Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Soaring Above The Valley

Today started with another great warning: "When we come in to land, face away from the direction we are traveling, grasp the white rope tightly, flex your knees, and place your forehead against the cushion. We should bounce a few times before we fall over. No pregnant women please." Thus went the preflight briefing for our hot air balloon trip over the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.

Up before dawn, we joined 25 other brave souls in our balloon basket and at least 20 other balloons soaring above temples, tombs, and colossi, not to mention the houses, cell phone towers, and burning sugar cane fields. It was cold before dawn, but the flame heating the air did a good job keeping us warm until the sun rose.

And the landing? Well, the warning applied to what our captain described as a "British" landing, with the basket flopping on its side. "American" is when you land upright, after several bounces. But we landed "Egyptian" style, nice and smooth.

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