Tuesday, September 6th 2016.

by Izzati Khairudin


Flight day ! Because I had only a half an hour window between 7.00 am when the sun rises and 7.30 am, which is my limit to fly up to 3000 feet; I made everyone wake up as early as 4.45am so we could arrive at the launch field by 6.00am. The moment I woke up though, I could hear the rain outside.....jhwswvidywedywieyd !!!!!! So I turned on my 'rain alarm' app to see the clouds and it showed that its moving to the sea, and it’s slowly clearing. 

In the rain we left the guest house as scheduled and it was still drizzling when we finally arrive at the take off field. We then quickly put the banner back on and by 6.40 i was ready to inflate and guess what, the rain finally stopped! Our local hero, Mr. Abdul Aziz was also there early with his camera. By 7.10am we were already up in the air, climbing slowly and enjoying the scenery. It was a little cloudy after the rain, but it was absolutely beautiful. 

When you are floating, you are presented with a 360 degrees uninterrupted view of the world. 

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It takes your breath away. 

We could see the sun waking up and the low clouds rolling in-between mountains itself is enough to get you choked up especially if it was your first time. Mr Aziz was literally speechless. The look on his face which I remember so vividly gives the kind of happiness that words cannot explain. All of us in the basket just stood still and soaked in the view.

Throughout the flight Mr. Aziz explained about what he does for a living and explain the area we were flying over, even showed us his hometown. The flight lasted for almost an hour, at 7.30am Eqa called ATC in KT informing them at low level the wind was taking us towards the airport so we will keep within the 500 feet ceiling till we landed.

During the low level flying we pass through villages and had a few vehicles chasing us and stopping by the road side to take a photo of the balloon. The Wind was at 12 knots at 200ft but died down when we were much closer to the ground. I was surprise that the area we flew over had plenty of places to land. At 8.00am I found a spot next to a small cow farm and we had a soft landing with our crew following us closely. 

When we landed, we had a few locals on the motorcycle looking somewhat amused by the sight of the balloon landing there in the middle of nowhere. We called them closer to take photos with the balloon while waiting for our crew to arrive. We continued chatting with Mr. Aziz and Eqa called up DCA to let us know that we have safely landed. 

When we informed them our location they suggested that we have Nasi Dagang nearby for breakfast. Mr. Aziz willingly took us to his favourite spot after we packed the balloon. Clearly feeding us is a way to our heart, so we were quite content after the flight.

After breakfast he took us to the a fishing port showing us the typical Terengganu fisherman's boat and explaining the type of fish caught here in the Terengganu waters. Then he brought us to Batu Burok (Ugly Rock) beach where the surfers come during the monsoon season.  This is where his passion to capture photos of people surfing came about. 

He does it to promote Terengganu as a surfer's paradise and after 6 years he can really see the effect in terms of numbers of surfers local and international making Batu Burok as one of their go to places to surf. 

On our way sending him back to his car, he dropped by his favourite keropok lekor place and gave us a bag full as a token of appreciation. All the time he kept thanking us, still couldn't believe how lucky he was to be chosen. The thing that stuck with me the most is when he mentioned: 

“ I do this (taking photos of surfers to promote Terengganu) as a way to give back. Allah SWT pays you back in many ways, and i think this is His way of repaying my deeds. “ 

To be honest the pleasure is all ours, he was such an interesting guy be around, and so passionate about what he does which explains why we chose him as our local hero! 

All in all, our experience in Terengganu was quite amazing. And I must say that the humble people we met during our trip made it all better. We can’t wait to be able to host a balloon meet in Terengganu as it has one of the most beautiful landscape that I have flown so far.. 

Signing off on behalf of #LifeOnAirMy team,

Izzati Khairudin