Friday, September 11, 2009

However, every time I see one, I think of that man lying naked at the bottom of a cliff with a broken matchstick in his hand, which ruins the romance.

On the way back from Stony Brook, my fellow adventurers and I looked out the car window and saw this:

Hot air balloons! We had been meaning to go to the New York State Festival of Balloons for about three years, but kept forgetting, so when we saw this, we followed them to the field they were launching from. There was an admission fee and most of the balloons had already taken off, so we stood on the other side of a fence, with a gang of bikers, and took pictures from afar, into the sun. That's why they all look terrible.

Also, my super-super zoom gets rather pixellated after a certain point. But you get the idea.

I'm 95% sure I went to this festival or something similar when I was about six. (Father, this is your cue for confirmation.) I remember standing next to a balloon as it was being filled with hot air, and thinking both "This is the coolest thing on earth" and "Blowing these things up takes FOREVER." Both are still true. I would not place balloon travel among the faster modes of transport, but it is without a doubt the most elegant.

Unless you are travelling in this one. Click on the picture for a closer look.

Classy! But one question. If that is a spider, why does it have ears?


Anonymous said...

Great pictures - even at a distance.

I have it on good authority that Simon was at such a festival, in Wellsville, many years ago.

I recall that balloons used to be a frequent sight over our neighborhood in past years. If you were outside, you would hear this funny whooooshing noise once in a while. Then you might hear some far away voices and begin to wonder if the Indian spirits were returning to reclaim their land. Eventually, you would realize the sound was from overhead, and would see a beautiful balloon drifting past. The dogs in the area went nuts.

A leisurely flight in a balloon seems like it deserves to be accompanied by some nice wine (or beverage of your choice), and sapsago on a Ritz cracker.

Ivan said...

naked man with a matchstick?

Simon said...

Anonymous: Those were the good old days, when we used to see balloons in the summer. I wish I'd thought to ask at the time whether they were carrying sapsago. Where on earth is Wellsville?

Ivan: It's the scenario of a guessing game having to do with balloons that my sister played with us once in St. Long Vermonticut. It was apparently very memorable because that must have been something like fifteen years ago.

Anonymous said...

Wellsville: East of the Sun and West of the Moon - Oh, never mind, that was the title of a book I read in 3rd grade - and it proves to be useless for directions.

Really, though, Wellsville is almost due south of Rochester, almost to the Penn. boarder, east of Allegany and Olean, and West of Painted Post and Corning.

I think the riddle goes something like: you find said recently deceased, unclothed person - and there are no foot prints, tire tracks, hoof/paw prints from any animal. You have heard no noises. How did the man end up there and why?

Balloon was about to crash, everyone threw all of their clothes overboard to reduce the weight, but that was not enough. Some one had to jump overboard, and this unfortunate soul drew the short matchstick.

Simon said...

ANONYMOUS, stop giving away the answers to my riddles. Tsk.