Author: Mike Christianson (Pilot Extraordinaire)

For those of you that don't know, I decided that I wouldn't survive the winter in Vancouver without chilling on the beach for a while. Mental health reasons. Everything was put in storage, (thanks Mom), I gave up the 37th street house, skipped out on all my responsibilities, (better to be broke on the beach than broke in Vancouver!) and opted for the life of leisure. The only problem now is that I'm living on the Turkish equivalent of Kraft dinner and I don't know how I'm going to get home.

I left Vancouver mid September, of course to follow a young thing over to Europe. (Shouldn't they tell you when they have a boyfriend?) If I ever talk about doing this in the future you all have my permission to hit me upside the head and knock some sense into me! Oh! I am such a slave to my !%&?'&!+. One day I'll learn.

After that little test of character I hung out in Zurich and France with some friends for a while. I had arranged to meet a crazy Iranian friend of mine (doctor Amir) in South Turkey. Did you ever read the book or see the movie "Fear and loathing in Las Vegas" by Hunter s. Thompson. The main character travels on a road trip with his own personal doctor who takes very good care of his mental state with the help of a little psycho therapy and some very interesting pharmaceuticals. I am in very good hands! Sort of!

We've spent the last month in Oludinez, Turkey. This is the paragliding center of the world. Actually it's the beach resort town where they filmed that cheesy, classic "The Blue Lagoon" with Brooke Shields. The mountains rise directly up from the sea to 7000 feet. This allows us to fly over the sea with enough altitude to try some "funky advanced maneuvers" that will scare the shit out of you. Things that you wouldn't dare try over very hard earth. Actually, in reality, if I hit the water at 120 kph I'd be just as dead. Oh! How I like to scare myself! It helps me put everything else in perspective. Why worry about my financial disasters when I can worry about bouncing off the planet a little too hard!

There is a very fine line between confidence and arrogance. I crossed that line last week. I took part in an advanced maneuver course and pushed my paraglider to the limit. Yesterday I had the greatest flight of my paragliding career. I spent half the day thermalling and a couple of hours soaring over the beach. Amazing! But upon landing in a very strong breeze I had a bit of an incident.

For you paragliders -I was playing with the stall point of my wing and went negative 30m over the beach. For you non-paragliders, I was on my final approach to land, half of my glider's wing collapsed and sent me spinning into the ground. This wouldn't have been that bad but the problem was that there was a restaurant/bar directly behind me (ironically named the HELP bar).

I came out of the spin and flew into the bar at about 60 kph. My lines hit the sheet metal roof and sliced them clean off. I continued with this newfound speed and took out a few tables and chairs and scared the shit out of the patrons. One woman was so upset she burst into tears and left the bar! When I came to a stop I still had my controls and risers in my hands while my wing was about sixty meters behind the bar in a tree. The first thing that came out of my mouth was "Two beer please!"

The whole town is still laughing. Ambulances arrived and my paragliding friend who happens to be a doctor checked me out. X-rays show a fractured elbow, possible fractured hip, no skin left on my shin or elbow. Oh yeah, and a very bruised ego. Don't worry too much it will all heal nicely.

They released me from the hospital and of course I went directly to the bar to numb the pain. As punishment my paragliding friends forced me to hang my broken lines and risers around my neck the whole night. Every drink I had was taken care of.

I have never received so much attention from the women in town. I'm sure I would have gotten lucky, but what would I have been capable of in bed? "Come on baby, let's get in on, just don't touch the right side of my body". Oh! The irony of it all! Everyone, upon seeing me appropriately shouts, "HELP !!!!".

Ps. my brakes and risers have found a new home. Hanging on the Help Bar sign for all to see.

I'll see you all soon

Mike Christianson
Fly Hard, Party harder.