Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June 21. Day 172. Up, up and away

Look closely. That's Brisbane on the horizon
Remember that Monty Python sketch? The one where one of the fourth of the Four Yorkshiremen alleged he "had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night half an hour before I went to bed"? That was how I felt this morning. When the clock reads 02.30, more often then not I'm going to bed not waking up. But this morning, 90 minutes or so after I went to sleep, I was up and ready to fly. Literally. This ungodly hour is what is required to be at the Gold Coast to meet the 4am balloon bus. The destination is determined by the winds and today we headed to somewhere near Witheren in the hinterland. It was a bumpy, slightly vomit-inducing bus ride. Indeed buses scare me much more than balloons. In a balloon's basket, the gentle waft is beautiful. The view is sublime. The serenity is unmatched. It is pretty much everything a bus is not. Today was my fourth balloon ride having previously flown over Brisbane twice (something air traffic control restrictions now makes impossible) and the Sunshine Coast. I don't have a favourite. Each is beautiful in its own way. Today's balloon was by far the biggest with a basket carrying 24. You might think that would have everyone fighting for the balloon equivalent of the window seat. In fact not. The basket has four separate compartments with six in each and everyone has a front row view. And what a view it was. My balloon buddy Alison and I had flights cancelled multiple times because the weather was against us but today was balloon flying gold star conditions. If you look closely you can see Brisbane. That early morning mist just added to the impact. Balloons only take off at sunrise and as today was the winter solstice today's departure was as late as it gets. Had we left it a month, I really would have been getting up half an hour before I went to sleep. But it would have been worth it. Who needs sleep? Well me obviously but not today

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