Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Balloon trip.

Due to network problems, I haven't been able to post as much as I would have liked. The sequence is also shot to pieces, so any sort of chronological order has gone out of the window.

Having arrived in Siem Reap, we were wandering down the street, when we saw an ad in a tourist office offering balloon trips. We decided it was a must.

We took a minibus out of town with a mixed group of mainly Chinese tourists and a very upbeat Canadian guy, about my age, but with eyes which suggested a prediliction to happy pizzas. Two trucks loaded with gear were waiting for us in a field. I was amazed how quickly they got the balloon set up. From unloading to let's go was no more than about twenty minutes.

Like the time I had a go at scuba diving, there are always factors which you don't take into account. With scuba diving it was the weight of the tank, which felt like a couple of sacks of potatoes strapped around you. Here the problem was slightly different, the hot-air part of hot air balloon was very hot indeed, bearing in mind that we are in the tropics.

Our pilot was a Chinese guy with a good sense of humour. On take off, he quite deliberately let the balloon brush the top of some trees, just to gauge the reaction. It was absolutely fantastic, apart from the noise of the burner from time to time, we drifted silently for several miles above the countryside.

There were lots of kids hanging around the whole time. We found out that tourists often throw sweets to them from the balloon, but we were unprepared. Instead, Millie chucked a dollar bill out. We watched it flutter to Earth where the fastest and biggest kid grabbed it. He's probably still talking about it.

The flight lasted about 30 minutes. We never went very high, but the view was great. This part of Cambodia is very, very flat, so you could see for miles. It wasn't so much the view as the experience of being in a balloon that we enjoyed. It was also a great preface for the main event the next day: Angkor Wat.




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