Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Albuquerque and the Balloon Festival

I've come to Albuquerque during the Balloon Fiesta for a Lexicon event at Alamosa Books, a wonderful new children's bookstore in the northeast of the city. Yesterday I drove my rental car to the store, where I unloaded and sorted all the needed supplies. Happy with the site and the preparations, I slung the heavy suitcase into the trunk, slammed it shut -- and experienced a foreboding sinking feeling.

Sure enough, the car keys were nowhere to be found, and the car was locked with my purse inside. So I spent an our reading large print children's books while waiting for the Hertz-designated locksmith to come let me in.

Today started much better. I drove down to the Balloon Fiesta Park in time to see most of the 7:30 am mass launch. In quick succession and sometimes three or four at a time, the air in the balloons is expanded with a whoosh of flames. The envelope fills, rounding out, and the balloon rises and immediately starts drifting east toward the mountains. There are colorful balloons, balloons advertising some hotel or country or business, and shaped balloons --Darth Vader's head, a Coke can, Smokey the Bear ("Who's Smokey the Bear?" I heard a ten-year-old asking his father), a huge pig, a ladybug, and even a pair of kangaroos, each with two baby kangaroos packed in her pouch.

All around me, people were taking photos with nice cameras and telephoto lenses. I had my i-phone, and when I figure out how, I'll upload a picture or two so you can see distant, dark, unimpressive balloons that don't convey the sense of things at all. Sigh.

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