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Ann and Scott on the launch ramp. Who needs a kite?

We visited Rio in December with the kids. Another memorable trip. And yes, yet again, perhaps we lost our bid for Parents of the Year, though the kids are now adults, and we only pretend to have any say in their lives.

So it was that as we finished our tour of Rio (stuff of other blogs here and here), and were down at “Cucumber Beach” south of Rio, we saw the hang gliders. Scott had talked about going hang gliding when we were in Rio in August, but hadn’t had the chance.

Here was his chance, and Aubrey’s. And, of course, they both leapt at it. Plus, Diana, our guide, knew the pilots and said they were the best around, the only ones she would ever use. One was the president of the local hang gliding society, and the other was the previous head. So, we agreed. A few sign-away-our-lives forms later, we were all racing up the mountain to catch the wind before the weather changed, the kids in one car with the pilots, and Tom and me in another.

Up at the top of the mountain at the launch point, the kids donned their harnesses and helmets, taped on their shoes (at least, Scott did), and took a few practice runs (literally) with their pilots.

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Before we knew it, Aubrey was up on the ramp with her pilot, running with her hand on his shoulder, and dropping off the edge of the mountain. Dear Lord. I breathed again as they swooped back into sight. Each kite had a camera attached, and the pilots flew the kites and triggered the photos: just look at those views!

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Next came Scott, running with his hand on his pilot’s shoulder, and dropping out of sight, and remaining out of sight. I heard no screams, so I assumed they had taken a right swoop, out of view, and were okay. (I could feel white hairs springing up on my scalp as I stood there.)

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After the launches, Tom and I scurried back to the car with a new driver, and raced down the mountainside, got stuck in traffic, and arrived at the beach after both kids had landed. (The flights last about 12 minutes.) Drat!!!! But they were down safe and sound, and grinning from ear to ear. According to them, it was the coolest thing EVER!

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Tom and I have talked about doing it ourselves, but I recently read an article in the newspaper about how poor the safety standards are here in Brazil, and how poorly maintained is much of the adrenaline sports equipment. So, I might have to rethink that plan. After having let the kids do it. See what I mean…definitely lost Parents of the Year on that one!