It always looks good when you design it, Britt!

I shot these pics for Heal Goods’ website and launch as an ode to Rodney Smith, just with colorful socks…

 

 

 

 

Bikini Madness!!

 

 

Bikini madness! Yes, on Sunday it was 24 degrees on top and here are the brave, uh I mean crazy, ones!

Alex Kuczynski donated $100 for each person who showed up to the SVSEF! Way to go!

Gotta love the guy in the bikini top, right? Nice attention to detail…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

from my favorite wedding of the summer, here is Whit and Alan’s coffee table book ….

click on the bottom right hand corner icon to expand to full screen and flip through the pages like a real book!……..

 

 

 

a quick peek at a slice of Japan with 5 hours and $25…… – so it turns out I had an 11 hour layover in Tokyo on the way home.

And I was saving $20 for the taxi in Boise, but now that Aaron Beck is picking me up – I’m gonna go see what I can see….

Should have planned it a bit better and taken advantage of my 3 seats in a row on the plane for a sleep, but got stuck

watching movies again. Found a deserted corner in the Tokyo terminal for a quick cat nap until a profusely appologetic

policeman said I couldn’t sleep there. Every other word was ‘sorry’. These people are so polite, neat and orderly! How bizarre

while still being in Asia! Ok, quick 2 hour cat nap in designated area, then back out through security (hello again!) and followed

a hot tip from a Japanese stewardess : I took the train to Narita Station (round trip less than $10!) and walked to the

Temple Gardens with the fall leaf festival in full swing! (No big parties, it just means that the fall colors were in full swing)

So beautiful! Small delicate maple leaves in reds and oranges, with coy swimming in ponds with an example of every style of

Japanese pogodas from different eras. Lovely! Now, this wasn’t Tokyo proper, this was Narita – and as I strolled through the

curvey narrow lanes with miniature cars, and miniature construction cranes and minature everything, it felt like a Lego land set.

Except the Japanese edition with waving arms of ‘lucky cats’ and plastic food models and prices (thank you!) in front of restaurants.

After buying a round trip ticket for $9, and putting my heavy backpack full of brass trinkets from Nepal in the baggage storage ($3)

- I had a little over $10 left. It’s like a game. I decided to try some mystery food. I gambled on some muffin looking things with

sweet (surprise!) bean curd in them straight out of the oven. Yum! He asked where I was from and prompted me for the state -he’s

been to Idaho at one of those things where you chase the cows…. a rodeo?! how random! At the Temple Gardens? (sorry, no map

or visitor info other than just asking directions where ever I went – everyone so helpful and polite. Like ridiculously polite.)

I wandered into a Buddhist ceremony? (all I had to do was take off my shoes and put them in the blue plastic bags provided)

Huge room that echoed the chanting and the drums went right through me! Beautiful purple robes they wore and they made

an auspicious fire under huge Grecian collumn shaped chandelliers. Then everyone rushed the stage with their purses?! and

the dude in charge waved them over the fire several at a time. Hmmmm maybe a prosperity ceremony? ok, I’m in! I put my

wallet normally in my thigh pocket in my satchel bag/purse and gave it to the guy. He motioned for my camera bag, too. Good

thinking! Money lucky! money lucky! for everybody in the room!!!! Yeahy!
I did my community service of taking portraits of everybody together (so they didn’t have to rotate to take two people at a time

out of three) and made peoples’s day. One couple looked like they had just gotten married and I took a pic with their phone,

but she showed me their real wedding pics (on her phone) and said they went to Las Vegas for their honeymoon?! omg. I really

just wanted to take their picture, too, but didn’t want to be a creeper. I wished them a long and happy life. Sampled all the crazy

food items at the Temple gates, and settled on some sweet salty candy and some candied cumquats. And one more of those bean

things from the rodeo guy on the way back to the train. Oh yeah, and also wandered into what was either a cemetery or a headstone

emporium. If it was a cemetery, then they had pint sized plots, which makes sense – because every thing is pint sized here. and

profusely polite, neat and orderly. Thanks, Japan, for the quick 40 second hug.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

having a bit of a modern sterilized-Star-Wars-space-bar experience in the Singapore airport as I wander through all the

high end shops filled with very expensive stuff I don’t need (really?! a $2600 handbag? does anyone need that?) amongst

the new trendy businessmen in skinny jeans, pointy shoes and fitted jackets with spikey ‘baby dinosaur hair cuts’, alongside

tatooed tosseled-haired surfer boys in flip flops on their way to Indo – sprinkled with the impeccable queen’s English voic

e from a sexy British ‘Suri’ coming over the loudspeakers. Don’t forget the foot and calf massages if you like a little ‘pain with

your pleasure’. Oh yeah, and the SpongeBob Squarepants Christmas display (I kid you not – you can’t make this stuff up!) is really

freaking me out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Nepal, I love you so.

Started the long journey home. Was it the road construction? that turned a 5 hour bus ride to Kathmandu into 10 hours? I only
saw one guy digging one hole & trying to fill it up as we drove past right over it. Sigh. Then for some reason the bus didn’t go to
the bus station -couldn’t get through-just dropped us off in random suburbs-”last stop” the boy said. WTF? Kathmandu is CRAZY
right now – was in gridlock traffic for another couple hours in the taxi. Is this still the elections/celebrations/closures/parades?
Hard to say. I’m right here, but it’s like I’m looking at it through a shower curtain. Can’t quite make it out. The little boy from the
guesthouse waited for 5 hours for me with my name on a piece of paper at the station- the only time in my life I’ve ever had someone
waiting for me with my name on a sign. No taxi drivers know this weird hotel in Thamel (and the phone number wasn’t working?).
again, wtf. Used the taxi drivers phone to call the guesthouse in Pokhara and they called the hotel and sent the boy over to fetch
me from the street corner near the Mountain Hardware store? – at least I made it to Thamel, finally, so getting warmer. God I needed
to pee so bad. Then wandered out for dinner – and not too far away stumbled upon The Funky Buddha. Groovy. Sunday night is
‘chill / ambient’ with a DJ playing music so loud I thought I was at burning man. Kathmandu camp, apparently. Down to my last
rupees. Just enough for breakfast and a taxi ride to the airport tomorrow……..Nepal – such a dear, sweet country. Before they lost
their innocence with the royal massacre 11 years ago, it was the only country/kingdom in the world to never have been invaded or
occupied, and now it’s like they are growing up (and going off to college) with their first elections. Namaste!
some political posters (over 120 political parties in this election?!) seriously?
and this is a parade of one party that had a victory in the Pokhara district. The votes will take about 5 days to tally, but apparently, these
folks are pretty sure they came out ahead.
Oh Nepal – how I love you. One of your most endearing qualities is that you try SO HARD to please us. No judgement – you just
genuinely want to see us ‘enjoying’. So I thought it fitting that for my last meal in Kathmandu I should return to the Funky Buddha
(the logo has a buddha with headphones and the tag line ‘positive vibe’ )- and have my favorite breakfast in the world. Eggs
Bennedict. I saw it on the menu the previous night and couldn’t resist. Not quite English muffins, but perhaps baked on demand? with
love and care to look just like the photos, the hollandaise sauce was close – and it was placed before me with care and grace and a
loving genuine smile. I miss you already. There will always be a special spot in my heart for you, Nepal. Namaste.

DickiDanda and danishes

 

Matt Cone of KarmaFlights.org invited us to join them in a ceremony at the school near DickiDanda, and to attempt to fly home

via The Green Wall. This is another great site, and all the paragliders used to disrupt the kids at the school – so much so that the

kids would cut class and throw rocks at the pilots. Karmaflights turned this around and created a win/win situation. With the help

of donations (coming from mostly tandem pilots donating flights) and the tough negotiation skills of the school master, school

uniforms were bought, and now a hot lunch every day for the kids. There was a ceremony, with lots of orange flower leis, and

cookies, and tea. Matt Cone also brought danishes. So now what was once disrupting a launch site, is now enhancing and making

the world a better place. Thanks for making coffee for all us foreigners, but we had to scurry away to launch before the weather

got too active. I surfed for awhile, but couldn’t make it to the Green Wall, and landed out in a rice field. Yeahy! No more bhanda!

A taxi rolled up and offered us a deal we couldn’t refuse ($2 each) back to Pokhara, and the streets were clogged with political

parties celebrating their regional victory with parades on motorcycles.

 

That’s Andy Pag. If you haven’t seen his amazing TedX talk – it’s a must…..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aum6wRbtVZY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and a great adventure it was! Started hiking up countless stone steps under a full moon to the village, where we found a house

to crash at. We slept in the patio (with the cows?!-they are tied up, aren’t they?) and they made us some Dal Baht (sp?) that night,

and some hard boiled eggs and tea in the morning. There we scored some porters for the epic-am-I-in-a-Lord-of-the-Rings-movie

journey up more stone steps through ferns and moss covered trees and hobbit caves, then up above the tree line heather along a

knife edge sharp ridge. Nearly there. It was hard enough without my 40lb wing. What hard work for the porters! Well worth $10

with a $2 tip! The old dude was the fastest. ha. The little porter boy in training carried up some stunned chickens and rice for

dinner (uh, I think I’ll just eat my gorp). Well, the porters ended up staying the night at the hut, filled it up with smoke, and

chatted loudly and partied all night, so we slept outside under a bright full moon and the snow capped Himalayas. Very happy

with my recent purchase of a North Face knock-off down bag – rated to -20 degrees. -Because it was 10 degrees below freezing!

We woke with ice all over our bags and the most beautiful alpen glow. ever. Excited and nervous about my flight – we stuffed our

sleeping bags in our harnesses, and laid out our wings and waited for some ‘lift’. Hmmmm. Clouds. more clouds. So I took off first,

wanting to be able to fly through the spaces in the clouds without hitting a mountain, and didn’t get much lift (we were already

above the clouds at this point) and very little thermals along the way (for me). So, pretty much a straight glide. My wing is very

safe, but doesn’t have a very good glide ratio, so I’m pretty much on my own. I squeeked over the second to the last ridge (I got it,

no I don’t got it, yes I got it!), picked a good landing near a dirt road in a harvested rice padie patch away from power lines, and

changed out of my warm clothes covered in my wing while the village children giggled. This is election day, so no taxis or busses- I had

a 2 hour hike with my pack – ug – and walked with other villagers going to vote in Pokhara. Finally about 2 miles out, a friendly

store keeper gave me and my huge pack a ride- on his bicycle! I sat on the bike rack holding on tight and trying to keep my balance

while holding my already sore legs up off the ground. Thanks Bella and Jamey for including us on this awesome hike and fly

adventure! Living large!!

 

the family let us light a campfire in their courtyard

yes, the crazy white people want to go up there…

I guess we’re having chicken for dinner. sigh.

some greens are apparently coming along with us, too

they got strapped to my paraglider – and get this….Bella speaks enough Nepali to overhear my porter chatting on his cell phone

to his girlfriend (while smoking a cigarette and walking up steps)  the jist : “yeah – I got a job – so I’ll see you tomorrow. Yeah,

these crazy white people want to go to Korshon, but they don’t want to carry any of their stuff. “   Yep. that’s us.

 

the little porter boy in training carries one of the chickens for dinner. sigh.

played leapfrog with the porter carrying my wing all the way up – but I’m only carrying my water and some snacks

that will be us tomorrow!

Wow! Jamie shot this amazing shot of me right after I launched. Thank you!! very grateful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ladies night in Pokhara…. met up with Bella and the gals (mainly to plan our next adventure) and closed down the Busy Bee. The

band was hard rock complete with skinny jeans and BIG hair that they dizzingly swooshed around. Hilarious. Bummed I didn’t

bring my camera to take a video to show the kids back home. I even joined the dance pit when they played my AC/DC request!

It went all the way to ELEVEN. Uh, meaning the band stops and the doors close, and the nice policeman lets you out at eleven o clock.

 

And the adventure begins a little sooner than planned…. the drivers are all scared to leave tomorrow – things very uncertain with

Nepal’s first election coming up – (over a hundred and twenty different political parties?! seriously?! and the Maoists have been

causing trouble with enforced strikes on taxis and busses) so we are scooting out of town this afternoon. A jeep ride, a hike to a

village, spend the night, then find some porters to carry our wings, food and water for the big 2,000 meter (6,000 ft!) hike up to

Korshan in the Annapurnas, bivy in the small hut, then hopefully the weather will be favorable enough to fly back to Pokhara.

Super excited for this adventure, as this will be (hopefully) my first x-country flight. wahooooo!

 

 

WIERD. No busses or taxis – only the mopeds and the motorbikes…

 

 

 

 

 

so this should be interesting…. today is a bahnda (sp?), or forced shut down of all busses/taxis etc to protest Nepal’s first elections

coming up. Hmmm not sure I quite understand… but we have a front row seat. We are still going flying today, but instead of

hopping on a $2 paragliding bus, or a $7 taxi, we will hike up the mountain (and I’m sure there will be a cluster of porters at the

base wanting to carry my paraglider)

 

 

Everyone was in awe at the crazy Amerian girl that insisted on carrying her own paraglider.

Was she just stubborn? poor? or superhuman?

 

 

stunning backdrop to today’s flight!

 

one of the landing zones – top right by the pool and the lake. If you fall short and land in the rice fields, you owe the

farmer 500 rupes ($5) – if you overshoot it, you land in the lake. So I’ve been practicing my spot landings….