The sound of the alarm lurched itself into the room.
“This is what time we should be going to bed,” my friend moaned as she reached to turn off her cell phone on the night stand.
I glanced at mine. It was 3:30 am. Even my kids don’t wake me up this early.
What would have us waking up at this ungodly hour while on a girls’ trip in Dubai?
An adventure, of course!
We were being picked up in the lobby of our hotel at 4:20am.
My first tip, before I even get started telling you about the adventure: bring a sweater. You’d be surprised how cold it can be in the desert before the sun comes up and I was feeling the acclimatization from living in Congo. I shivered my way through the first little big of our morning.
We drove out to the dessert and had to wait a bit for the fog to lift. Going hot air ballooning has been something I’ve always wanted to do. I was thrilled that it was happening that morning, but as we waited, my internal dialogue was playing a continuous reel of, ‘I’m freezing’ and ‘we could have slept longer’.
But not to worry, negative-Nancy quickly hit the road when they yelled that it was time to get started.
The action was happening!
The weight of the basket became instantly evident as it took a group of eight large men to try and move it across the sand. The fans started and the balloon began to fill. Energy and excitement buzzed through the air. We were all giddy seeing this happen so close up.We climbed into the basket and it wasn’t long before I could feel us leaving solid ground; not to mention everyone on the balloon unintentionally letting out a slow, “whhhooooooaaaahhh” in unison as the basket lifted.Floating up in a balloon was quite the feeling! The first few seconds were thrilling. It was a complete mix of emotions: excitement, fear, anticipation….it was exhilarating! And what’s the first thing you do when something awesome is happening? Why, you take a selfie of course!We spent the next little while climbing to 4000+ feet, and every so often I’d get brave enough to hold onto my sunglasses and peer over the edge.
I enjoyed every second of being up in the air. The other balloons that were flying with us acted as a mirror image to us, floating through the sky in all their beauty.We also had a falcon on board, who did a couple loops of the balloon and then return back to be fed. I’m not gonna lie, when we were getting acquainted on the ground, there were a few moments of me worrying he would scratch my eyes out. The photo below catches me in a nervous giggle, about to utilize my kickboxing stance, getting ready to guard my face. But he turned out to be just fine.When it was time to land, we parked ourselves just behind a lone patch of grass in the desert, as we watched some camels saunter along beside us.The landing was also lively; bouncing along the sand in the “brace” position, just in case the basket tipped.
Next we were off for a little safari in some vintage “Landies”. We ended up at a little oasis in the desert, greeted with coffee and dates, then served a breakfast of smoked salmon and caviar.It really was a pretty fantastic morning, and I’m now one step closer to completing my bucket list!
Thanks to Balloon Adventures Emirates for having me as a guest. As always, all opinions are my own.