Dineen and I have left town, away from the snipers and the ballot fraud, to spend a few days with family in New Mexico exchanging happy thoughts and laughter.
We've sampled some phenominally bad chain food ("authentic New Mexican cuisine?" Not according to my large intestine!) but hope to work our way up from there. Fortunately, we've put food issues behind us and spent the day at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which I understand to be the largest gathering of hot-air balloon enthusiasts in the world. In the morning, just after dawn, hundreds of balloons unfold, inflate, and leave Earth in waves, floating down the air currents that run along the mountains. Then at night, the ballloons all return - hauled back by the chase crews that followed them all morning with pickups and trailers - for the Balloon Glow.
The Glow happens at nightfall. The hot air in the balloons comes from high-powered blasts of propane, which in the dark turns the entire balloon into a giant luminaria. As we saw for the first baloon at dawn, it can be a stunning effect for just a single balloon. But most of the morning fliers come back for the Glow and line up row by row on the fields. Then all on cue, they flame up.
The effect is astonishing.Posted by wasylik at October 7, 2002 12:05 PM