I started this morning sooo early with a 4:45 a.m. pick-up at my hotel for a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia with Voyager Balloons. It was superlative.
It's a very popular activity, and I counted 35 to 40 other balloons while we were aloft. I thought I might be the only American in a ginormous group of Japanese tourists, but I ended up in a basket of 13 Brazilians, Italians, Aussies, and a gorgeous girl from Japanese television with her cameraman. I think they were shooting a travel special for Japanese TV. I was told she dates the world's most famous Formula One driver. She is half-American, or at least I assume so from her perfect Engligh and features. I thought it was in very poor taste to show up so goddamn early looking that good. She is obviously completely irresponsible.
Anyway, we fly for an hour or so, and it's magical and silent and you can see shepherds herding their flocks (and hear their bells) from nearly 400 meters in the air. When we reached about 1000 meters (this is how they count them, remember), the teeniest alarm went off on the pilot's gauge, and we chattered nervously waiting for him to do something other than bang it with his fist. Then it stopped, and we resumed our mad picture-taking, which really does NOT do the whole thing justice.