Quite a few people in villages outside Jaipur in Rajasthan, India, had two hot air balloons flying very low over their homes on a chilly February morning and I was in one of them. This made me think of a very well known ad for a Swedish coffee brand: When you get unexpected visitors.
Well, people seemed quite happy in spite of our bird’s eye view of their morning chores and waved and smiled at us.
We had arrived at the starting point just before daybreak. We tried to warm ourselves a little with some masala chai (oh, so yummy!) while the staff were busy preparing the balloons.
We are ready to go! Bye bye, ground staff!
The sun was just rising as our ride began.
There was thick fog, as you can see, and added to this was smoke from fires in family homes to prepare breakfast and also smoke from a couple of factory chimneys. It got really dense in some places.
We mostly flew quite low, but our pilot also brought us very high up so that we could enjoy the varied landscape, with some rather high hills rising over the fields.
It certainly is a special feeling to silently glide in a balloon, to go high up, then to come closer to the ground, getting shifting perspectives as your ride continues.
By the way, being a hot air balloon pilot seems to be a fascinating job where you can have different continents as your place of work over the year. Our pilot told us that after the Jaipur season ended for him, he would continue his job in the Maasai Mara in Kenya and after that he would go to Serengeti in Tanzania, flying balloons over the savannah.
But back to our morning ride. Now it was time to land! The pilot started looking around, we were in the middle of farm land, so it wasn’t really obvious what to head for.
But of course he found a suitable spot, and this was it:
We were soon surrounded by curious people, but that’s for another blog post 🙂