Mexico (cont'd)



Off to the East, all of the hot-air balloons were now in the air. I continued to float along, with Javier keeping me company.





We reached the edge of Teotihuacan and headed out over the countryside.






















Finally, after an hour in the air, I began to look for a place to land.




Larry and our crew in the chase truck had managed to get out in front of me in some mostly fallow farm fields.

I released some balloons to start my descent into the field where my crew was.

Just off the ground, I dropped some ballast to level out...

...and came down neatly where Larry was waiting for me.




Javier flew on a short distance in his cloudhopper before landing as well. He came back to join us, along with his other sister Gabriela, who was helping with the chase. We traded notes on the wonderful flight, and I autographed one of the balloons for them.





We began putting the balloon away. A number of people from the neighborhood had gathered, and we decided that my smaller balloons, which are not safe to re-use, should be given to the children -- the children with parents with them, anyway, since we didn't want any chihuahuas or unwanted little brothers or sisters to go flying away.







And that was my Mexican adventure.

The Merinos were very generous and gracious hosts, and it was a pleasure to share our mutual passion for ballooning with this special flight. It was also fun to be in a place where ballooning is a relatively new thing, and where the people are unabashed in their wonder and enjoyment.



Drifting over the massive, ancient City of the Gods beneath a bright spray of gossamer bubbles: I will never forget that strange, magical mixture of the eternal and the ephemeral, the transient and the timeless -- which is to say, Mexico.


Mariel on her burro







Crew Chief: Larry Vandenberg
Assistant Crew Chief: Mike Vandenberg

Special Thanks to: Javier Merino I, Javier Merino II, Mariel Merino, Susana (Suki) Valencia, 3er Festival Aerostatico Teotihuacan, Impacto Publicitario, Inflation Crew Volunteers

Photography: Javier Merino, Mike Vandenberg, John Ninomiya