Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Cum sa nu sari cu parasuta

Parasutismul e un sport periculos, si poti sa reduci mult riscurile daca ai grija si esti atent la ceea ce faci. Lucru pe care eu il mai omit uneori, si sper ca asta sa nu ma coste in viitor.

Intr-o dimineata cu soare din Noiembrie am ajuns la clubul de parasutism si m-am trecut imediat pe manifest. Sa te treci pe 'manifest' in parasutism e ca si statul la coada. Singura diferenta e ca obiectivul cozii e sa sari din avion; iar la coada e un tip care organizeaza totul si tu ii spui sa-ti tina si tie un loc si sa te anunte cand ajungi in fata. Am fost programat pentru al 4-lea avion ce urma sa decoleze, deci mai aveam cel putin o ora de asteptat. Am inchiriat o parasuta de la club, casca si altimetru si le-am lasat deoparte in zona pentru parasute, cat sa iau micul dejun. M-am dus la bistro, am comandat micul dejun si am inceput sa mananc linistit. Cand, din hangar, s-a anuntat ca cei programati pt. avionul 4 au fost mutati la avionul 2. Am infulecat repede ce mai aveam in farfurie, am sorbit cafeaua dintr-o suflare si am pornit repede sa ma pregatesc.

Am luat parasuta de unde o lasasem, m-am echipat, am pus casca si altimetrul si am pornit spre avion. Urma sa sar cu un tip Mike, si saltul se numeste "3 secunde de decalare": Mike sare din avion, eu numar pana la 3 cat el cade in gol, apoi sar si eu si incerc sa-l prind si sa-l ating. O nimica toata pt. James Bond si Chuck Norris, dar eu nu mai facusem asta, si n-aveam nicio idee daca o sa imi iasa.

A aterizat avioul, si ne astepta sa ne imbarcam. Mike m-a intrebat daca sunt gata, a verificat echipamentul, si m-a intrebat daca sunt sigur ca e echipament de student, ca i se parea mic. Eu i-am zis ca da, pentru ca mai sarisem si inainte cu echipamentul respectiv. Era un rucsac Javelin cu dungi albastre, preferatul meu pentru marime si performanta. Ne-am urcat in avion, si inainte sa decolam mi-a zis: oricum ar merge saltul, ai trecut testul. "Just have fun!"

Am ajuns la 3200 metri, Mike a deschis usa si curentul puternic si temperatura de -10 grade a napustit in cabina. Am luat o gura adanca din aerul rece si uscat, si m-am uitat jos sa vad unde e pista. Mike a iesit pe roata avionului si a facut semn ca e gata, apoi a sarit.

Am inceput sa numar: 1... 2... 3 si am sarit si eu, urmarind gamalia de ac care era Mike, cateva sute de metri mai jos. Am dus mainile pe langa corp si am inceput caderea in gol cu 250 km/h. 10 secunde mai tarziu, eram fata in fata, el facand eforturi sa se departeze. Pana la urma l-am prins, reusisem. M-am uitat la altimetru: 5500 feet. M-am intors si am luat distanta orizontala de 150 metri. Am deshis parasuta. Cand m-am uitat sus, am ramas blocat. Parasuta era mult mai mica decat ma asteptam. Si atunci am realizat ca am luat parasuta gresita, proiectata pentru salturi de performanta.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Travel checklist

I travel often lately, and from time to time I remember my first trips. I can recall how I always used to forget something at home, then realize in the middle of an unknown city that I'd forgotten something as little as a hair comb, phone charger or nail clippers.

Therefore, long time ago I started a checklist, and now I always run through it before leaving on a trip. It also saves me from worrying if I haven't forgotten something, and this list never failed. I'll share it, maybe others will find it useful. I won't include the common stuff such as "clothes" or "underwear" as that's what most people never forget at home. :)

  • travel documents
    • passport
    • proof of medical insurance
    • vaccination records if needed
    • printed plane / bus / train tickets
    • work permit if needed
    • credit cards, discount cards
  • laptop
  • mobile phone, smart-phone (best if it has GPS & maps)
  • charger(s) for phone, laptop, camera, mp3 player
  • travel adapter(s)
  • printed map(s)
  • sunglasses
  • digital camera
  • network cable
  • headphones / earphones
  • book(s)
  • printed travel guide (I usually check for known scams and other warnings on Wikitravel)
  • driving license
  • napkins
  • hair comb
  • shampoo
  • shaving kit (machine, cream, after shave)
  • toothbrush kit (brush, floss, tooth paste)
  • umbrella
  • small deodorant, perfume
Less important:
  • agenda and a pen
  • data cables (phone, camera)
  • small towel
  • cold pills, stomach pills (you might not find exact matches in the country you visit)
  • antiseptic cream / liquid
  • nail clippers, small scissors
  • bathing suit
  • flip-flops
  • towel
  • back-up shoes, shirt & trousers
  • souvenirs
  • plastic cutlery, cups
  • game cards
As an additional travel precaution, I also scan my travel documents in case I loose them or they get stolen. This can save lots of headache if needed to produce a proof of identity.

Please comment / +1 this article if you forgot one of the items above on your last trip. ;)

Friday, September 02, 2011


It's my birthday again. 28 years and counting... Many things happened during the last year: getting up to speed with a new awesome job, traveling to two new continents, meeting very interesting people and trying fabulous experiences along the way. Although I'm not over excited about the fact that I'm getting older and supposedly more responsible, I'm very happy that my "bucket list" is continuously shrinking.

This year I finally crossed one top item off the list: experience human flight by skydiving. The plan was to only do one tandem jump too see how it is, but this turned into a full free fall course which I really enjoy doing now. My next plan is to get an 'A license' which certifies that I can jump out of a perfectly working airplane anywhere in the world.

Every sky dive so far was different and exciting. When the door of the plane opens and the engine slows down, there's a blast of cold oxygen, burned gas and lower pressure that turns everyone into slightly different beings. The sudden realization of the fact that in just a split second everyone will take a deep breath and disappear from the plane - singing, cheering, shouting, petrified or screaming - is priceless. And then it's your turn to jump too. It all happens so quickly, and many different emotions compete to take your mind away from the dance that you'll have to perform after leaving the plane.

Once you do that step out it's all beautiful and natural. After about 50 seconds of free fall which feels nothing like falling but more like floating somewhere above the clouds - there comes the second beautiful part: a slow canopy descent. This is the most realistic sensation of flying I had so far. I really enjoy gliding above the clouds, especially at dusk. Compare it with that landscape that you get when taking off with a commercial plane on a slightly cloudy day. In an instant you're taken to a sunny world above the sea of clouds. While in a plane you can only enjoy that through a palm sized round window in the cockpit, imagine getting that view when slowly gliding above the clouds, being able to look around you before sliding through, back to earth.

I'll post my first solo sky dive if I can get the recording and wish that there will be no malfunctions till then.

Friday, April 30, 2010


Half of an year is already gone away, and looking back I realized that I haven't been keeping my blog up to date. Since I shouldn't waste your time with too many details, here's a quick list with what I've been up to:
- after sleepless nights and intense work, finally finished my master's program in Germany
- got a new job and met very friendly people. For the new job, I've changed cities one more time - moved from Bonn to Dublin which is a delightful city by the way
- took Yoga and some gliding classes, started to enjoy golf and playing piano. Also tried surfing, but couldn't get used with the idea of being wrapped in a wet & cold rubber costume
- got a phone line, this is a big achievement when you have to deal with Eircom's technical support. It took me almost 3 months
- traveled and explored a bit of: Ireland, Germany, Tenerife, Israel, UK.

Monday, January 11, 2010


I just went to the Police to renew my passport. Last year, you had the option of doing that in "emergency mode", after paying an extra fee. They would release a new passport in 2 hours.
Now, that is not possible anymore. They removed the extra fee, and now people have to wait 30 days for a new passport. Furthermore, you cannot apply for a Romanian passport in a different country.

Now, why would you take something which is simple and beautiful and make it more complicated?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Munich going green

On one of the evenings spent in Munich, I took the tram from Willibaldplatz towards Marienplatz. It's a 20 minutes boring ride, and besides staring at the different people around you, there's not much to do.
Hanging in front of me, there's one of those free brochures from Munich Transport Company. I tell myself that practicing a little bit my German can't hurt, so I start reading. Here's what I've managed to translate:

The SWM started the "Renewable Energy" campaign. Until 2015, the facilities should produce enough eco-energy to support about 800 000 private houses in Munich. By 2025, Stadtwerke Munich are to produce enough green energy to support the whole energy requirements of 7.5 billion kWh per year. [...]

For this purpose, SWM invests until 2025 nine billion Euro. [...] Together with the current projects, SWM rises the eco-energy production with 160%. With this, around 370 000 instead of currently 140 000 houses in Munich will be supported. [...]

After reading their annual report, i've also found out this:
M-Natur is SWM‘s green electricity product allowing customers to make an active contribution to climate protection. M-Natur green electricity is generated exclusively by SWM‘s hydroelectric power plants. M-Natur customers voluntarily pay a charge that is higher than that for M-Strom customers. SWM invests all the proceeds from this additional charge in the further expansion of renewable-energy-based power generation in Munich.

I'd like to see this sort of initiatives more often.