why oh why can blogger not remedy their photo uploading issues so i can post this nicely formatted with photos prettily placed throughout the text?
hot air ballooning is amazing. i had been once before (when i was in egypt and all hyped up on generic egyptian anti-malarial drugs to treat the malaria that i contracted on the coast of kenya) and had thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of floating weightlessly in the winds.
this time was no different. i woke up at 5am (which is about 5 hours earlier than i normally do. just kidding! sort of) and made myself some coffee in my go mug to drink while i waited for the pilot in a random parking lot in east calgary. (i feel it is important to mention this because somehow, someway my mini bladder did not scream at me as i was stuck in a basket with 7 other adults).
after meeting up with our pilot and fellow air ballooners, we got to 'help' set up the giant size balloon (7 stories high!) and watch science at work as it inflated with warm air. after jumping in the basket and releasing the rope tying us to the truck on the ground, we quickly ascended, leaving the streets of calgary behind to see the city with a bird's eye view.
we had taken off (do air balloons really 'take off'?) from a field in west hillhurst and the day couldn't have been more perfect for a morning of floating in alberta - there was not a cloud in the sky, the sun was bright and shiny, and there was the slight crispness of autumn in the air.
apparently, they said we were very lucky in that we had a great flightpath. the thing with floating above the city is that you really are at the mercy of the winds and you can only move in the direction that the winds take you (although you can move up and down to enter different zones of wind to change your direction). we got to fly past downtown, over mount royal, above the river, across the industrial area, over rush hour traffic, and residential neighbourhoods and golf courses.
the best part of a hot air balloon is how peaceful everything seems at that altitude. and the perspective that you see things at cannot be beat (except for perhaps if you were in a helicopter, but i honestly don't think there would be another way). it puts a different spin on existential ideas like privacy and space and it was nice to be lost in my thoughts with that view on a thursday morning.
and to think, this was for work! i still think someone better pinch me, because it just shouldn't be this easy!