No, not me. I wasn’t the devil. I encountered the devil.
Over the weekend, I met with a harrowing incident. I should count myself so lucky to escape with just trauma to the head that (so far) appears to bring nothing more than intermittent headaches, and some bruises on my back and legs. Nothing broken or punctured. Still alive.
We went on a hang gliding introductory course. Since it’s an intro course, there were no planes involved and we didn’t take off from the air. Instead, we start off from the ground, carrying the hang glider and running till the wind catches in the sail. Once that happens, we will lift off from the ground and fly for a bit (just a few seconds, if that) before landing.
Sounds pretty safe, yeah? I mean, how high can you fly when starting from the ground right? Most people didn’t even really leave the ground. Whenever Fu bended his knees to lift his feet off the ground in an attempt to fly, he would immediately be pulled back downwards as if there were super strong neodymium magnets stuck on both his butt and the ground.
As for me, I was the opposite. I lifted easily – almost too easily – and it should be a happy thing, except I had exceptionally bad luck -_-
I met with the devil.
The dust devil, that is.
A dust devil is a strong, well-formed, and relatively long-lived whirlwind, ranging from small (half a meter wide and a few meters tall) to large (more than 10 meters wide and more than 1000 meters tall). Dust devils are usually harmless, but can on rare occasions grow large enough to pose a threat to both people and property.
Dust devils are actually useful for seasoned hang gliders as they use it to carry themselves to higher altitudes. But for a newbie like me? SHITTY.
The instructor was very stunned as well. In all his years of teaching the intro course, it had never happened before. FML.
I put together the clips of my final flight (drama much? lol). It’s quite ugly because the @(*&#! editing program is not cooperating. And my head is starting to hurt. So just watch it la.
The video might look quite anti-climatic. When I watched it, I was like “HUH? That’s how it looks like?! It was so bloody turbulent and seemed to last forever for me!!!” But the force at which we (hang glider and me) hit the ground was definitely big because the hang glider broke.
That metal structure, very sturdy and hardy, designed to carry people through the skies at much higher speeds and altitudes, actually BROKE.
On hindsight, it was actually a very dangerous situation. I could have ended up on the wrong side of the broken pole, and well… I’ll leave you to imagine what state I would be in. Fu keeps saying “你的命是捡回来的！” Yeah, I guess really did pick my life back from the hands of the devil.
By the way, the whole life-flash-before-your-eyes thing is so overrated.
This is a pretty accurate account of what went through my head:
“Oh my god. We’re going out of control!”
“How will I land? I hope it won’t hurt too much!”
“I really prefer not to break anything. Or bleed too much.”
“We’re finally on the ground!
I hit the ground on my side and was dragged along by the force of the impact. As the sound of ground scraping against the helmet thundered in my ear drums, the one sole thought in my mind was
“THANK GOD FOR HELMETS.”
Sorry darling (and my other loved ones) I wasn’t thinking of you all in what possibly might have been my last moments. Not trying to make excuses, but I don’t think anyone actually does, honestly. There’s simply no time. Lol.
When I finally came to a stop, I just lay on the ground, paralyzed by the immense pain in my neck and head. It felt like someone ran a truck into the left side of my face. I was worried something might be broken and gingerly checked with my hand that I managed to locate and get to work. Fortunately everything was intact.
After standing up, I realized I lost both shoes somewhere along the way. At the same time, I wondered why I didn’t use my hand to shield my face. Then I wondered if I should retrieve hii-chan from the mess. But didn’t because I thought Fu might chastise me lol. Really random thoughts.
The funny thing is, when I flew up, everyone clapped and cheered. Even when I flopped to ground like a dead bird, Fu still didn’t think much of it -_- It wasn’t till when I laid unmoving on the ground that he started to panic.
Today is day 3 and Fu is still very worried. In some instances of head trauma, symptoms take several days to appear so he keeps asking me if I have headaches, if I feel dizzy, nauseated or have blurred vision. Things have been ok so far and hopefully will continue to be!
Suffice to say, this is our first and last time hang gliding. Not only because of what I experienced, but it was a lot of work for very little enjoyment. It’s hook in, run, fly for a few seconds. Unhook, push glider back for a lot longer than a few seconds. Rinse and repeat. And all in the blazing hot sun -__-
Goodbye hang gliding. I should leave flying to the birds. Flying is not meant for me.
ps: When looking at video stills, I noticed I strangely look as if I’m laughing and having fun (?!!) as I’m falling. I remember screaming. I think I’m going slightly insane.