It all started at a Barbeque. That's right, just 10 days or so into my time here in Jeddah I was invited to a barbeque. You can't get much more spoiled than that. I brought BBQ Pringles, some Coke and a chocolate dessert called "flutes" that I thought were Saudi but I'm not so sure anymore. I may have came with a little bag of goodies but I left with a belly full of delicious meat and a crazy plan to go gyro-coptering the next day.
I got the call and Jay, I guy I met only the night before, said he was about to go up in the air on a crazy flight and that I should come down asap and do it myself. Obviously this was crazy. A little more crazy than going to a barbeque that I was invited to by strangers, but that turned out smashingly, so I figured why should I stop thinking the best in people? And I went for it.
After getting slightly lost with the taxi driver, which has been a reoccurring experience for me over my first couple weeks, I found the makeshift airfield, back-shed hanger, and all the crazy toys they had that go up in the air.
I was pretty sure I'd go up in the gyro-copter, the jet-pack option seemed even a bit crazy for an insane mind, but I was trying to logically measure safety in a place where I had no clue if they even had safety codes. My heard was beating when I signed the form saying I wouldn't hold the company liable in incidents of extreme bodily harm or death. Signing a line that says that should never be easy. I took a deep breath, put pen to paper, then I froze for about 30 minutes where I got to watch two other people go up and down in it and it seemed safe enough, so I signed...
Moments later I was in the hot-seat hearing the propellers turning, hearing the gears grind, sounding like they couldn't have been spinning in an oil rich country like KSA but more like in Costa Rica, a county with zero oil production. So I was in something that looked like what George Jetson might sell at a garage sale, and it sounded like a creaky old bicycle - I started questioning my decision.
Well, here is what happened next.