It was to be the most perfect morning for a balloon ride, but we didn’t know that until an hour into our adventure. 5. 30 am was our pick up time and we were enclosed in a huge blanket of darkness. We rumbled over rough terrain, headlights eerily piercing the darkness, to finally arrive at the balloon launch site just as the sun began to appear.
It is a very slick and professional operation, formalities done, hot coffee sipped and then the sound of the fans and burners split the air and the balloon began to inflate.
One looked at the huge basket and wondered how on earth we were going to all fit in there
Then it was time to climb unceremoniously into the basket. It came up to my chin, so the toe holds seemed a long way apart, but it wasn’t difficult and with us all in line and safely secured we felt the balloon move.
It was like magic, smooth, almost etherial with only the sound and heat of the massive burners as we rose majestically into the air.
The sun turned our faces orange and we marveled at the beauty.
We skimmed the top of trees at bird height and we jointed them in their flight.
We skimmed silently across the plains, our reflection our silent companion. Over herds of zebras, giraffes, elephants and a many, many other magnificent creatures.
After 45 minutes or so, we prepared ourselves for a landing which also added to the excitement and down we went for a smooth uneventful landing. Zebras scattered and red overalled men held on to the huge ropes and began to deflate the balloon.
Then the next treat.
Breakfast on the Mara. Red table cloths on low tables, framed with 4 tall spears and camp stools.
The food was delicious and served with obvious pride. Of course I went straight for the marmite, how wonderful to find it being served here in Kenya in this most glorious of places. Eggs, bacon, potato cakes and delicious pancakes cooked on the burner of the balloon added to the ambience.
What an incredible experience on this our Textile Tour. Its one Keith and I will never forget.
But that was only the beginning of the day, we had many more experiences as well as a two hour class. We sure know how to pack it in.
Last night at dinner, the smiles and comments echoed the feelings of the morning. In two words, it was a lifetime experience.