Up before dawn, we make it down the gangplank of ‘Road to Mandalay’ and up the bank of the Irrawaddy to our rickety old bus that’s been built on the chassis of an old WW II Chevrolet Jeep.
Anticipation building, we are jolted over dusty roads to an empty field on the outskirts of town where our hot-air balloon is being made ready for us to go aloft and see the sun rise over the pagodas on the dusty plain below.
With cup of tea in hand, we watch the British pilot supervise the boys holding the basket to the ground while using a big fan to fill-out the balloon.
I can still hear the loud whoosh and see the lick of flame shooting up into the red interior of the balloon as he turns on the burners.
We float for nearly an hour taking in the surreal landscape and at times coming low enough to look inside a ruin to see the Buddha image sitting there looking out on the world.