Monday, October 14, 2013

Look at All The Pretty Balloons!

Pretty balloons!
I went to the International Balloon Fiesta this week. I've been several times before, and this year I actually went twice, once at night to watch the Balloon Glow, and then the very next morning I was on the field again to watch the balloons take off. For the Balloon Glow, the balloons inflate and remain tethered to the ground. Then the announcer counts down, and they all fire their burners at once. It's like being surrounded by giant fireflies. It's cold, and people are drinking coffee and hot chocolate and beer to stay warm, and they're walking around wrapped up in blankets. Then, once the balloons have deflated, there's a fireworks show.
It's toasty near the burners.

I've written about the Balloon Fiesta before. I've gone countless times, and it never gets old. I love being on the field, surrounded by colorful balloons, and watching them take off until there are hundreds in the air. Yes, hundreds. They're like huge, rainbow colored dandelions blown into the wind. It makes me feel like a kid every single time.

I had the chance to go up in a balloon years ago. One moment the basket is on the ground, and the next, you're airborne, only you're never really sure when that moment comes. You just suddenly realize that you're drifting up. There's only the hiss of the burners and whatever conversation you have with your fellow passengers and the pilot. During that ride, we drifted over the Rio Grande, and the pilot dropped us down far enough that our basket touched the river. It was a peaceful, elegant way to fly. The only thing is, the landing's a wee bit rough....


 It's truly a magical experience. I'm not sure who had the biggest grin this year, myself or my son. I'm sleep deprived from the late night and (painfully) early morning, but it's all worth it, and I can't wait until next year.

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