Last Roldanillo Post

This is the second time I’ve apologized to my helmet for bumping into it in the dark.. It is next to me in bed. I keep trying to lay down and sleep… I’m super tired… drank coffee late and took a nap earlier.  I keep smelling man-cologne wafting through the window.

Guess I can write a little.

I have made a decision. I will leave Friday and go to Medellin and try to fly for 3 days….or so. Then I will go to Cali a couple days before my airplane leaves for Brazil on the 30th.

I kind of want to veg here in Roldanillo… But I think it’s kind of lazy.

I had dinner with a gal. Betty. Well, I didn’t really have dinner with her. She served me dinner… Actually, the kitchen staff served me dinner. She sat and talked with me for 45 minutes about Colombia, why she is here,  what she is after and  why she likes it. She lived in Miami for six years. She is a darling gal and I can’t help but be a little smitten with her casual charm. She’s beautiful, owns the restaurant and said she would go to a town in the country that she loves with me if I wanted to go.

She suggested I get the lasagna… Something went wrong in the kitchen, it was an hour and a half and it came out hot on the outside and frozen in the center. Hilarity…. It is exactly like my grandmothers cooking. She was very embarrassed. I wished she wasn’t…

I’m starting to speak a lot of Spanglish. Between hers and mine, it is a fantastico way of communicado.

I think this is pretty much it for Roldanillo posts.. I’m ready to move on, but I’m crazy about coming back here to fly and see my new friends again. I’ve loved this time outside of time and feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity.

Street Food

Street food

Roldanillo is ready for a food revolution. There is nothing so fantastic that I want to learn to cook, although I enjoy the rice and beans and the chicken feet soup very much. That is the extent of the culinary excitement here.. I’m anxious to go to a larger city to try more urban fare.

There is some interesting street food though. Masamora.. Is one of my favorites… Not because it is good, it really isn’t very tasty, but it’s origin is interesting… A fellow drives around on his moped with a giant kettle on the back.. He shouts that he has MASAMORA! He honks his horn and shouts how much and how delicious it is… The cost is accurate but I think it may not be as “Rico” as he insinuates. In the kettle, there is room temperature milk and corn… It may be canned…the corn.. Or not. Hard to say. There are not any spices. He takes a long handled  ladle and scoops a big cupful out. It’s very thin.. The soft corn kernels only fill up the very bottom layer much like a thin soup. It is served with a piece of square brown guava candy wrapped in a banana leaf. You remove the wrapper,  bite the soft candy, then take a spoon of soup. Mix it together in your mouth and it is instantly sweeter.. This is a dish invented by the farmhands.. It is nutritious, inexpensive, and delivers a few hours of productive energy.

Most of the rest of the street food I have seen is on a stick.. And cooked on a grill. It is inexpensive, much healthier than most of the fried foodstuffs and will satisfy a budget conscious traveler. Stuffed chicken wings… Pretty much a fat, red, oblong, chicken hot dog attached to the very tip of a chicken wing…. And heated on the grill. Chicken skewers,  skewer with sausage, plantains grilled (super good…stuffed with cheese too.) corn on the cob, corn cakes,  and the ubiquitous arepa. 

Chontaduro. A red, bunch of fruit cut from palm trees. I think they boil first then peel, put a handful in a ziploc bag.. If you’d like, they will then salt and/or sweeten these unpleasant treats…. It doesn’t make it any better…. They are inexpensive, nearly tasteless and pasty. The Colombians…I think.. do not like a lot of spice in their food, I will withhold judgment until I have visited some larger cities though.
Lots of ice cream vendors, lots of fruit and fruit juice stands. Papaya, guyabanana, and mango are the most popular. 

Flight Log

This is my actual flight log. I am keeping the altitude and max ascent rate details in my vario but am too lazy to transfer them all quite yet. Its just a peek into what kind of flying I am doing… skip ahead to the video if you want to see the video version!

Sam Levinson said, “You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make all of them yourself.”

29 60min. bailout with Skip
30 1.5 hr Bailout with Skip and Stephan
31 40min. field with the crew
01  30min. land in freaking Diablo
02 rain day
03 60min bailout self
04 40min.  land in field all by myself lots of giant winrows with motorcycle guy
05 rain day
06 rain day
07 1.2 hr no instruments thermal conditions  land in farmer field with the Russian Dennis tight landing with power lines. Dynamic turns close to ground. No bueno.

08 1.5 hr 6mi comp launch 5200′ thermal conditions land short of zarzal by myself, long ass walk through the sugar cane.

09 2.5 hr. 40mi. (30k) in-line distance  High launch 5800′ thermal conditions… Flew with Kevin, Caylee, Skip and Brian

10   no flight because insurance and bad winds..
11   30min landed in the barnyard with the Russian Serge.
12.  Wasn’t feeling it. Didn’t fly. Crap ass day… Most people got sled rides
13.  60 min. Strange day. Plenty of lift in the launch site, almost nothing out in the front except the fire cloud. Landed in the sugar cane. Strong headwind. Steep descent.


On the corner there is a little store selling candies and vegetables… My new friend can not pass the chance to buy a pastry or a candy… He gets a small bagful of square chocolates.
As we are walking down the street I hear him spitting and choking behind me… “Oh GOD! These are awful!!”
“What’s wrong?” I ask
“It’s not candy!”
I grab a piece out of his bag.
He has a small bagful of chicken bullion cubes.


Don’t brush your teeth with foot cream.
Do not put your hairbrush in the refrigerator.
Do not drive off with your phone on the hood of the car.

If I was neurotic, I would have to make lists like this… Thankfully, I have found ways to forgive myself for these bizarre indiscretions. Had it gone unnoticed, I might be tempted to keep it to myself…. However, my two gentleman friends were there for the frantic cleansing portion of this episode.

I’ve had a couple of cocktails. This is not an excuse….really, it’s just a general status.
I had been trying to get to bed for about two hours and kept getting sidetracked by various things…. Rum, music, daily flying reports..Finally, I ran into my dark room, grabbed the tube on the nightstand, squeezed out the paste onto my toothbrush and began brushing in earnest.

It wasn’t minty.

 I ran back, grabbed the same tube and as I was squeezing out another glob, I realized my mistake. 
 Instead of Colgate, I somehow managed to grab the Rite Aid brand Clotrimazole.

I hope I don’t have to report that my accident on this paragliding trip was poisoning from ingesting athletes foot cream..  Try to explain that to the ER doc in broken Spanish.

Who is a paraglider pilot?

Who is a pilot? I have been considering this question myself for some time.  I have been especially considering it since living in such close quarters with the large group that I am here with now.

I have been in and around the paragliding community for about five years.

I went to Iraq as a contractor for a civilian company cleaning up ammunition supply points with a heavy concentration of unexploded and improperly stored ordnance. I didn’t care for the living conditions… lack of exercise and particularly, the horrific fare globbed on our paper plates each morning and evening not to mention the very real possibility of being rocketed, invaded, shot, or otherwise blown up…

When I returned home I had a heart full of anxiety and a pocket full of money. 
I sat with myself for a while and thought I would do something great for me…
That thing was learning to fly. I looked online to find the best place in the country to do this. That is how I came up with Eagle Paragliding in Santa Barbara. 
I went for just shy of a month and cemented my addiction.

Since then, I have only flown about 15 different sites… but have met many pilots. We certainly have one thing in common…. We love to fly.

It is for many, an addiction. For some, it’s the adrenaline, for others, it is a Zen focus. It is a dedication to concentration and decision making. The consequences of not having a strict attention to this endeavor can be  dire.
To fly well, a pilot must have accumulated a fair amount of time to developing muscle memory and building a repertoire of experience at various flying sites… Learning to read weather forecasts properly for our sport, judging the  prevailing site conditions and mapping terrain for an optimal flight. 

Those who fly are driven.

They are very often successful men.. and few of us women. A large number are airline, helicopter or glider pilots as well… Or all three! It is an expensive sport to enter… It is a financial commitment. It is a time commitment. It is a close community. 

I’m loving being around this pack of giant personalities. I feel comfortable and engaged. I may not be the Goddess of Good Behavior, but I am every moment excited and grateful for this epic adventure, the people, and glad for the opportunity to keep telling you about it.