March 22, 2011

My Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Ride Experience

OK, let me begin the story about the contest held in Twitter by @myballoonfiesta.

I found out that there was a contest where 5 top twitterers who tweets about the Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2011 and tag the @myballoonfiesta (so that they can count the tweets) will win free hot air balloon ride for two. So, since I had never been in a hot air balloon before (or being flown in one), I decided to enter this contest. About three days before the closing date, I was tweeting quite madly, apologizing to my followers at the same time for clogging the timeline.

By the end of the contest, I was told that I won a pair of tickets. At first, the person in charge (Nur Atiqah) informed me that my time slot is on Saturday morning and that I have to be at Secretariat, Monumen Alaf Baru, Putrajaya by 7.45am to register and then the hot air balloons will take off at 8am. A few hours later, she called me up again to inform that my time slot has changed to Sunday morning instead and again, she reminded me that I must be at the Secretariat at 7.45am because the hot air balloons will take off at 8am

Note : She reminded me TWICE.

At first, I thought I would not be able to go because of my "tie" with the Selangor Water Festival but after a last minute change of plans with the family (that's another long story), I was able to go to the hot air balloon fiesta on Sunday.

Now see this, I arrived at 7.45am at the Secretariat (Site C) just like she told me to. I had to wait for 10 minutes for the person at the Secretariat to call the person in charge about the hot air balloon ride and then text that person my name. Then, the same person at the Secretariat brought me to Site A at the Command Center. By now, it was already 8am. And what did they tell me when I arrived at Site A? ALL balloons have flown. (Check out map here so you can understand the layout better.)

I'm like, seriously??

The person I met at Site A (Mazlina, Razali and a very nice sis whom I forgot to ask her name - sorry!) asked why I was late and so I explained what the Twitter person in charge (Nur Atiqah) informed me on the phone about my flight schedule. Honestly, Nur Atiqah spoke to me in short and precise Manglish that does not leave room for any hidden meanings or misunderstanding. Again, let me stress here, she said clearly to, "come at 7.45am because 8am all hot air balloons are up in the air". Whereas Mazlina told me that the balloons had started to take off since 7.15am.  


Yes, I was disappointed. So, Mazlina offered me the tethered ride. And apparently there were others who also missed their hot air balloon ride. Turns out, there were 5 groups who missed. So, they prepared a new balloon for us to ride at site G and yeah, I only got to ride the tethered balloon ride that goes up in the air like 4 stories high, stayed up for nearly 5 minutes and then settle back down to the ground. Insasmuch as I would like to say we went up again, we didn't.

Am I disappointed? Yes. However, it was kind of Mazlina, Razali and sis-I-forgot-to-ask-name to offer me the hot air balloon ride in the evening. They said, if I am around at 5pm and if the weather is fine, they will slot me in to the evening ride. Although I already guess it was quite far-fetch considering that for the past few weeks it always rains in the evening, I was also happy with that offer. At least they tried. Heck, they even gave Bbunz a tag so that we can get into Site A whenever. And all this while, I could not contact Nur Atiqah.

By 3pm, it was raining cats and dogs. And by 5pm, only some balloonists dared to brave the wind and none was willing to carry passengers with them. As a matter of fact, Bbunz and I witnessed two balloons crashing into each other and propelled one of them into the trees. That was a dangerous moment.

  1. So, was I satisfied? No.
  2. Would I wait until next year for another chance to ride the hot air balloon? Maybe.
  3. Do I have any suggestions? Yes, I do. I suggest those involved forward this hot air balloon event to the middle of the year or some time when the weather is not as wet as in March. In doing so, not only will  it attract more visitors from around the country - which means an increase in profit for the organizers - it will also allow everyone at the event (balloonists, visitors and traders on site) to feel more ease and will allow them to do what they do best better.

Come on, if you can organize something as big as this, it wouldn't be too hard to just change the dates that would benefit everyone right? If you need petition from the people, then rally up the Malaysian bloggers and twitterers. I'm sure A LOT would be willing to cooperate because if it's beneficial for us all, why not? Think about it guys!

Anyways, just some photos at the 3rd Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon event. More photos will be uploaded at FB.

Hot Air Balloons

Paramotor, Helicopter, Hot Air Balloons

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