At long last, after living for about two years in New Mexico, we finally had the opportunity to attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Hubs had said to our son,
“It’s just balloons.”
I have to admit, it is just balloons, but for someone who feels a strong urge to eat s certain shade of pink, it is more than just balloons for me. I am no photographer, but I love photos, and I enjoy taking shots with my meager digital camera. While I did entertain a longing for those professional cameras, practicality practically erased that thought, and I declare myself ignorantly content with my digital camera.
I have always been fascinated by hot air balloons, and as I think of it, my memory reminisces a tin gypsy caravan with golden rims I had somehow received as a gift from someone. A hot air balloon in my childhood memory is magical and there is gold in it somewhere. I have never seen a real life hot air balloon in my life until I came to New Mexico. And my first sighting of it was not at the balloon fiesta, but in my backyard, on a peaceful, sleepy Sunday morning, when I spotted something through my living room ceiling window. I was bursting with excitement, and woke my children up. With groggy eyes, they ambled out the back door to look at my discovery. They weren’t fazed by it. I was shocked. How could you not be excited over seeing a hot air balloon floating over your house? I didn’t deem myself crazy, even when they laughed at me for being over-excited. And so maybe, this wish to attend the balloon fiesta stemmed from my childhood fascination with hot air balloons.
I am glad my husband entertained this wish. If I enjoyed it more than the kids, well, having one bubbly and happy mother doesn’t hurt. I’ve never pored over photos over and over again, well, not if you count poring over my own photos in vanity during my teen years, as much as I’ve pored over my snapshots at the fiesta. The azure blue sky provided the perfect backdrop to the bursting colors of those balloons. The scatterings of cumulus clouds added some drama and almost child-like feel to it.
I was mesmerized by the colors and shapes, but I’m more mesmerized, I have to admit, by the scenes and sight I manage to capture by the mercy and grace of Allah through technology. There I was, a sole excited niqabi in a throng of people, snapping away, thinking,
Wow, this is amazing. The battery’s not out yet, as it usually is.
It is better than taking food photos, because I didn’t have to arrange my subjects in a pleasing arrangement. The subject is already there, and all I had to do was press and press and press to my heart’s content. And then of course, the battery died on me, but by then, the Mass Ascension had ended. It was the Mass Ascension, at 7 a.m. that I was shooting for at the balloon fiesta after reading up the event schedule on the website. One drawback to the fiesta is the unbelievable morning traffic. The sun was not even up yet, but the interstate was practically held up, ridiculously held up, for hours. Well, not the whole interstate, but the part that led to the fiesta of course. We had left the hotel at around 5 am, and we only manage to park around 7 am. Traffic was at a snail’s pace, and at some point, at a stand still. We witnessed the sun clambering up over the horizon behind the Sandia Mountains. By the time we parked, there was still a hint of orange at the horizon, and with each passing second, the lighting changed gradually as I clicked away at the rising balloons.
Do I want to ride in a hot air balloon? Well, after visiting the balloon museum, and after finding out the price for such an adventure, I would say I am content with being on the firm ground with my digital camera.