Unlike the U.S., Mexico is a pretty laisse-faire kind of place, regulation-wise -- the horrifying danger to the public posed by a man flying with a bunch of helium balloons has not yet been recognized by them, or perhaps their aviation officials were too busy with airline safety or other trivia to come regulate me. In any case, I had a wonderful time floating low over the town, waving to people and exchanging shouted buenos diases with them.







I had been expecting to see large numbers of Chihuahua dogs, perhaps being bred in huge factory compounds, or in the wild, turning the vast plains brown with their number. In fact, I did not see a single one, although Ernie reported spotting several at the festival.


To the west of the valley in which Chihuahua is situated were some very rough-looking hilly areas. Fortunately, both days there were winds up high to carry me toward the center of the valley, where I descended to continue north.


The city dwindled away to a few tightly-packed new housing developments, and then just brush and farmland.



On my Sunday flight, I acquired a small entourage of cars that followed me out of Chihuahua. I talked on the radio with Ana, who was following in the chase truck.

The winds on the surface were headed northwest, but a few hundred feet up they were headed northeast, so by ascending and descending I zig-zagged my way north.



Both days I put the balloon down for a gentle landing, well out into the counrtyside. Ana and her friends had a chance to go up on tether with the balloons. Then we put the equipment away, and headed back to the festival.




The people of Chihuahua were captivated by this latest craziness from the U.S., and El Hombre Globo was featured on the front page of the local newspaper.




After two successful flights over Chihuahua, Ernie and I bade Ana good-bye, and flew back home. Ernie was still hard at work perfecting his siesta skills all the way to San Diego.


So if you should find yourself invited south of the border by a Mexican named Elvis, to promote a soft drink company by flying over town with a large bunch of helium balloons, the only appropriate response is....


"¡Ay Chihuahua!"




El Hombre Globo

Crew Chief: Ernie Hartt

Crew Coordinator: Ana Campero

Special Thanks to: Fiesta Del Globo, Chihuahua (Enrique Elias Valdes, Gerardo Vidales Sandoval), Jarritos (bebida favorita del Hombre Globo), Jarriman, Rainbow Ryders, Eric and Jennifer Greenwood, inflation crew volunteers.

Photography: Carlos Guardado, Municipio de Chihuahua website, Ernie Hartt, Jesus F. Leon, John Ninomiya

Videography: La Opción de Chihuahua



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