During lunch following whitewater rafting on the Rio Pastaza outside Baños, Ecuador, I found myself nodding in agreement without having a chance to think through what I was getting into. My buddy and I had expressed some casual interest when our rafting guide mentioned having a friend who was getting into parasailing. The next thing we knew, the guide was on the phone, and we were scheduled to fly.
Within a couple hours, I was being harnessed into a seat with a complete stranger who would control my fate. None of the normal tour-excursion formalities occurred in this amateurish operation: Our names were not asked; waivers were not signed; passport numbers were not collected. We simply handed over $50, and were set to jump off the side of a mountain.
At least I was given a motorcycle helmet to wear…
For 45 minutes, my adrenaline was sky-high as we drifted on thermals several-hundred-feet up, taking in the patchwork farmland, mountains, and city. I wore a perma-grin the entire time.
local bus playing 3 rounds of Rambo (dubbed in Spanish, of course) and stuck in traffic. While asking the question "are we there yet" an indigenous woman in grandmotherly gray pigtails hopped on the bus and started selling ice cream cones to squirmy passengers!!