Jean in the Sky
by The Dreamer
I haven’t been sharing my Turkey experiences lately, so I decided to skip to the highlights, which happened in Day Six of my trip! We traveled to Cappadocia and went straight to the hotel for an early night (which I spent in the Turkish hot springs and also ogling at my crush working out at the gym, oops!) Reason being we had to rise before the sun did, so that when we floated above the horizon, we could see dawn unfolding before our eyes.
Which was exactly what happened.
I stumbled out of bed at 4am to dress myself up haphazardly. My lids were ridiculously heavy, and I was drunk with fatigue having ignored the tour guide’s orders to turn in early. Plus, a bath in the hot springs made my entire body feel slack and comfortable, and honestly, I wasn’t up for hot air ballooning.
We were ferried uphill, where I watched as the city gradually stirred awake. Fluorescent orange lights flickered on and from above, I gaped as the landscape was illuminated in a ethereal glow. It kind of felt like candles being lit up, one by one. I blame my camera for being unable to focus under dim conditions.
The crew breathed life into the balloon. Every breath came in the form of blistering, passionate spurts. I was torn between the serenity of the night and the vigor of the flames. Both orange, but in a completely different way. The momentary flames brightened the curves of every single person’s excited and awed face, before plunging us into darkness again, accompanied by the dim luminosity of the city.
(The following photos are shown in gallery style. Click on them for the best view.)
After we all struggled to get on, the young pilot explained to us the rules and even mischievously handed me one of the ropes to tug. The moment he let go, I almost flew out of the basket. Holding on so tightly and pulling with all my might, I almost got rope burns. The pilot flashed me a grin and I blushed.
Before we knew it, we were defying gravity. The basket lifted off the ground and the pilot celebrated by shooting helium flames in a rhythm that resembled a happy tune—more of showing off than pumping necessary spirit into the balloon.
I watched as my breath mingled with the clouds. It was cold all the way up there, and I huddled into my coat, exhaling into the circumference of my scarf, glad for the two seconds of warmth over my ruddy cheeks that it provided after. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. The balloon gradually descended, gyrating around rocky hills, sweeping across plains, casting our shadows. When I looked up, there were balloons peppering the entire sky, which was now a periwinkle grey.
I was sure that my heart had lodged itself in my oesophagus and stopped beating. The view was absolutely, undeniably breathtaking. I felt a wobble in my knees, and I was pretty sure it was not because of a fear of heights, but rather, a fleeting moment of vulnerability, watching as the city really turned as miniscule as glowing candles.
The best part of every sunrise, to me, was the before. Splayed over the sky was a riot of colours. No, it can’t be described as riot, because they were not fighting. They blended among each other—pale shades of purple, red and blue.
Of course, the sunrise was also equally mesmerizing. Peeking out from the skyline, a ring of radiance encompassed the morning sun. It was warm, like a hug. Everyone simultaneously looked up, basking in the comforting glow of dawn. Not even the pilot was immune to the magic of the sunrise. He, too, gazed dreamily as the colours in the sky shifted, making way for the yellow to engulf.
You know what, just take a look at the pictures and my video to truly understand what I’ve been blabbering about.
We landed safely on one of those trucks, and then we struggled once more to get down. To celebrate our safe return, we popped champagne and drank it with sparkling grape juice, which was the perfect mix. I was literally dizzy with happiness and slightly overwhelmed with the picturesque views that I had drank in hungrily as well.
I pieced together this video: It’s shaky at times, and also sometimes glitchy, but I really tried my best. I stitched it together painstakingly, then un-stitched and re-stitched it until perfection. I guess it allows me to re-live one of the most tranquil, dreamlike moments of my life.
钧 x x
j e a n x x