Friday, October 07, 2005

Life under a giant mobile.

This past week, the day before I participated in my 2nd triathlon, Husband and I took a couple friends to see the annual international "Balloon Fiesta" that is held in Albuquerque every year. For those of you that don't know, apparently the conditions of the high desert to the west, river valley, and and mountains to the east converge to make this a perfect area for hot-air ballooning. The result, then, is like living under a child's crib toy most of the time between September and April. In the fall and spring, it's not unusual to get up on the weekend and see 20 or so balloons up in the air, just hanging there or lofting along in the breeze.

On the first official day of the fiesta, we took off in the Roo pre-dawn, and crawled through murderous traffic, something you don't want to do more than once. If we hadn't had guests, we would have parked miles away and ridden our bikes. To actually be on the field, you pay $$, but it's kind of cool to get up close and see how these things are inflated and fly. It's considered quite an honor to get to "crew", which are the group of people who do all the grunt work of unfolding, holding, standing in front of a blasting cold fan and then pulling on ropes, after which they may or may not get to go for a flight. It's hard work, and as I've made no secret, I'm not someone who relishes just effort for effort's sake. Triathlons are different, that's all there is too it.
In any case, there were over 600 balloons, I think that's what someone told me. Lots of them were "special shapes" meaning that they were something other than the teardrop familiar ones we see. To the left, you can see a Wells Fargo balloon, and a couple of inflated bees that - yes, it was too cute! - bent over and appeared to kiss while they were being inflated. A few familiar ones, like Smokey the bear, and a few new ones. It's fairly entertaining, and a couple times during the week that is the Fiesta! they also have fireworks displays, which Husband and I view from up on the mesa on our balcony.

All in all, it makes for a fanciful place to live. Don't you wish you could live in ABQ?

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