Up, Up and Away!!

I was in Putrajaya last Thursday for the 1st Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. About 16 Hot Air Balloons from over 12 countries around the world flew over the skies of Putrajaya last weekend during this fiesta. Besides the Hot Air Balloons, they had an exhibition of other aviation sports like Para-Motor, Aero-Model and Kite Flying as well. Being in the Media, of course, I got a free ride!! I wasn’t expecting much, so I was truly surprised by the adventure that was my 1st hot air balloon experience. 

At work while the balloons behind me were all still deflated.

They use a heavy duty fan to first inflate the balloons.

We were so engrossed with our shoot, that the organizers had to rush us over to our balloon because it was already fully inflated and ready to fly! This picture was taken just before we had to run all the way across the field to get to our balloon before it took off!

We were in the Blue Balloon, Balloon No.2, from France. The basket can fit a maximum of 4 adults so Sasha (with the camera) came along with me for the ride, together with the 2 Frenchmen pilot and co-pilot (in black polo tees, Jean Marie- in basket, and Alain- outside basket on the left). All the other people were trying to stabilize the balloon before letting it fly! 

The view above me. The propane fire was so hot! It kinda singed a bit Sasha’s hair off coz he’s tall. Alain, the co-pilot told us that’s why he’s bald! 🙂

We have lift off!! The view as we were going up. We were the first balloon to take off that evening.

View from the top. We went up very fast and it was pretty scary coz you’re standing on a wicker basket with no room to move around, no safety harness and no parachutes. I was so afraid that my phone, which I was taking pictures with, might just accidently slip off my hands and fall 20 ft below.   

Silhouette of a lone balloon against the sunset

Besides the standard hot air balloons, there were some fun ones as well, like this one called Nelly B the Pink Elephant Balloon from Belgium. 

The Peacock Balloon from The Netherlands

Nescafe Mug Balloon from New Zealand

The Orange Balloon from Belgium

While we were flying further and further away from where we took off, I asked the pilot where we were gonna land and he said, in his very French accent, ” I dunno”. In my head I was thinking, what?!?What do you mean by, you don’t know!!  You’re suppose to be pilot-ing this thing!! So anyways, this was when the adventure started, the pilot tried to radio back to base to ask if he could fly over this hill coming up and he didn’t get a reply. He tried to radio another balloon, again, zilch. I started to panic a bit, our radio was not working!

So the pilot and co-pilot conferred in each other in French for a while and decided to fly over that hill. As we flew over the hill, I saw the other balloons one by one, slowly landing just before the hill. We passed the hill in one piece and were moving closer and closer into a construction workers’ settlement. Then, the pilot decided to land right where the settlement is, in the middle of nowhere. Just as we landed, all the Indonesian workers came out in their sarongs and towels to check everything out. I was a bit worried, thinking, oh no, they might want money from us or something for landing here.

But it turned out they were all really helpful, they helped pull and push our basket and balloon off a little cliff we were stuck on. They didn’t ask us for a single cent. It was just a bit of excitement for them, they all pulled out their ‘canggih’ mobile phones and started taking pictures, laughing at this little adventure of ours. We actually landed near this kampung and all the kampung folks who were at home, came out to check out all the commotion over a big blue balloon. We were suddenly surrounded by lots of people, all snapping away, asking questions, checking out the balloon and at that point I was also bitten to death by mosquitos. For a moment there, I thought we were never going to be found and might have put a night in the kampung coz we were really in the middle of nowhere, I couldn’t even explain to the person whom I had to call, where we were.  Anyways, cut the long story short, we were found about 40 minutes later, we packed up and were driven back to the take off site. 

It was truly an adventure for me. I have to say though, the ride was a tad bit too short, and coz we were flying over Putrajaya, it wasn’t as scenic as it would’ve been if we were flying over KL City. But it was fun nonetheless. Remember to check out the edited clip of my Hot Air Balloon adventure next week on the Quickie!! The organizers promised to bring this fiesta back again next year so stay tuned for more updates on the Quickie. 

By the way guys, it’s only a day left to Earth Hour. Remember, on Saturday, 8:30pm – 9:30pm, switch off all your lights to vote for earth! If you’re not sure what to do for an hour in the dark, do take the public transportation down to KL, the Quickie team will be in Capsquare, there are plenty of things happening around Bukit Bintang and KL Tower as well as 1U and the Curve. So bring your family and friends out of the house, and be apart of this momentous occasion. 

Love, Bel



0 comments on “Up, Up and Away!!

  1. Emiratez

    Wow, nice experience! Btw, I still remember these hot balloons flew away through my house during my childhood. Bukan selalu dapat tengok benda ni. Huhu..

  2. marie

    wow… it’s great that you could get the chance to go to these kind of events! Those balloons are only something I had seen on TV so far. 🙂


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