Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Piano Man

The Piano Man

"Piano," is the local term for a "sledder" here in Mexico. There are various theories as to how this therm came to be. I like JK's version the best so far. He read that it's the sound of the keyboard stroked from the high notes to low, simulating a rapid decent from a lofty perch to the dirt. It stands to reason that most pilots in Central America would not think first of an analogy relating to snow.

I got the most pianos on this trip but they were extended rock-n-roll scratch-fests with the occasional teaser - dragging me back and taunting me with hope.

The launch was closed or at least that's what we had deciphered from the foreman on Sunday.  We planned other adventures to occupy our time.

Monday night we met up with our new amigos, Richard and Chantal. They took us to a Japanese restaurant. Yup, I thought the same thing… Japanese food in Mexico!

Well, the sushi was pretty darn tasty with a great melody of stir fried vegetables. Even the octopus was tender and well flavored.  Our conversations continued from the "night of dice" like they never ended. Then, Richard said he was going to launch in the morning to check on the progress. We were in. And so were our wings (just in case).

The next morning we headed to launch. JK and I were the only two with bags. Richard had a dentist appointment. The Mayor was already at the dentist. Pierre was not planning to fly. Chantal stayed home to avoid excessive testosterone.

Launch was filled with workers; more than we had seen all week.  They were spread out working on several piles. Now if Paul is the Mayor, then Richard is the Governor.  He was talking to the head supervisor. As he shook his hand, he turned, smirked our way and said, "Get your gear and go!"

JK and I ran to his Jeep. When we walked back to launch the rebar was gone and twelve Mexicans were shoveling away the big pile that we had been skirting all week.

We launched. Of course, JK got up. I  scratched my way up and got hammered down several times. I finally had enough and "played the piano" to Piscila.  I grabbed the bus back to the hotel. Darn it! I was hoping for a bit more.  Tomorrow will be our last day.

Our last flight in Mexico (for JK & me).  With a newly cleared launch, JK went first and of course got up and out.  I launched after Pierre, yielded and got off without a hitch and without a beep.  I struggled around getting next to nothing. Of course a look at my track log proved that there's room for great improvement.  It's frustrating to see someone grabbing a thermal right where you were hovering, at least on the track log overlay.

The highlight of my last flight (on this trip anyway), was that the Governor of  Colima, Richard (not the lowly Mayor), landed right next to me at the bomb-out LZ. It was a piano duet with a great partner.

As frustrated as I can be, I have learned a lot here in Mexico; a little Spanish, which I will improve upon and flying diagnostics that made my head spin (but at least, hopefully in the right direction). Although Colima is not a big XC site, it has every element required to perfect cross-country skills. It is an excellent training ground. 

I am hoping the Governor of Colima and his lovely wife Chantal will visit us soon, because, "We'll be Back!"  Oh,  Richard (just in case you're reading this), I will be buying six dice and waiting for your trip to Hawaii. We might even add the Polynesian translation of your rule book!

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