From the rugged roads of the Pantanal we made our way to the capital city of Brasilia. This sophisticated city of modern design is only a few years older than I. In 1960 it was built specially to be the new capital of Brazil. It houses the three branches of government in a more central location designed to create a more ‘neutral’ federal reality. At the time, most of the national resources and population were located in the southeastern region along the Atlantic coast. The design and layout of the city is fascinating and is quite the study of the socio-economic-political realities of Brazil and her people.
We took full advantage of a place with ‘real’ hotels – complete with fresh towels, swimming pools, hand made Caipirinhas, (a Brazilian national cocktail made of cachaça and lime), high-speed internet connections, crisp clean sheets and toilet paper – yes, plenty of toilet paper.
After spending time by the swimming pool at the Royal Tulip Inn – located just next door to the Presidential Palace, and taking time to explore the city sights, we set out to hang glide. Jorge had been dreaming of this flight for months now.
First stop for anyone in Brasília with a desire to fly – Beto Schmidt’s house! Beto and Jorge had been communicating via Facebook for some time and now, here we were…loaded up and following his VW van to the hills in Goiás. Beto and Karla are very passionate about the sport and Beto’s willingness to share his expertise means that pilots from around the world come to learn both the basics and the details of long cross county flights.
Flights here often end with a landing in downtown Brasilia in the main park along the federal buildings, similar to our National Mall in the US. Knowing this, Jorge and I made a plan – if the radios worked, he would make his way to the center of the city. If they did not work, he would stay around the launch site and enjoy the flight here landing in one of the nearby farms. Our radios are the connection between driver and pilot. In our familiar flying sites back home, I can usual predict where he will fly and where he is most likely to land…I am never far behind with a cold beer and the truck even if the radio fails. Without the ability to communicate with each other it would have been difficult to enjoy the day in this very unfamiliar territory…so our plan was designed to put us both at ease allowing him to enjoy the flying and me to enjoy the sun on the hill. We checked and re-checked the connection. Everything was working.
About fifteen pilots joined us that day. Each setting up and taking turns launching into cloud streets forming overhead. One by one they began their tasks. Some were having the first or second flight of their careers, while others were taking off with plenty of experience and far away landing intentions. As Jorge launched, we were both excited for him to realize another one of his bucket list dreams. I snapped a few photos and headed back to the truck to get my radio.
I called to Jorge with the normal, ‘Jorge, do you copy?’ No response. For those of you who know us, you won’t be surprised – Jorge’s radio did not seem to be working. (Yes, Martin…we can hear you chuckling!) I tried a couple of times. He tried a couple of times. This glitch wasn’t going to get in the way of the day’s fun. He flew higher and higher, soared along the edge, had some terrific low saves and thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful day, all the while knowing that our plan would mean no center of the city landing. After several hours of gleeful flying, he landed in a nearby field, satisfied and with a smile on his face. After all, it isn’t every day that you get to fly in freaking Brazil! I am sure we will return to this spot. He will certainly continue to yearn for that perfect landing on the Brazilian National Mall!
Today’s theme – Enjoy every moment, because each is unique.