Balloon Fiesta Blues
When the alarm went off at 5:30 this morning, I was surprisingly alert. Two years ago, I woke up at that time nearly every day, but times have changed. Though I was a couple hours short of my MSR (minimum sleep requirement), I was excited to go to the Balloon Fiesta for the first time in 18 years.
Warmly dressed and with coffee in hand, we left the house a bit after 6 to get to the park in time for the 7 a.m. lift off. Unfortunately, we ended up in our car in traffic until well after 7, at one point not moving for 20 minutes. For the city's largest event of the year, this seemed like bad planning. We did, however, get to hear six different stories on NPR about Obama's surprise Nobel Prize win, so that was something.
Once there, we were surprised to find that there was only one gate open, and two ticket windows selling tickets to get through that one gate. There were a few hundred people in line ahead of us, and the balloons had already started floating overhead, moving north.
We were in line just long enough so that all but about four balloons took off, so we decided to forget the $12 we'd have to pay to get in (already having paid $10 to park). A glance into the park revealed thousands and thousands and maybe still thousands of bodies, seemingly alive and stuffed with funnel cake. We jumped in our car and beat the traffic out. We then had breakfast at the Garcia's at 4th and Mountain. The green was delicious.
I'm not sure what time we should have left the house to get there in time. 5:30? That's bullshit. Get six more people to sell tickets and examine traffic patterns, Albuquerque. We had considered taking the train, but that still would have put us there about the same time, waiting in the same long line.
Verdict: Kind of cool balloons, a lot of nonsense. I'm glad I got to go with my hubby, but this is more evidence of why Albuquerque can't have nice things. We don't know how to handle it.
Pretty pictures, though!