October 12, 2012

White Dog and the White Dog Army love the excitement the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta brings to our autumn. They love watching the colorful balloons dancing in our skies in the early mornings. They are delighted with the creativity and whimsy of the special shapes balloons.

But like all things, there are some not so great parts. We already mentioned the painful (to dog ears) sound of the propane heaters the balloons use to gain lift. Since we live relatively near the airport which is a restricted fly zone, we are for the most part spared that discomfort.

Hot Air Balloons are notoriously unpredictable in where they land. Changes in wind speed or direction in the layers of air in the atmosphere is the basic method used to navigate; move up or down in the stream to find a layer moving where you want to go. This is not always possible to precisely control, and the wind's fickleness affects the use of propane to heat the air. So sometimes, it simply becomes a matter of needing to come down to earth. The pilots are skilled and generally land safely but not necessarily where they had planned. Their "chase" vehicles rush to where ever they land to insure all is secure and no one or thing is harmed. We Albuquerqueans are used to balloons landing in parking lots, or school athletic fields, or backyards, or...
Airabella the Cow in a definitely unladylike situation
During the 10 days of the Fiesta 800,000 guests descend on our city of 555,000. It is a bit overwhelming to find crowds of people in all of our favorite haunts of solitude, to suddenly be confronted with gridlock, to have to share our beautiful empty openness with so many.

That was the situation the White Dog Army found itself in on our Friday-as-Saturday. The normally empty hill Park was packed with RVs and a huge family reunion. The duck park was hosting a party for members of a ballooning club. Our errands took us past the Balloon Fiesta launch Park in the middle of the day (when no activities occur) but traffic crawled for nearly a mile, filled with vacation vehicles, out of state plates, and vendors on the side of the road. The WDA got impatient at one point and tried to direct the traffic from out of our windows...to no success. Even our own neighborhood which is very trendy and chic in the University area made us feel claustrophobic. There were way too many people at our favorite outdoor dining spots to even stop for a WDA lunch.
Balloon Fiesta Launch Park and Museum
We decided that the crowds were great for the city's economy but not much fun for the "regulars," so Steve wisely called in our carry out order to a tiny little bbq and fried seafood place over by the Base. In the quiet of home, the WDA enjoyed Linner (lunch and dinner) of fried catfish and bbq turkey.

Fiesta ends Sunday and we will be glad to have our "normalness" back. There is a large population in town of hot air balloonists so we will not even miss the sight of colorful globes against the perfect blue skies. We WILL miss the thrill of hundreds in the air and the excitement of being the focus of bringing delight to the world for a few days. But we will be able to run off-leash and roll in the grass at the Park!


Brian said...

I am sooooo behind, so I read yesterdays and todays posts. The ballons are beautiful but yes, unpredictable fur sure. We have a baloon festival here ( about half the size of yours ) and two years ago one came down in our lake!

Kari in Vegas said...

hahahaha that photo cracks me up! Silly cow in the road

Stop on by for a visit

haopee said...

That's beautiful... even the scary looking cow along the road was.

Did the balloons come in different round designs? I saw some balloon in shapes of pigs and zebra heads, did you have those kinds of balloons too?

Have a great weekend.

Huggies and Cheese,


Siku Marie, White Dog said...

Haopee, the special shapes balloons come in all different shapes and sizes. We have a piggy bank and a zbra head among the 50 or so special balloons that flew in Albuquerqeu this year. Then their are the traditional upside down pear shape ones in every color and pattern you can imagine!