The Big Jump

Trip Start Jan 20, 2004
Trip End Feb 01, 2005

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I had been looking forward to this ever since Cusco, and that was a long time ago.

I`m not much of a jockey
Why I continue to pursue horseriding as a leisure activity I don`t know. Right back to when I was riding Angela Turlan`s horses next door when I was a kid, they never wanted to move for me. About the only time I moved was when I fell off Phoebe as she was running for home.

So my ex-polo playing white with grey speckles all over Paloma, was just the same. Firstly we had to ride with the reins in one hand as that is how the horses were trained. It was a bit weird. But then she didn`t want to move, despite my coaxing, digs in the ribs and "vamos". The whole day she wanted to be at the back, although I wasn`t complaining when there was the very sexy polo playing Juan being the tailender guide. I think Paloma wanted to ride next to him because she used to be his polo horse until she got too old. Juan tells me that she was very fast, but I think she was content to be in retirement. Juan even made me a crop from a sapling to tickle her behind with but my thoughts were on other uses.....

When we started to run, I was actually wanting her to go back to retirement pace of a slow walk. I thought I was going to bounce off, and though it wasn`t as life threatening as being bounced off a bike over the Death Road, I didn`t want to bounce off. It is a widely known fact that I have no rhythm, so I was just bouncing around in the saddle, which had a nice sheepskin cover for the relief of my bouncing bottom.

The views were fantastic, it was a nice sunny day and there was lots of good company. A couple of the horses were being uncooperative, more so than Paloma, and so the riders changed.

After the ride, we had an asado, or a big Argentinian barbeque, at the estancia. It was amazing. I am so convinced that the happiest and best fed cows live in Argentina. The meat just kept coming around bit by bit, like yum-cha, and I couldn`t say no! We had a siesta time although the grass was a bit patchy so when I lay down I came up dirty and with ants crawling over me.

Fiesta Espanola
The crazy Spanish guys, Justin and Jota, organised a little Fiesta Espanola at the hostel. Basically all it involved was lots of red cask wine mixed with Coke (yes, and you think I'm weird drinking red cordial and Coke - oh how I do miss my drink of choice and when I get home there will be lots of red cordial shots happening!) and then just banter and whatever. That this was all in Spanish was even more interesting. I did get most of the jokes, but some did fly straight on over, but then that is normal for me.

These two Spanish guys were quite crazy. Loco is the word. Son locos. They would say "Fondo blanco" and then everyone would have to skull their drink. I refused to skull my last glass of Coke and people were trying to chink my glass so that I would have to do it and I got loud and shouted "No tocas mi vaso" Don't touch my glass.

Anyway, the banter was rolling and when Justin was kind of motioning to take his top off I challenged him to do it, and he said he would if I would. So I whipped off my top to their amazement. Jokingly they said "And what about the rest". They didn't realise that they should not say things like that to me when I am in a silly mood as I am apt to do silly things. So I also whipped off my skirt quick as a flash and sat back down in my chair in just my underwear for a minute before getting dressed again.

Things started to go downhill and Lucas the Hostel Guy told us the party would have to finish at 1am as there were people in the surrounding highrises looking down at us being stupendously noisy on the roof of the hostel. So I decided to make my exit and get some zzz's. Justin and Jota followed me down and Jota (who I had, sillily again, kissed the previous night) was trying to get me to go out to his tent pitched in the backyard (if you get a dirty thought at that I didn't mean it that way and you should get your mind out of the gutter). He was hassling me and then said that he would stay in my bed and I told him no, I'm going to bed in my bed by myself.

I shut the dorm door and 2 seconds later there was a splinteringly violent punch on the door. I opened it to see Jota standing there trying to pin the blame on someone else. I shut the door again and this time locked it. 20 seconds later there were two more splintering punches, but I didn't open the door for fear that my nose would be the next target. I waited 30 seconds and in this time the Peruvian guy had jumped out of bed and was getting het up. I opened the door to find Lucas the Hostel Guy wanting to know what had happened. I told him and then the Peruvian started going on about how he should call the cops etc etc.

Finally, I was turning towards my bed when this little piece of excrement said that it was my fault that Jota had punched the door. Now that got on my goat and I snapped. This guy had been annoying every female in the hostel touching and feeling them and not leaving them alone and he had sleazed onto me a day or two earlier. Plus, he had moved rooms for one night because the other room was too hot in the morning (when he would have been checking out anyway). So I let it fly.

I have not been this angry or fought like this for a very, very long time. He was basically accusing me of being a tart and that my laughing and joking with everyone at the "fiesta" was an invitation for Jota to come and punch my door and wake everyone else up. So I told the short, balding little twit exactly where he could go, and I didn't care that I was roaring and probably everyone in the dorms around ours could have heard. Chauvinist pig. Flaming latinos. No more.

Anyway, he further annoyed me by turning the fan off as it was too noisy. So I told him to turn it back on and I think he may have been afraid that he would wake up with a horse's head in his bed or something, so he turned it on without complaint.

Ever since a couple of Israeli's in Cusco told me that skydiving was cheapest in Cordoba I wanted to do it and was looking forward to it. For 280 pesos, or AUD$120 I could jump out of a plane.

I booked it for "Monday or Tuesday" and was told to wait for a phone call at 12 noon on Monday to confirm when I would jump. I waited until 2pm before ringing the place and was told that they would ring me back at 5pm. I got the call to say that they were waiting for me and to jump in a taxi ASAP. So after 5 months of thinking about it I still felt disorganised in my head.

I used the taxi time to the aerodrome to relax and breathe deeply and just look forward to a new experience. I think I relaxed myself in the most laid back, tranquil mood I've ever been in.

My instructor Daniel, showed me what I had to do in the plane (after jokingly saying it was his first jump too), and how it would work, then I saw a video and they tried to upsell the video to me but I was adamant that I didnīt want one as I wanted to savour the experience rather than having some guy jumping in front of me with a video camera. I signed my disclaimer and was suited up in my lovely white jumpsuit. Daniel then hooked the harness on and started pulling at the straps until my fat rolls were pressed into big bubbles between the harness and I was hunched over like an old granny.

Then we were up in the plane, sitting in the back and climbing higher and higher in little circles. The view over Córdoba was great, but it was quite small, despite having a population of over a million.

I was sitting back so relaxed and breathing very slowly. Danielīs breathing was much faster than mine, and I just felt truly relaxed and calm. The pilot threw open the door of the plane at 2,500m and we inched to the door. I sat with my feet over the edge and my arms crossed. I heard Daniel say in my ear "uno, dos, tres, saltar" and we were off! The sensation of speed and movement stopped after we were righted and I was face down looking at the scenery. I donīt remember much during the 30 seconds of freefall except that I opened my mouth in awe and felt it drying out so I closed it again.

Daniel let the chute out and all of a sudden we stopped and I was yanked from a horizontal to a vertical position and the harness straps were killing me! I let out an involuntary whoop which sounded like from another person far away as my ears hadnīt popped. Daniel was making me clap which only made the harness hurt more, but as we circled over the ground it was a fantastic feeling of flying.

We rounded on our target and landed with perfection after about 5 minutes of parachuting. I was so pysched!! It was a great experience and I will definitely do it again! I kind of surprised myself at how I did it as I wasnīt scard at all!

Things I Learned
* You should always wear a supportive bra when horseriding, even if you only have small boobs.
* Be careful about kissing boys in the same hostel
* Cordoba is hot and boring
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