Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bad weather coming in

Today, the sky turned dark and we heard thunder in the distance. That meant that there would be no proper flying, so we just flew down to the landing field next to the city.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tricky day

The take off seen from above.

Gliding out south.

I landed close to a house on the countryside.

The nice man who gave us a ride.

Today, the flying was trickier, with few thermals due to high cirrus clouds casting shade. Nevertheless, I and a few other pilots scratched around in the little lift we could find, staying up for almost two and a half hours. When I landed, I had only covered 18 kilometers from start, but it was still a nice, if challenging, experience.
The British pilot Doug landed close to me, so together we hitchhiked back with a friendly Brazilian gentleman.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

What a wonderful flight

What a flight! I took off at 13.31 and after ten minutes of thermalling, reached cloud base (the under-side of the clouds). From here, I glided south to start my first cross country flight in Brazil, and my first flight ever with my new wing.

After a while, I several other pilots from the course joined me, and the flying guide Jean-Francois (Canadian). Together, we continued looking for new thermals to lift us up in the sky.
This way, we glided south, gliding from thermal (hot air going up and taking us with it) to thermal. Often, we had company with the local vultures, who are a great help in locating the thermals.

After three and a half hours of flying, Jean-Francois, Jim (British) and me landed next to the village Dom Cavati, 57 kilometers from where we started. What a wonderful experience!
We missed the bus back with ten minutes, but that gave us an excuse to sit down at a café and drink landing beer. Another bus eventually showed up.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

In Brazil

Wow, that was a long journey. I started from Jerusalem 02.45 in the morning with a shuttle bus to the airport outside Tel Aviv. Then a flight at 06.30 to Madrid. From there, another grueling 10+ hour flight to Rio de Janeiro. From here, I took a night bus together with a bunch of British paragliders to Governador Valadares, arriving around 8-8.30 in the morning local time (12-12.30 Jerusalem time). Phew.

But now I am here! Why? To write a story about the paragliding here, and to attend a course in cross country flying, where you take off from a mountain and try to fly as far as you can.

Today, the weather was not cooperative, and we were all tired after the journey, so no flying.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Peas in the north

I wish I could have had the headline Peace in the north, but peas will have to do.
Today I drove to two villages outside Jenin to take photos of snow peas being cultivated in green houses there. This is all part of ANERA’s Food Security Program, where we train farmers in producing high quality vegetables, and help their cooperatives to set up contacts for export. They also receive the actual green houses.
I went with our colleague Naser, and luckily, Femke could join too. It was a nice day out in the field.

Bean seedling in a nursery

Pea flower in a green house

A happy farmer, benefitting from the program.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Hypoxia another year!

Yes! Tonight, I got to know that I will work as the editor of Sweden's paragliding magazine Hypoxia for at least another year. I am so happy with that – I really enjoy doing this.

The next issue of the magazine is at the printing shop now, it should come out in the end of February.

Mother on visit

The last few days, my Mother has been here, visiting us. It is nice to see here again! We have been walking in the Old City, visiting museums and doing excursions. She joined me when I went up to the little village Bardala in the Northern Jordan Valley. ANERA is building a girls school there, and I went up to take some photos. While I was working, my Mother was invited to drink coffee with the local women.

We also drove down to the Dead Sea, and walked in the little nature reserve Ein Gedi. Here, we saw lots of ibex (a kind of desert-mountain goat/gazelle) and hyrax (think huge guinea-pigs). All very cute. I will try to upload some photos later.

We have also enjoyed some nice meals together, both at home, and at restaurants like Mona’s and the sushi place.