It all starts with an amazing dance of fabrics, cables and local workers in full harmony. Even without light, they know what they have to do, everything is very well synchronized. The first birds early risers across the skies while they let see the first rays of light. The balloons begin to be intuited, at the moment kilos of cloth subtly folded.
If it’s your first time, everything will surprise you. Will it hold the basket? Do we all fit? And fly alone with air? And so many bottles … What if it’s spent? And how low? And how does it rotate? Some impatient passengers throw their questions to the guides. With a slight smile, these answer educated some of the doubts. Between coffee and talks, the fans start. The constant air is entering the huge balloons. When there is enough space, the pilots enter, they check, they check, they taste the preparations, it shows in their faces that they enjoy. And this is transmitted.
If you have never traveled by balloon, this is where your flight begins. Nervous and impatient, you admire this dance of gigantic puppets. Proudly they swallow incessant air mouths with which they grow without stopping from the ground. Increasingly bigger, more and more consistent, impassive. There is almost no space, collide with each other, locals drag the fabrics, stretch the strings and shape those huge canvases.
And the show begins. The puppets turned into dragons, begin to swallow long columns of fire. Hypnotized by the flames, the balloons begin to rise, colliding with each other and marking their space in the air.
A beautiful rhythmic oscillation. Now the balloons are firmly held from the ground. There is nothing left, the pilots are releasing gas slowly, expectantly. After a few last minute tips, all begin to look for their space in the basket. The balloon is ready, restless. With its tense strings, it begins to rise from the ground, tense and warm.
The sensation of flying starts from the ground. Already with only one centimeter, fleets, without abruptness, without speed. Looking for the breeze, the current, everything is calm and calm. Only broken by the momentary sighs of the burned gas that tries to feed the giant.
Ascending between balloons, the sun is visible. The clouds provide an aura that dignifies its golden color. Even without much height, the perception of space has already changed. The trees greet from below, some small stupas rise up between them marking their characteristic elevation. The great temples, on the other hand, maintain their golden profile in front of the horizon. Constant, the balloon continues its incessant rise. Old Bagan approaches, where several of the most impressive Burmese temples come together.
They are already hundreds of stupas that begin to look for their gap between nature. The height is already enough to observe a vast and endless plain. Pagodas grouped and united by thousands of faithfully marked trails, complex structures raised to the sky. Reds, golds, browns, impressive colors that change with the height of the sun.
In the background, the river. From the ground, people admire the chain of balloons dancing between trees and pagodas. From the air, pilots control positions, register other balloons, monitor their vehicles that follow them from the ground.
The sun already paints everything reddish. It is already pure, imposing. Some of the temples acquire impressive colors when sprayed by lightning. While gently stroking a temple, we realize our insignificant presence. Huge constructions remind us that we are little, that we are only part. The proximity to some of these temples confirms the unthinkable. The descent.
Noticing how the balloon cools, how the pilot stops feeding the giant, transmits a tiny sadness. Easily replaceable by the feeling of the trip itself. For now, we are still floating, we continue to observe everything from a new perspective. Houses, roads, palm trees, animals. Little by little, the different fields are distinguished, workers in their gardens, children waving and running after the balloons. Land approaches. Each pilot has the last mission. That the landing is as smooth as possible and in the agreed place. After some dazzling maneuvers between ropes and burners, the pilot touches the ground, soft, firm.
Once on the ground, we have to make way for the dance again. Local workers begin their harmonious work to collect the balloon, already disembodied, dead. It has been an incredible journey.