Day 6 - Thursday 26th

We have elected to fly in the morning and risk the possibility of fog. From another sports field in Mae Suay we rig and this time I do the inflation, takeoff and flight. The mist thins as we rise over the town, although it is not continuous, but layered as in some romantic mountain scenes. It's very beautiful and I manage to both fly and snatch some photographs. The rising sun soon warms the moist air and, as expected, a radiation fog begins to form in the valley. Tracking along the main road we look at the thicker fog ahead and decide not to risk pushing on into the unknown and unseen.

I hand over control to Norman for the landing - the target field of waste ground is only just big enough and is a job for an experienced pilot. We touch and kill forward momentum and on the bounce start drifting upwind over the crop. You don't often call "missed approach - going around" in the ballooning world. This time the ground wind behaves according to the book and the ground crew start to pack up the envelope in the way we like - this will save us time tomorrow compared with today, which saw us last into the air again while we untangled the rigging.

A couple of hours spent beside the magnificent pool is followed by lunch. A hard life, but we don't flinch from duty. No. The bus ride to Lamphang leaves me feeling car-sick, which is unusual, but the high speeds and the near head-on miss unsettle me. This hotel is a wooden version of the Thip Vana - relatively unrefined in comparison, but we all agree that it is much closer to what we believed the authentic traditional hostelry would be like. We love its long wood-and-wire suspension bridge and have a boisterous trip to the bar with much bouncing, swaying and screams of fear. And those were just the pilots. Mosquitos in quantity here, so the plug-in units are deployed. As we move further south, mosquitos will be more of a nuisance, although this is the Thai winter and their activity is at a minimum.

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