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  • Brian D. Hinson

Hot Air Balloons in New Mexico!


Hot air balloons and Albuquerque have a long history together. In 2009, my friends and I got a ride. Floating in the cool morning air, the quiet is unnerving. Every other time I’ve been flying it’s been a noisy affair—I’ve been in large planes, small planes, and helicopters—noise comes with the package. In a balloon, lifting off is silent, interrupted only by the burners making little poofs here and again. The ground slips away below, people wave as they shrink, the breeze caresses your face and carries you away…it’s sublime.


A friend had done some computer work for a balloon pilot and he paid him back with some spots in the basket one morning of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Balloonists and enthusiasts from all parts global descend on New Mexico every year. Even if you don’t hitch a ride, the mass ascension is kaleidoscopic and humbling: hundreds of balloons lifting from the park, gently rising upwards, carried by hot air and whatever winds are blowing.


As an Uber driver, the extra thousands of people in the city certainly bring more business. It’s always good to meet folks from out of town, and some from waayyyy out of town. It’s all over the thirteenth, but it will return next year.

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