It’s my birthday. I’m turning Old Man. I’m in a fourwheel-driven crosscountry Jeep on a thinstripped road leading up, up, up the mountain.

It’s me, M, two guides and their tattooed little helper, and an italian guy who’s also supposed to strap on a saftey-seal and soar like an eagle. The Jeep is one of concentrated silence.  I’m looking over the verge. We’re so high up now it has become ridiculous. It’s to unreal to make you nervous.

We have to wait for a few minutes on the top due to strong winds. Me and M walk up to the steep end of the jump-off ground. I catch a glimpse of Merida way down there between two mountain peaks.

I get strapped to the safety-seals. My guide, Pablo, says it’s his first time as well.

His giving me instructions. As soon as the chute starts to fill with air, run for the edge. The chute is thrown, it starts to fill, I take half a step before both me and Pablo gets jerked a couple of meters back, I have a split second to think “this can’t be right?”, but then we’re picked up by the strong mountain currents and we’re away.

I can’t describe it as anything else than peaceful. I compare it to meditation although I’ve never tried it. We’re up, away, a roaring river beneath looking like a line of spit, the city of San Jose like a puzzle.

We hardly say a word during the forty minute flight. It’s unnescessary.

After the flight, on our way back to Merida we stop at Pablo’s little childhood village and after a few beers everybody becomes a lot more talkative. After a while M gets nervous, she’s wondering who’s gonna drive us home and when she raises her concerns with Pablo he only half-jokingly dangle the car-keys in front of her, galantly offering her to shoulder the part of the designated driver.

M:s pissed off, Pablo is a little bit ashamed and grabs a couple of Pilsen for the road and off we go.

The whole way home Pablo talks about how much it would cost him in bribes if there was a police check-point along the way, and also stressing the dangers of south-american traffic in general and Venezuelan traffic in specific.

Then he smiles and swipes a gulp from the 90% saliva remainders of his last Pilsen.

And poof, just like that, we’re home.


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