This morning I rode a hot air balloon in Yangshuo. My alarm didn’t wake me and I was worried they would leave me, but luckily the driver came late. My shoe fell off as I climbed into the basket. We were in the sky by 6 a.m. I think, and the sun was just peaking up. A nice couple from Amsterdam was in too, but they were speaking Dutch and the whole thing was so beautiful that I didn’t have anything to say anyway. The flame was almost burning my head the whole time and seemed too close. We were up to 900 meters at one point, I think, the balloon-man navigated with a little Garmin GPS. He was communicating with someone on the radio, saying I don’t know what. After rising very high, we were brought down low above the river. The town seemed larger from the air then on the street. We landed in a different farm, and all the villagers came out to watch us land, some standing on the roof, and all rushed up at the end.
**Update** – Today, Oct. 14, I read a report that a hot air balloon in Yangshuo crashed, killing five tourists. It’s kind of frightening to think I was just doing the same thing a few weeks ago. I hope the Chinese discover the cause of the crash and determine to suspend flights until safety is a certainty for passengers.