13 October 2006

The Air Up There

If you have a digital camera, always, Always ALWAYS carry it with you. If not you could miss the kind of photo opp I had today.... dang it.

October 6th was the beginning of the Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. HUNDREDS of hot air balloons from all over the world decend here the second week of October for the worlds largest hot air balloon rally. If only I were a poet so I could describe the wonderment of it all, the beauty of it.

So I'm driving in to work today and along Montgomery and San Pedro I look up to see this hot air balloon hovering just above the tree tops and electrical wires... balloons are NOT supposed to be that low around the metro area so I knew something was definately wrong. I proceded to pick up a co-worker and on the way down her street the balloon appears again...this time just skimming over rooftops. and trees... you could see at least 8 to 10 people in the gondola. I'm figuring it was too heavy...so we are driving and my co-worker Angela says.."pull down this street, hurry" so we take a chance and drive along a neighborhood street and sure enough...the balloon is coming RIGHT AT US where we are parked.. the chase vehicle comes around the corner and the driver motions for us to move out of the way so i do a quick u-turn and let the chase vehicle pass us and I follow behind...

The chase vehicle stops right near a three way stop in what is obviously a normally quiet neighborhood...now here's where I WISH I had brought my camera.... the hot air ballon with its 8 t0 10 passengers suddenly decends out of the sky ...skimmng rooftops...between trees and to the pilots credit lands almost smack center in the intersection. The chase crew grabs the gondola as it pulls them a few feet along the steet.

It was funny.. this woman was coming out of her house with her child in her arms unaware of the incident going on...as she exits her house her kid screams..."mommmmmmy" and she looks up only to see the gondola right over her head....roof high... she screams too and moves back into the doorway.... The balloon landed safely and everyone started to applaud... I guess the news spread fast cause people were running down the street to visit the strangers from another world....hahaha... people started shaking hands...pictures going off...it was too cool.

The balloon fiesta takes place the second weekend every October. Its usually pretty cold in the early morning. If you want to be there for the mass ascention you need to be there by 5 am if not earlier. The crowds are HUGE and traffic is a mess. There are park and ride areas as well as the new Rail Runner metro-rail service to the park.

There is also a new Hot Air Balloon Museum that has opened and is worth checking out.

I'm out....until our next adventure.

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