Thursday, January 6, 2011

Traveling time again

Well I'm finally in Roldanillo, after about 20 hours of traveling and connections.  The first thing I noticed when I stepped off the plane in Panama City is how warm and humid it is!  Compared to Vancouver at 8C, it's about 25C but feels more like 30C with the moisture.  I immediately feel like I'm on vacation, and I haven't even gotten to Colombia yet!

The plane ride to Pereira was short and Andreas was at the airport to greet me and take me to Roldanillo.  It's apparently quite easy to get from the airport to Roldanillo but since it's my first time in Colombia, I thought I'd do it the easy but more expensive way until I get myself sorted out.

Oh yeah, the pineapple here is superb!  Andreas and I stopped at a roadside pineapple plantation (the trees were behind the store) and the folks cut us some pineapple to munch on during the ride.  Much sweeter and juicier than the stuff we get up North.  I may have to have one every day while I'm down here :)

Pretty much everyone is here already; there are 4 Canucks here for the comps: Amir, Jim Orava, Pawel, and myself.  Plus the Americans are here and also a bunch of Europeans.  And of course it's Colombian pilots all over the place.

Those who were here yesterday had good flying today.  Some of the Americans did a 60km triangle while others buzzed 20km back and forth getting used to the place.  Cloudbase is lower than last year (so I've been told: 2600m vs. 3200+) due to the very wet weather recently.  There have been many mudslides, flooded roads, sinkholes, etc.  Many fields are green instead of brown, and I've already heard stories of pilots on final to a green field, only to find out it's flooded and they're about to land ankle-deep in water.  So the message is: land in brown fields, or land on a green bump and then walk down so you stay dry.

Roldanillo is small enough to walk around in, smaller than Valle de Bravo and Governador Valadares.  It's a 5 minute walk from my hotel to the town square where we get our rides up to launch (it's a morning site so no sleeping in allowed on this trip!), HQ, and all the foodstalls and general nightlife.  Pilots and gliderbags sitting in doorways are everywhere, and banners hung everywhere welcoming pilots to both comps.  The town is certainly behind these events!

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