Not long before my trip to Canada, which I will expound on later, a friend asked me if I was afraid of heights. It seemed a strange question. I replied something along the lines of “Yes, but why do you ask?”
I was completely unprepared for her reply. She recently had a birthday, and apparently she has long wanted to fly in a hot air balloon. Yes, one of these:
What a dilemma! On one hand, great fear of heights. On the other hand… Hot Air Balloon.
I took a deep breath, explained to my fears that I wasn’t about to regret, for the rest of my life, saying “no” to a hot air balloon flight, and told my friend to count me in. It turns out that the flight was scheduled for the evening before my trip to Canada. This and a misplaced passport was the reason I had between 2 and 3 hours of sleep as I set out on my trip, but more on that anon.
The time arrived, and I drove my friend and two of her friends to the place where we would take off. Two more friends met us there, and we watched a few other balloons take off and our own prepare for flight. Ours was the largest balloon on the field that day.
That is ours in the bottom corner. The inflation of the balloon was beautiful, but as it began to rise up, some high wind blew in. For a while, we were afraid that the flight would be cancelled for safety.
But soon enough the balloon was up, and we were all told to get in! We rushed into the basket and held on. Briefly, we were about two feet off the ground.
And that was it. The pilot made his final checks and found that the high wind had bent an important piece of equipment. I guess we were special, as the pilot told us that he had only had that particular problem once before, when he was flying in Africa. The flight was cancelled.
We all got out, and watched as the balloon deflated.
Our pilot was more dejected than any of us, as shown in the photo below. He is the one lying on the folded balloon. Not to say that we were not disappointed, but we enjoyed seeing all the balloons and having some entertaining conversations. We made plans, then and there, to try again in early September, which fast approaches. Hopefully I will ride in a hot air balloon yet, and to heck with my acrophobia! Anyway, I enjoyed getting to meet some new people, and my friend and another of her friends and I went for dinner at a local restaurant. All was well. Until I got home and couldn’t find my passport.