MEMORIES THAT LASTS A LIFETIME
IMAGINE AFRICA TRAVEL EXPERIENCE AS SHARED BY: DAVE & DEB
CHAMPAGNE AND HOT AIR IN AFRICA BY: DAVE & DEB
Link to blog: http://theplanetd.com/hot-air-balloon-kenya/#sthash.M3rio42i.dpuf
It was 5:30 in the morning when we met our driver for our hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara. As we stopped to pick up our captain, he replied “You’re late, we’re going to miss sunrise” Uh Oh. We did notice that the clerk who booked our flight crossed out the time to meet in the lobby and made it a later departure, but we didn’t think much of it. We thought, “I guess the sun rises at a different time at this time of year.” Our driver rushed to the departure point and there was a flurry of activity once we got out of the truck. We loved our captain, Kim. He was exactly my type of guy. Tell it like it is, knows his job well, is skilled and talented and has a fantastic sense of humour. He was determined to make it up in time for sunrise and worked hard to make it happen.
He was yelling orders at the group of 10 men preparing our balloon, he was running around doing much of the work himself like repositioning the fan, spreading out the balloons parachute like material and blowing hot flames into the balloon. It was incredible to watch and within a few minutes he was yelling at us to lay down in the tipped over basket and be prepared to hang on. Once the balloon was nearly filled, the flight engineers all jumped in frantically to join us for a flight over the Masai Mara. Flying over the Masai Mara isn’t as popular at this time of year as it is during the great migration, but it is still a spectacular experience. Since others didn’t book a trip with us today, the local guys who work for the company were our traveling companions. We felt happy to know that they get to experience what they prepare each day. It was surprising to me just how smooth a flight in a hot air balloon is. I didn’t even realize we had left the ground and as I peered over the side of the basket, I was shocked to see just how high we were in the air. It is the closest feeling you will ever get to walking on a cloud. As we floated gently over the Masai Mara, Captain Kim chatted to us about our life and his. Captain Kim is from Korea but it was here flying high over the African Savanna that we realized just how small the world is. When we told him we were from Canada he replied that he used to fly hot air balloons in Canada. We assumed he would say somewhere like Vancouver, but no, he was based in London Ontario. A town near my parents home in Woodstock. He knew Woodstock well as he often manned flights over Kitchener Ontario. Woodstock is dead centre between London and Kitchener!
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