New Mexico Celebrates The Fun of Hot Air Ballons


Beatriz Moreno

Albuquerque New Mexico holds an annual hot air-balloon festival where an assortment of colors and shapes fill the vast air from dusk till dawn and the tradition of good spirits and togetherness fill the city and the skies.
“Its as if your suspended in midair motionless and weightless,” said Captain Mona the hot air balloon pilot 400 feet above ground. “Its an addiction, the first time will cost you $200 to $400 but the next time it will cost you thousands. You’ll like it so much you’ll want your own (balloon).”
All through the streets of down town Albuquerque, windows and shops filled with tissue paper air balloon replicas, bright color schemes and Native American mementos of feathered statues and relics.
Though the paths draw the eyes of on lookers and tourists, nature most of the attention.
In the early morning of October 8th, two women in the lobby of Hotel Blue on the historic road 66 spoke to me about their disrupted visit to New Mexico
Because of uncontrollable weather, the hot air balloon ride Agnes and Lara were scheduled to take was cancelled.
“We came all the way here to ride a hot air-balloon,” said Agnes. “What will I tell my friends when I come back to Germany?”
Though New Mexico is beautiful and full of things to experience, nature is unpredictable and sometimes life threatening, according to Danna of the company Sweet Escape, a ballooning company.
“If the winds are too strong,” she said, “we run the risk of the balloon fabric getting too close to the fire and blowing up.”
A lot of balloon rides where canceled that day because of the weather, along with many other events, such as the Special Shape Balloons Fight.
Even with the poor weather, the mood is not dampened festivities on land. The celebration of air-ballooning still commenced and many people rescheduled their flights for the next day.
“It’s not just about flying in an air balloon,” said Bill, a worker for a private ballooning company while driving me and a couple of other people to where we would fly later. “Part of the experience is setting up and packing up.”
The process of flying takes about 2 hours- from settin up to unraveling the balloon to attaching it to the basket and filling it with hot air.
Though it is a careful and technical procedure, the passengers are encouraged to help and lend a hand to the assembly and flight.
During the balloon ride, my pilot, Mona, relayed her fondest memories while navigating eastward through the sky.
She told us about her love for Albuquerque and the unity and pride the residents all have for their city.
As we got closer to land, Mona started to wave and yell out “we are about to land come help us!” to the on looking children and adults.
Upom reaching the ground, the near by children came running out, accompanied by their anxious parents.
The children helped with wide smiles and hopeful eyes to disinflate the balloon and adults beamed at being able to be part of the experience.
The unity on the grpund was part of the experience.
The diverse people helping one another illustrated this community’s love and pride for their city and the care they have for one another.
After packing up and moving away from the landing spot, Captain Mona then recited the air- ballooner’s prayer.
“The winds have welcomed you with softness,” we heard her say. “The sun has blessed you with his warm hands. You have flown so high and so well that the gods have joined you in your laughter and set you back again into the loving arms of Mother Earth.”