I was going to be taking approx 10 flights during a 2 1/2 week jaunt to Ethiopia and Kenya, but it was the hot air ballooning in the Maasai Mara I was most looking forward to. It was still pitch black when we arrived at the site around 5ish. Everyone was sleepy and cradling their coffee, but you could feel the buzz of excitement and anticipation in the air. For most people, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. An awesome flight over 1 of the best known game reserves followed by a beautiful champagne breakfast in the bush. It doesn't get much better than that! It seemed to take ages to "blow up" the balloon, but as dawn approached, we finally got the signal to climb into the giant basket. The best way I can describe this is, it's like taking the brace position - but on your back with your legs in the air. Very elegant when you're all strapped in. I remember the heat from the propane on the side of my face, the roar of the gas, shielding my camera underneath my jacket and waiting for the basket to lift so we would be seated upright. We actually did quite a bit of waiting...and waiting...and waiting...and then it went flat - the balloon and the experience. Turns out it was too windy to fly. At the time I was bitterly disappointed. Having missed out on the Serengeti during my trip to Tanzania several years ago, I thought I'd get lucky second time around. But it wasn't to be. And looking back now, I'm very glad. Since that trip, there have been a couple of very high profile ballooning accidents caused by freak windy weather.
So, I dedicate Number 19 to my almost Mara ballooning experience!
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.