Thursday, August 26, 2010

Flying high over Cappadocia

I'd watched videos, I'd scrolled through a bazillion photos, I'd made half a dozen attempts to get here, but finally on August 15th, 2010, I was on my way to board a hot air balloon and soar over the surrealist landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey.  It was something I had been wanting to do for so long, and it was so disturbingly early (5am!), that I remained in a perpetual haze as a Spanish couple and I made our way to the Voyager Balloons office.

I assumed I had an idea as to what would take place next. We would be served coffee and hopefully pastries (the presence of pastries was, for me, to be the determining factor into whether the hostel had steered me towards a legitimate or a Mickey Mouse balloon company), asked to sign some releases and be given a safety briefing that most of us would snooze through. I was joyfully right on  the one count that mattered.  There were pastries, some kind of cheese rolls, Turkish breads...Yasin's Backpackers Cave had done me right.  It soon became clear that there was some concern on the part of the staff, but it had nothing to do with releases or safety briefings, neither of which materialized.  They were agitated to the point of fixation on the unlikely topic of penmanship.  We had been asked to write our names, and this was stressed, neatly on a sign-in sheet.  The Spaniards had not complied to the staff's satisfaction and were now being asked to re-write their names. It was suggested that the female half of the duo give it a shot this time. The reason for such consternation was that there were to be certificates handed out at the end of the flight. They did not want to take any chances on having typos on said certificates.