Thursday, October 25, 2007

a load of hot air

who would have thought so many people were up before the crack of dawn?

after a couple of false starts due to inclement weather, including a cancellation at the
ungodly time of 3:45am, we finally had the chance to go for a hot air balloon ride (elmo did well to keep this a secret for so long!).
we started at southbank at 4:30am, headed out to monash uni and were in the air by 5:30am. this was the best part of the morning: watching half a dozen giant deflated balloons gently roar to life one by one, the air swirling around inside as they begin to lift off the footy ground.
we waved the first balloons off, then a quick scramble into the basket and away we floated, waving goodbye to the ground crew ourselves. not sure if it was the lack of cawfee or the lack of sleep, but this was a truly magical experience.
despite the low cloud, the view was spectacular. from the air, we saw the synchrotron, trains and cars on the freeways, the racetrack, various universities, many a dream suburban home (so many swimming pools in the eastern suburbs. tsktsk ;p), elmo's old high school, the amazing greenery surrounding melbourne and folks on a morning jog or walking their dogs.

other than the odd burst of flame to keep us afloat, it was eerily quiet, so still, so peaceful.
as we neared the cbd, the winds became more temperamental so our pilot, marlon, landed us with a few soft thuds on an unsuspecting school oval. for this honour, the groundsman was more than happy to accept a bottle of champers, a tradition harking back to French pioneers who appeased folks with their local sparkling, when landing in their fields. marlon tells us this also served as assurance that 'balloonatics' were not messengers of the devil.
we ended the morning with a champagne breakfast with our fellow basket ballooners to celebrate various anniversaries, weddings and birthdays. incredible to think we can still experience this technology, and an unforgettable, breathtaking start to the morning (thank you so much elmo :) )


elmo said...


i'm glad we got the chance to go up...finally! i reckon we should go for brekky there again one day - but at a more sensible time...?

happy b'day jfox!

yossarian said...

oh wow! have been looking forward to this post! love the pics and really like the idea of it being so nice and quiet up there - would have thought it would have been kinda noisy and er, gusty, if anything?

glad you both enjoyed it, and elmo, that idea was a stroke of genius ;p

elmo said...

hey yoss,

it was cool...but yeah - you'd reckon it would be breezy, but its actually really calm. marlon, our pilot, said that its cause we're generally being carried along with the wind, and we would only feel gusts during changes in wind direction and crosswinds it was actually pretty nice! except for the occasional burst of flame from the burners...anyway, can't claim credit for the idea...just tried to keep it a surprise!


M's nemesis said...

as per comment in prevous post- I'd love to have my head in the clouds! Most awesome idea and surprise and hope you both enjoyed it!

Also, nerdy excitement-OMG you saw the synchrotron!!! :)

Geoffrey Kong 江貴為 said...

This is surely the most enjoyable form of flying!
Why no photos of the synchrotron though? I still haven't had a chance to see it!!

Jaye said...

Hi hi!
That hot air balloon experience looked amazing! *jealous*

Hey! Am thinking of coming to Melbourne at the beginning of December? Will you be around?

Serenity Later said...

Sorry for my late commenting but geez can i just say elmo you're an absolute star for organising this for a very deserving jfox! how wonderful!!!! you know in canberra in april they have the balloon fiesta where every morning (for a week, i think) you find the sky littered with a dozen or so hot air balloons. the flight path crosses campus so i could theoretically see them on my walk to walk....i said theoretic, i ain't getting up at the hours these things keep!!! :P

Serenity Later said...

...errr i meant walk to work!