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The skies above Cappadocia
Sure enough, at 6 a.m., the phone rang, and I sprang out of bed and grabbed my camera. I was confused to find it sprinkling when I stepped out of my room. From everything I had heard about hot-air ballooning, going up in the rain was just not likely. In fact, some people said that, in the U.S., if even the slightest gust of wind blew in the wrong direction, the balloon was grounded. I could only presume that with the threat of thunder and lightening, ballooning in the pouring rain was not an option.
Still, we headed down to the launch area, and stood around sipping hot tea and coffee waiting for the weather to clear. When the rain really began to come down, we took cover in the van. I thought we were crazy and certainly only desperate journalists would be the only ones that would be hovering about waiting for a balloon ride, but we weren’t. There were at least six other balloons waiting to launch. And, I soon found out that our guys were the conservative ones.
Our fearless captain
Our driver was a master of the skies. She dropped our balloon into the steep valleys and then brought us up within inches of it’s peaks, scaring some passengers half to death, but I was pretty sure that the balloon wasn’t really sailing fast enough to do much damage — even if we did crash land. (Well, maybe someone could have broken a finger. Regardless, no one did.) And she landed us safe and sound in a vacant field where we sipped champagne and celebrated our flight before off-roading back to our hotel, muddy and wet, but happy.