I’m both embarrassed and proud of that title. Though it is a bit of a misnomer as I wasn’t surprised at all. This is all seeming unclear, even to me. Let me backtrack.
I woke up with the morning call to prayer and headed over to a field where the tour companies launch their balloons. It was about 6am when I got there and the guys were just beginning to lay out the balloons and connect them to the baskets. When I first arrived a man comes up to me. I have all my photo gear and am changing lenses. He says to me ‘Take photos?’ ‘Yes,’ I reply, ‘going to take somr pictures.’
‘You ride balloon?’
I shake my head no.
‘Later you ride?’
‘Yea, maybe another morning.’
‘You get up early, 5:45?’
‘Yea, it is early.’ I agree.
‘You come here, take picture?’
‘And you no ride?’
I give a short laugh. ‘No, I’m not riding.’
He laughs as well. ‘You’re crazy!’
This was my first time getting close to the I inflation process so I was interested to see that they used giant floor fans to get the balloons going before using the hot air. With six or seven balloons, it was a loud process. After a short while the balloons are getting to be a decent size and some are already upright and seemingly ready to go.
It was really cool watching them inflate and leave the ground. I snuck up close and got some photos with my camera, so I’ll have to post them later.
After they were up and going I decided to have a bit of a walk about town and get some photos of the actual city instead of just the tourist spots. One interesting thing I noticed is that there are a lot of seemingly abandoned farm equipment just lying all around town.
I know that farming is a big source of income for a lot of people in this region, but I wonder if tourism has begun to creep in and overtake what was the traditional source of money.