So for the first time this year, Canada is doing a remarkable job at PISSING ME OFF. An hour and a half on the bus and the SkyTrain to Coquitlam to attend a West Coast Soaring Club meeting, which is only held once a month and I’ve missed the two previous months because of my work schedule.
What came out of it? Nice folks, for the few of them who showed up. But that’s the only positive thing I could find about the whole endeavor. Basically, I’m screwed. I haven’t flown seriously for almost two years. I’m dying to fly. I need to fly. I have to fly. I must fly. And I guess it’s tough luck for now.
It seems like Vancouver isn’t such a good place to paraglide after all, unless one owns a car and has a nice bank account. I have neither. In order to fly around here, I’d have to get a yearly HPAC membership. k-ching! $140.00. Then I’d have to get the Club’s membership, to make friends and – maybe – find rides. k-ching! $45.00. Then I must get a landing pass for some of the club-maintained sites. k-ching! $50.00. And then maybe even a donation for some guy’s wind-talker somewhere… Yeah right… And what do I get out of this? Not much. All of the flying sites are 1 ½ to 2 hours away. Without a car, pretty darn hard to get there.
And then there’s Grouse Mountain. Except that for Grouse, you must be a member of the local elite society, have an advanced level (which I am short of by 60 flights), get a flight check by one of the members somewhere else, and then fly as a guest, with a member, on a leash, for a season, before being put on the list! And that’s the only site at which I could’ve flown regularly without a car.
People! Get a life! Flying in Canada is now just like flying in the States. No, actually, it seems even more complicated! I’ve had great flying down there. But here, where’s the freedom? Where’s the fun? Where’s improvisation? Where’s exploration? And our country is supposed to be the land of wide open spaces???
God how I miss St-André-les-Alpes, and Castejón de Sos, and Bagnère de Luchon, and Chamonix, and Füssen, and the Point of the Mountain, and the Dominican Republic, and even the Dumps in San Francisco! Flying in all those places was magic, and it was simple. Unregulated for most, paragliding-friendly for the rest.
Canada and BC, on the other hand, sound so far like a freakin’ headache.
So maybe I won’t stay here after all. My move to Vancouver was always conditional to being able to fly. It doesn’t seem to be happening this year. I’ll have to take a vacation and go fly somewhere else, some place where paragliding is still what it should be: a celebration of freedom and adventure.
And an hour and a half on the bus and SkyTrain back home.