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Sorry for the lack of updates recently, but I haven't really done anything very exciting until recently. Most of my free time at home has been spent painting, though I am now nearly done; all that's left is the vaulted ceiling. The rest of my time has been spent in Tucson working.

Two weekends ago, however, I took a few days off and went with my mom and dad down to Albuquerque to see the annual balloon fiesta. My mom had wanted to see the balloons for many years, so I used some of my many HHonors points to get a room for Mother's Day. We stopped in Santa Fe along the way, mostly so my mom could shop, but my dad and I had fun wandering around as well. Perhaps the strangest thing was that while in Santa Fe, I ran into some of the people that I traveled around Australia and New Zealand with. It was an incredible coincidence to see them there. After Santa Fe, we drove the remaining 60 miles to Albuquerque, eventually arriving at the local Hampton Inn. We only had a few hours to sleep, though, as the hotel receptionest recommended leaving for the balloon park at 3:45 in the morning. It was great advice; there was no traffic, and we had front row parking. My grandfather, however, who also went to the fiesta, had to wait in traffic for over an hour before getting to the parking lot.

Dawn Patrol started bright and early. A handful of balloons launched before sunrise, so the others could get a better idea of the wind's direction, and also to provide a good show for those who were there early. A bit later, shortly after sunrise, Mass Ascension began. Hundreds upon hundreds of balloons launched from the enormous field, with the process spanning many hours. Finally the field was empty, though, and the crowd began to disperse. Later that night, a balloon glow and fireworks were scheduled, but the glow was canceled due to weather. The following morning's events, a duplicate of the previous morning's, were also canceled. Fortunately, though, that evening's glow and fireworks were able to go forward, and we were fortunate enough to see it. The glow was a sight to behold. Of course, I was able to capture some photos of the various events; check the photos page to see them.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 10:00 PM