Friday, October 9, 2009

Special Shape Balloons

The recovery process continues for our restaurant reviewer.

Beginning in 1989, when the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta was 17 years old, the Special Shape Balloons have appeared during the event.

Some of the balloons in the shapes of animals, characters, and objects that participated in the Mass Ascension during one of the morning programs are shown here. I found it hard to believe, but I'm pretty sure these two bees are joined at the hands.

There are also morning launches just for the Special Shapes during the week and also some "Glowdeos" for these balloons at night. For these evening programs, the balloonists are given a countdown, at which time they all fire up their burners to provide a fantastic light show.

We learned that there was an international story involving some other special shape balloons that had not appeared in the events early in the week.

It seems that 10 balloons scheduled to appear in Albuquerque were among 13 balloons held in China after a dispute between a Chinese company and an American balloon event producer following a balloon event in Guyang, Inner Mongolia.

Late Tuesday, Gov. Bill Richardson said that the 10 special shaped balloons that had been held for weeks in China were headed for Albuquerque.

Richardson says the Chinese Embassy, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the federal Department of Homeland Security were among those who helped expedite the balloons' release.

So, the saying, "when pigs fly . . . " may refer to the situation in which Homeland Security is involved in negotiations to release Darth Vader and Coco the Clown (just two of the balloons being held).

The balloon with the frosty mug did not seem to be filled with A&W Root Beer.

At the completion of the mass ascension, we headed back to the shuttle bus by way of the 1/3-mile street of vendors.

In past years, as many as 100,000 people have attended one day's program (morning and evening attendance combined). This is a portion of the crowd present on the morning we attended the Fiesta.

It was 8:30 in the morning, and while people may have been up since 4:00, it was still hard to consider ordering some of the food items at that hour.

But others saw the jumbo corn dogs as just the thing for breakfast.

Now it was about 10 years ago that we dismissed breakfast burritos at 8:00 a.m. at a similar balloon festival in Santa Rosa, CA. However, we have come to realize that a burrito with the right kind of ingredients can be just the thing for breakfast.

So, while "pork chop on a stick" may sound a bit unusual for a post-dawn snack, we will withhold judgement on the advisability of ordering one of these for breakfast.

And, while a good cheesesteak sandwich or even some bratwurst may sound good, we passed on these and opted for more traditional breakfast items back at the RV.

But as we were rounding the bend at the end of Vendors' Row, we paused to wonder what the Egyptian Papyrus would refer to or how many Authenic Russian Nesting Dolls would be sold.

But we did give the Smoothie tent some serious attention. Vegetarian choices were also available at this tent, which was off the main street of vendors.

And what morning would be complete without a stop at the Body Piercing tent.

The whole experience, including musical performances and chainsaw wood carving contests, was truly memorable.

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