Arguably one of my most memorable experiences of my Mara trip: the balloon ride. Hot air balloon rides across the Masai Mara are said to be the second best in the world. This did not disappoint. However, due to the length of this particular journal entry, I’ll be staggering this post across a couple of days. This, quite literally, is just the beginning.
Monday, 21st of July, 2014
The sudden bursts of flame above us that light up the garishly colored balloon are surprising, not to mention more than pleasantly warm – but even more uncomfortable is my position.
I’m sitting on a bench at a 90º angle, my camera wedged precariously between my feet, my hands tightly gripping rope-holds above me. My entire body weight is on my back, which is resting on the closest thing that can be called a ground presently, even if it is woven and a few feet above the actual surface – shelved below me are four people similarly contorted.
The noise is deafening. There are at least four other balloons also being inflated and therefore four fans blowing gas at desperate rates, periodically interspersed with sudden wooshes of fire. But if I crane my head just so, and peer past the Japanese tourists clicking at a million miles per minute, I can see one teardrop-shaped balloon rising slowly and steadily into the just-beginning sunrise, and it is all worth it.