My trip to Switzerland in 2006 was amazing. It was interesting to see the vast startling contrast between America and the Swiss, which was exaggerated by my choice for departure from JFK. JFK is in a serious state of disrepair, it always feels like a war zone down there. The people who work there have seriously negative attitudes and I can only imagine what most of the airlines that fly through there think. Case in point our departing plane had been at the gate all day, but no one had some to clean it so we were 30 minutes late in boarding. Once we boarded there was no ground crew to see us off, so there was another hour we had to wait. This was a huge international flight as well with maybe 200 people on it, not just a puddle jumper. Everything in Switzerland was very nice and new and clean. The public transportation was amazing, I never found myself waiting more than 10 minutes for a train or a bus and the buses were all free. When I got back to NYC and had to get in my car and drive through rush hour NYC traffic you really start to appreciate how different America is from other countries in the world.
As I got off the plane in Nassau in 2005 and was going through a motorized revolving door it abruptly came to a halt and I walked right into it. It took me a minute to realize I was bleeding all over the place from a cut on my head. This was pretty indicative of how the entire trip was going to go. John and I arrived early enough to head out on the water, the winds were marginal so I took the 17 Speed and the Flydoor. The winds were so marginal I got blown downwind for about 3 miles. There was not enough wind to jump so I just rode as best I could. John tried to go out on his 9 foil but there was not enough power to get up. At one point he crashed the kite into the middle of the road and the cars honked at him. I walked for about an hour then caught a ride back the last mile or so with a pickup truck full of construction workers. The buffet dinner at Orange Hill was spectacular even though the breakfast and lunch was pretty nominal. It was all you can eat for $20 and John and I gorged ourselves and went to bed at 7:41PM.
The following is an account of 12 days I spent in the DR in 2004 with Kyle where I was desperately trying to learn to kite.
What day is it, I can’t remember and I don’t care. One day blurs into another. Eat, sleep, kite that has become the routine. I can’t remember why I do the eating and sleeping anymore except that I can’t kite if I don’t do the other two. I feel like I’m in a movie, beautiful women everywhere, there is sun and sand and little local DR kids that grab your kite and walk it back up the beach for you for 50 pesos. I’m making these kids downright rich as I’ve been going up and down the beach 7 times a day for about the last 12 days.
Just how much abuse can a body take anyway? Every day I look in the mirror and see a handful of new bruises. It’s so exhausting learning Kiteboarding that all I’ve done for the last 3 days is eat, sleep and board and hardly anything else. It is so brutal that I am sleeping almost 12 hours a day and often have to lay down for a nap in the middle of the day. I feel like a lame old man (no offense mom, dad and President Bush all of which love their naps). I can get up on the board consistently now and can stay up for a pretty long time, my major problems in the past have been that I have been way under-powered. I am flying the 13.5 meter kite in about 20-25 knots of wind every day and that is about the right size kite for me. For Ithaca I’m going to need a 25 meter kite I think seeing as how most of the time the winds are low there (under 10mph).