Past, present, and future flights, meeting times & places, theory.

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Postby Andy P » Fri Jan 27, 2006 8:29 pm

First thanks to Chris and Tom for getting the forum back up and running!! Colombia...Well I flew at least once every day, and I think the shortest flight I had was more than one hour. It was more a question of how long we wanted to fly and not how long could we fly. Bob would have had the same number of flights as me, but he decided he would rather become a Colombian land owner than get that last 3 hour ridge/thermal session the evening before we were to leave. Everyday I made cloud base or higher, I don't know what could have been better. Well maybe another week in the company of Richi, Annie, and all the pilots we had the pleasure of meeting and flying with in Colombia. Despite my muy malo espanol I was able to share in the language of flight with the locals and even got to be good friends with many of the local chullos. Chullos are the Colombian vulture, and amazing flying buddies. They are about the size of a Turkey Vulture, maybe a bit smaller, and have a darker head. They tend to fly in groups sometimes numbering up to 40 in a gaggle, and there glide speed was amazingly close to my wing. This made it easy for me to track them up in thermals and then chasing to the next thermal. I was coined el gordo chullo by Randal. Not a bad nickname, and considering the amount of meat I ate-(cooked), probably apropos.
Colombia is different from the US, in many ways for the better. The people were very friendly, they seemed quite happy, even if the were living in what we would call poverty. But poverty was not as abundant as I would have thought. We saw only a small part of the country, but it was not much different from many US cities. There were high rise buildings, costco-like stores, many restaurants, niteclubs, country clubs, parks, and for the most part the infrastructure was in good repair. One of the confusing things for me was the roadways. They are not laid out on a grid system per se, but more along a geographic outlay following the contours of the land. The only absolute when on the roads according to Richi are the stopLIGHTS. Everything else is but a suggestion. Therefore the center lines and stop signs and speed limits are only obeyed when pertinent to avoiding a collision, but as Richi stated nobody drives much over 30 mph so collisions are not as frequent as I would have guessed. The healthcare seems very current, We saw at least two very large hospitals in Bucaramanga, and many clinics. Ambulances were the only vehicles I saw using a siren. We also saw many Veteranarian clinics-Ron- and the animals seem well cared for and owned by most of the people. We saw poodles and terriers with their nose out the windows of many cars.
Travel was easy, except for a couple of lost tickets, and a plane that didn't make it to Bogata in time to return us to Miami to make our connections, so we spent an extra night in Miami, but it just added to the flavor of the trip.
I hope to join Bob and Sara in Colombia, but as an apartment owner in the city. I will enjoy going to his launch site to fly the Chicamucha canyon and his Eagles Peak Casa.
Hopefully the flying will get good here.
Andy P

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