One thing I’ve wanted to do for a long time is ride in a hot air balloon – it seems so cool and so peaceful! When Hassan mentioned that you could do an excursion the next morning to take a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings, I signed up immediately! It was only $100US per person, so I thought it was quite the deal! (That’s the standard price, too!)
The wake up call was crazy early. We had to be down, ready to go, at 4:15. About 12 people from the boat went, and considering that the boat was sailing with minimal guests, it turned into about 25% of the boat! (Yes… on a cruise meant for I heard 250 people, ours had 40 – 50. Basically how Egypt tourism is going these days.)
We got on smaller boats to go across the river, where we filled out forms removing them from liability and listing our weight. You definitely aren’t in the litigiousness of the US anymore! I took a few seconds to read what they asked me to sign, and the guy interrupted me and was like “the pilot will explain this all soon.”
I just replied with “I read all documents before signing them.” He looked perplexed.
Then we got into vans that took us to the field where they were inflating the balloons. That was its own kind of awesome thing to watch. They were inflating probably 12 hot air balloons and each one inflated at a slightly different rate. In the pre-dawn hours, the main light was coming from whenever they were firing gas into the balloons. Definitely cool to watch.
But then even cooler – we got into the basket of our balloon! It’s bigger than I expected – I think there were 12 people in the basket, including the pilot. It’s also so much hotter! The heat coming off of the burners was incredible. Luckily, when you’re on a hot air balloon ride, they’re not burning all the time – just when you need to go up.
We were probably the fourth balloon to launch that morning. There were balloons ahead of us and behind us, and it was cool to be in the midst of all of the balloons. At this point, dawn was beginning to break.