliding in the mountains around here. People even come all the way from Busan to experience paragliding off of Mt. Sinbul (Sinbulsan, in Korean)!
To get to Sinbulsan, it was a bit of a drive from the Taewha Hotel, through the west side of Ulsan, up the winding road to our take off point. We unloaded and realized there were many other people there for the same reason, from experienced guides to people taking their first solo flights as well as first-timers like us.
Our guide was a funny older Korean man who smoked like a chimney. Seriously, he had at least two cigarettes between each flight. Anyway, Mr. Lee let us know that I would be going first! I started to panic. I was all about the experience, but I definitely didn’t want to be the one to go first jumping off the side of a mountain before I saw that it was safe. Seriously, no one else had set up yet, and I wasn’t ready. But, since I was the smallest person in the group and I guess the wind hadn’t picked up enough yet, they wanted to send me out first to see how everyone else would fare.
Even though I was really nervous, after they strapped me in and showed me how to operate their GoPro pole, the assistant literally stuck his arm up in the air to feel the direction of the wind, and before I knew it we were running off the side of the mountain!
One of the funniest parts of the day other than take-off itself was watching these small Korean guys strap 200 pound Western men to them. The height difference was just comical, especially because the Korean guy was in the back.
…and we’re off!
The Marasiaks had a very successful and exciting ride! It was a complete adrenaline rush. Though we spun through the air most of the time, it was still amazing to be floating in the wind so high above the ground. I really have never experienced anything like it before.
Check out some of our friends: Christine got the ride of her life, spending a lot of it apparently horizontal based on the horizon line in her photo. Todd had a crash take off (as opposed to landing), but survived to tell the story. Ryan clearly enjoyed his experience, and Chris and Michelle got some good views too!
And with that, I’ll leave you with our most precious memento of this occasion. The picture that our paragliding guy texted me randomly one morning.