Would you really fly in a basket?
This story won’t start with an Omar….no… it will start just how it should… Me telling you about this bucketlist that I have. See, my bucketlist is not just any ordinary list, its long enough to fit two buckets. Longer than a millennial’s shopping list. Possibly longer than that grocery list you have every month… possibly. All I’m saying is, I want to do lots of things while I can. Ranging from swinging on trees like our cousin Tarzan, stand on the edge of a cliff on top of my head (I’ve been practising that on the edge of my bed by the way… I’m not ready to share the results), see the great wildebeest migration here in Kenya, pretend to propose to the love of my life on one knee only to go down on the other and roll over while laughing………. with an active medical insurance cover (obviously).
See, one of those I’ve not mentioned is what this post is about. I hope it didn’t take you that long to figure it out. No apologies if it did. I’ve always been fascinated by how large masses are able to float in air, on water etc… I know, I know, you’ll be thinking, of course! Science! It’s definitely buoyancy, thrust, drag, lift ,weight etc… I went through that part of school where they used science to shut me up but they never clamped my imagination. I’m fascinated by the whole scenario involving wings, helium, you name it. I got a chance to put this fascination to practice in Luxor, Egypt. That’s where that bucketlist item was ticked.
These balloons are huge. They have to be brought in by trucks, carefully folded and tucked in at the back. It’s astonishing to see them being blown up into gigantic sizes and being prepped for take off. They each have a pilot who does the flying.
You climb into this huge basket that’s probably the size of a van. That flame you see burning is also quite hot but you kind of get used to it as you soak in the view from above, you don’t even remember that there’s a possibility of that inflammable weave burning up in seconds. Soon after the pilot instructs you to face the opposite direction and then squat inside the balloon (I have no idea why they do this…), you’re ready for take off.
The good thing about this particular ride was that it was before dawn. Of course there’s always that battle between you and that devil always whispering in you ear telling you to hit the snooze button … but on this morning, there was no room for snoozing. Which meant that we got to see God in all His glory.
By this time, there were already other balloons in the air seeing as there were lots of tourists waiting to get on board. Some were quite near while others were a bit far and looked like small dots in the air.
See the dots I’m referring to?
Let’s take it back to the part where I’m now thinking of what ifs…. I have so many “what if’s” 6 or 7 minutes into the ride that if I blurt them out, I think I’ll be thrown out of the balloon so I keep my racing thoughts to myself. I’ll keep them to myself too here just so that I don’t spoil anything for you. The beauty below us was astounding! But my eyes couldn’t help but explore what this balloon looked like on the inside…
Back inside, my “what ifs” are being calmed by the soothing melodies from Senosi and Adham who are masters at their craft. They’re so good I even forgot about Omar completely! (Up until I saw him again in Cairo…)
They work their magic and I’m now calm… let’s proceed.
We’re now flying over what looks like an ancient temple. To this date I haven’t yet figured out its name. If you’re reading this and you happen to know, please enlighten us in the comments and I’ll edit it in here. 🙂
In the far distance were some beautiful hills being hit by the morning light
Then we went higher…
Some settlement areas
At this point, I’m completely absorbed into the whole scenery unfolding right before my eyes. It was almost like I was in the air! But that’s because I was! I bet you didn’t see that… I even see my “what ifs” fly away from our balloon.
Then came these structure with beautiful patterns, almost like a maze… I admit to not knowing what they are. If you do, feel free to let me know what these are.
After what seemed like 5 minutes, we began our descent. Now this…. this was particularly frightening if you see how close the balloons were to the houses underneath.
It was all over, we land next to an open maize field. Then I see this….
Trust me, this picture speaks for itself. I have no idea how I was the only one who recognised what he was holding. He looked mad, angry that this big thing was invading his space. Here I was thinking, we just need to get out and leave… my “what if’s” were still in the balloon with me…. all along they’d been hovering over my head. He then erases the grim, replacing it with a grin and waves at the pilot and everyone on board. He’s just like all Egyptians. Friendly and welcoming. I say goodbye to my “what ifs” and we get off the balloon, back to Luxor, for the next adventure. It seemed so short, but that there, was probably the best, shortest, fantastic, scary, most overthought,experience of my life. 20-30 minutes worth your experience in Egypt.
If you’re heading down to Egypt, I’d definitely recommend this experience. It’s quite affordable too!
Huge thanks to Dune Raider for this experience!
As for my bucketlist…
Riding in a hot air balloon proudly ticked off.