Thursday, December 18, 2008

Floating like a bird

I just came down from an hour long flight in the sky in the air balloon. Overall it was sort of a let down. I didn't find it "fun". There was something missing. I was a little bit bored.

It had the "wow" factor because it was my first time in a hot air balloon, but I didn't finish the experience with tingles on my skin.
The view of the town of Luxor and the Valley of the Queens and the canyons behind it were great. I got some great pictures on my camera. Watching the men set up the balloon and take it down was very cool. And figuring out how the balloon is controlled was very educational.

The men used big fans with generators on them to first fill the balloons with air and then when it gets almost 3/4s full they tip it over and pump in the gas.

Everything is controlled by a single pilot in the center of the balloon basket. There are switches that pump out some kind of gas and then the massive torch in the center lights it up into the balloon, which is how it gets its lift. Then he uses 2 ropes that are attached to different parts of the inside of the balloon to rotate in opposite directions. He can't really control where it goes, it seems like he could only control how fast he went in the direction the wind was blowing to.

There are 2 more lines that are connected to a circular piece of fabric that is covering the top center roof of the balloon. Once the ride is over, they pull on these 2 ropes and it pulls the fabric circle into the center and creates a huge vent at the top. The lifting gas completely escapes and the balloon comes down. Then they fold it up for the next ride.

The ride was very calm with no wind. We were floating during sunrise and I think that was one way to make sure the wind was reduced.

Maybe if they had let me bungy off of it I would have liked it more. I remember myself sort of wishing that they would. I also wanted to hang off the edge at some point to take pictures too, but I knew that would get me in trouble.

At one point I half jokingly said out loud that the ride was "boring" and one of the other passengers asked me if I was getting an adrenaline rush. The answer was no, I had 0 adrenaline rush except for when I thought we might have a rough landing (I got excited at the thought) or right at the beginning when we took off and I could see the ground falling away from us.

I guess that was my problem. Everyone else was excited because we were high up off the ground. I felt perfectly safe, because I was standing rather than falling down with a cord strapped to my legs. Hehe

The Egyptian kids that came out of wherever they came from to beg for money after we landed was probably the most captivating part of the trip. They came walking and on their donkeys. I didn't see any for most of the ride and then suddenly there were 10 around us, like some zombie horror flick, including little girls in what looked like pajamas nighties (dresses). And the faces they make to look as pathetic as possible so that maybe we'll feel guilty enough to throw something.

Somebody on the bus gave them an uneaten breakfast box and these kids were ripping it apart trying to get a piece of it. It was surprising how violent that scene was because they look energyless when they're begging. I was just secretly wishing that a cell phone rang and it was one of the kids'. That would have been excellently funny, just like what happened at the Great Wall.


Blogger Ben said...

just like Lord of the Flies...except there wasn't a fat white kid with specs that got killed...wouldn't it be a riot if a cell phone rang in the middle of it?

December 19, 2008 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger Jimmy said...


February 11, 2009 at 5:20 AM  

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