My father likes to tell that when I was a kid he would say "Jamie do you want to go?" and I would say sure and not even ask where we were going until we were in the car on the way. So, I guess nothing has changed ;-). Dustin called me a week ago and said hey, come to Ecuador with us! Without thinking twice, I had a ticket to Guayaquil. I didn't learn much about where we were going or what we were doing until we were on the plane crossing over Cuba.
We've been here now for three days, staying in Guayaquil for a few days of local flying. Raul Gurerra is the key player in the Guayaquil hang gliding scene. There aren't many pilots in the area, but Raul is the main (maybe only) instructor and he is doing quite a lot to try to grow the sport. They have a small group of pilots (probably 8 or 10) and an Airborne trike that they use to tow out of small airstrip on th edge of the city of about 3 million people. Also, just 2 weeks ago, they were able to secure a foot launch site very near the airstrip and bulldozed and nice little patch to land on below. The launch is low (about 200 meters) so you really just get one shot at it. But it is a fairly consistent site and if you can get up a little you can bench up to the higher hills behind and have a great view of the city. We flew there two days in very very light conditions which I totally love because it is perfect for me and my Litesport. Many of the flights were no more than 15 or 20 minutes of scratching. But yesterday, after bombing out 3 times in a row Dusty managed to kick all of our asses and get up and back on the high hills. Finally he was happy!
Now we are on the road driving to Canoa Beach for the ridge racing competition. Everyone tells me it is a beautiful beach site with a 30something kilometer ridge you can cruise up and down all day. They've held this comp for several years now - Kevin won last year, Betinho the year before and Raul the year before that. Dustin is determined to win it this year ;-). It isn't a huge comp (yet) but they are hoping to draw more a more pilots every year. This year we are 4 from the US, there are a few from Peru, a few from Colombia and of course the Ecuadorians.
I couldn't be having a better time - my favorite south/central Americans are here, Raul and Mike Glennon who I met many years ago at Wallaby Ranch and have loved seeing every year at the Florida and Texas meets. They are incredible hosts and when I told them I felt like a princess here they said "No way! You're the queen!". Its fun to be a girl in hang gliding ;-))
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