I went to Albuquerque, New Mexico to visit my brother the first weekend of October. Main reasons for going:
2)I had a birthday holiday from work (day off with pay, I'll take it!)
3)the Balloon Fiesta!
I met 3 interesting people on my way to Albuquerque, but didn't exchange names with any of them. I met the first man on my flight to Dallas. He had an Australian accent (I think) and I couldn't always understand him because he talked softly and well, I'm going deaf. But we had a good time making fun of items in the Sky Magazine. Seriously, who wants grass for a dog to pee inside the house? or a creepy baby doll?
While waiting for my connecting flight, I met an 82 year old man with Alzheimer's. He was friendly and fun to talk to, even if he kept forgetting where we were and where we were going. He was going to visit his 64 year old daughter in Albuquerque. He's really going to miss his dog and his wife. He says the great thing about being old is he got to marry a woman 20 years younger than him. I just smiled and nodded and realized his daughter is probably older than his wife. He told me about his WWII war training experiences (he didn't have to go to active war but his training experiences were bad enough).
On the connecting flight, I sat next to a teacher who teaches 4 through 6 grades in one classroom in a small town outside of Dallas. She says she likes this because she really gets to know her students. She was visiting a friend whose husband died over labor day weekend. I told her about my grandpa, and she told me that her father-in-law died of a prolonged illness a couple years ago, and as time passes, it becomes easier to remember them the way they were before the illness. I found this reassuring.
I got there on Thursday night, had a couple bites of sushi, tried out Joe's ab rocket, and then drove around trying to find a place to buy a wrist brace (my wrist was hurting due to strain due to sitting at a computer all day with my hand practically glued to the mouse). So after 20+ hours of being awake, I finally went to bed, on an air mattress.
On Friday, I woke up and went out on the balcony to see the view and enjoy my bowl of Special K cereal and Starbucks double shot that my thoughtful brother bought for me. Then, Joe and I went to the zoo, aquarium, and botanical garden. The aquarium was lame (and when I say lame, I mean it was so small it took less than 20 minutes to see everything) but the zoo and botanical garden were cool. We were pretty tired at the end and had a nice chicken and rice dinner at his place.
Saturday we woke up extremely early, well normal time for me, actually an hour later due to the time difference. We had to catch the shuttle bus for the Balloon Fiesta at 4:30 a.m. Our bus driver was crazy and didn't know how to get there. We were wondering what she was on... The dawn patrol was canceled, which kind of sucked because we were standing around in the dark waiting for balloons to ascend for a while. But once the action started, it was amazing! The mass ascension is really a site worth seeing. I took hundreds of photos. You can see some of them in the collage below.
Side note: the weather in Albuquerque is superb. It was hot, but there really is a difference between a dry heat and the stupid Missouri humidity. The skies were blue and the two storms there were were up in the mountains and didn't come to us... Also, the view from my brother's balcony is fantastic.. in the collage to follow, look at the picture on the left with the blue sky on one side and white clouds on the other; it was storming in the mountains while the sun was setting in the west. Oh another thing, I can tell direction in Albuquerque!!! The mountains are always to the East! How easy is that? Hmm the mountains are behind me, I must be facing West. Why doesn't St. Louis have a natural landmark like that?
Joe and I also went up to the mountains on Saturday. It was pretty cool, but I decided I really don't like tourists. We hiked around the mountain looking for rocks to bring back to my friend from work. Don't ask me why she wanted a rock, but she did. We left the mountain just in time. When we got back to Joe's apartment, a storm started in the mountains. I got some amazing pictures, but I'm glad I wasn't stuck in the storm!
On Sunday, we went to Old Town for a little shopping. I got a small decorative pot to remind me of the trip, a shot glass, balloon t-shirt, and of course, balloon salt and pepper shakers for my mom. Joe also got a decorative pot and a glass lizard thing. Then he took me to the airport. I sat next to a cute guy on the plane, but he slept the whole time, it was annoying. I like to talk to the people next to me. Oh well, I enjoyed the view to Phoenix. My connecting flight was delayed. On the 2nd flight, I sat next to an older couple who weren't really into talking either. Odd coincidence, my neighbor was on that flight! I hitched a ride home with him so my parents didn't have to come fetch me from the airport at midnight.
Well, that was my weekend in Albuquerque. Now here's what you've all been waiting for: My Albuquerque Collage!