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Alice Yang
Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
She is a student at Stephen F. Austin High School-FBISD.

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

Pattaya, by day


Pattaya, Thailand is known as the Eastern Hawaii, where tropical fruits drop daily from their succulence, where beaches line with banana boats and jet skis, where beautiful foreigners can be seen strolling hand in hand sizzling in love, where tanned locals frequent its footprint shores, and also, where I learned how to fly.

When I first stepped off the tour bus, I was greeted by an enormous sign: Pattaya city. Written on the sunny green hills in big white blocks besides the shore like I’ve arrived in Hollywood, California. With a quick sweep of the eye, I could see an infinite horizon of orange and white striped beach chairs and big curling umbrellas. Though it was before noon, there were already some people lazing around eyes closed, fingers wrapped languidly around some fruity neon concoction complete with spiraling straw.

We waded (half our bodies wet) to reach the motor boat and off we went, boat bouncing relentlessly towards one of Pattaya’s islands. There were many things to try, like jet skiing and scuba diving and taking five friends out on a banana boat, but I was most eager to try the flying parachute.

I was brought to this house on stilts in the middle of the water where all the parachuting took place. This guy strapped and buckled and pulled me up so tightly that with each breath, the straps dug equally into my thighs, shoulders, and belly, leaving complimentary bruises.

Then, while strapped to the colorful patchwork of a parachute, I was told to run (like an airplane does) for takeoff. The other end of the long strap was attached to a motor boat, so this way, I would be flying. Well, assisted flying anyway.

So with a deep breath(owwww), I ran off the little house deck, running into nothing as I reached the end of the wood below my feet and panicked for a millisecond as to why I still wasn’t in the air.

Then, I felt this great powerful pull, driving me forward and upward as my feet lifted involuntarily from the ground. I spread my arms out wide, hugging the wind, and with feet dangling further and further away from the ground, I was flying!

Wow! What a feeling! To have the salty sea air blowing through your hair, your cloth, and hearing it roar with gusto past your ears. To gingerly, but later boldly mimic an eagle, flapping, Superman, soaring, athlete, running, swimming. In air!

To see the strap diagonally tense connecting me to the motor boat, whose propellers were making blooming splashes of patterns in the water to be dissolved into a calming wake.

To see Pattaya below me, the tiny color dots of peoples’ outfits, the yellow happiness of smiling banana boats, the sharp cut wake made by jet skis, the water bubbling from jumping fish, the shore below, the sun above, me in between.

The motor guy suddenly went slower, so my parachute began to lower into the water. Lost in the breathtaking bird eye’s view of the shore, I totally forgot that I signed up for some water dipping too!

The more the boat slowed, the closer I came to the water. Then, with a plop, I was dunked into the ocean completely with my parachute fanning out behind me. But just when I was about to worry, I felt this tug again as the boat started and I was brought out like a caught fish above the water, springing into the sky.

The guy dunked me about three times, sometimes only halfway, sometimes up to the neck, but each time out of the water, I was greeted with a burst of refreshing wind as I went soaring like a sunflower towards the sun again.

Finally, when I landed back at the runway deck and was unstrapped by several guys pulling me this way and that, I vehemently wished for wings of my own.

Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star. She is a student in FBISD.

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   Last Update:  July 18, 2007