We really didn't have a set schedule for this trip, just a list of things we wanted to see and do, and it was really a good thing we did it that way. We didn't decide until Friday night that we were going to try and hit the opening session of the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. Set our alarms for 4:15 AM which sounds terribly early--not really for us, with the two hour time difference it was 6:15 which is about the time we get up anyways. Ate some breakfast, showered and got ready to head downstairs to catch the courtesy shuttle from our hotel to a nearby mall so we could catch a bus to Fiesta park. Up to that point everything had gone right on schedule--then it all went terribly wrong. As we approached the mall, the shuttle driver remarked on how much longer the line was from previous years. Long was putting it mildly, it wandered and snaked all over the mall parking lot! We got in line and kept our fingers crossed--an hour and a half later we were finally boarding a bus. It really wasn't as bad as it sounds, we had a wonderful conversation with a gentleman who was with us in line who was there from Australia. He had come to ABQ on business, and decided that while he was there he had to see the balloons, it seemed silly to be here the week of one of the most spectacular events in the whole world and not go and see it. The line moved continuously too, so it wasn't like you were just standing there. Just minutes after we were on the bus, the official word came through--all the events for the morning session had to be cancelled due to wind >:( UGH! After much debate, the bus driver got word that they were requesting all buses enroute be turned around and the passengers taken back to their original pick up spot--of course at this point we were almost to Fiesta park, so by the time we got back to the mall, we had been on the bus for about 40 minutes. I couldn't help but think "gee, I wish I was in bed about now!" Oh well. We went back to our hotel, had some of the freebie hotel breakfast and then went to our room to sleep for a while.
We debated on what to do with the rest of our day and decided to just hang out in ABQ, and finally decided on Old Town Albuquerque. Neat area, a bit of a tourist trap and because the events at the balloon fiesta had been cancelled, busy as heck, but we had a nice afternoon just walking around and checking things out. I will say that you aren't going to see a lot of pictures from this trip of adobe style buildings, I'm just not in to it at all. I'm not a big fan of Southwest style, I can appreciate it, but it just isn't me. I guess those are my WASP roots seriously showing!
I did take these pictures of the neat statues in front of the museum area in Old Town--there are several large museums in this area, we didn't go in them because of the sheer volume of people. If you want to learn the history of the area though, they are supposed to be fantastic. Maybe next time.
I have to admit that I am as guilty as the next guy of giving in to the whole tourist trap thing and bought this necklace:
I was very careful though, we checked out several different stores and looked at lots of different pieces before I finally decided this was the one I wanted. This came from a really neat shop, they not only sold jewelry but did repairs on site, and it was run by two Native American women. When I asked if either of them had made this necklace, they said that while neither of them had, it was made on site, on slow days whoever happens to be working in the store makes these necklaces. I love the "liquid silver" look and it was completely different from anything I had seen in any of the other shops. I didn't think $25 was out of line either for sterling silver and turquoise. I also loved the fact that the shop wasn't flashy at all, very simple, the jewelry was the whole deal--they didn't even have fancy bags, after I paid for my necklace, it was handed back to me in a sandwich bag. :)
As we were walking around Old Town, Lee noticed this speed limit sign--we both thought it was hilarious!!
After all that sightseeing, we decided it was time for dinner, so we headed over towards the area that the New Mexican place we had been to the night before was at, there were lots of restaurants in that area. And what did we end up picking??? SIZZLER!!! Neither of us had ever been to one and both were in the mood for a good steak. I have to admit that visions of Larry the Cable Guy ran through my mind (along with his sister and her belly button ring LOL!) but it really was a very good dinner. Almost makes me wish we had Sizzler in this neck of the woods!
We headed back to our hotel room to decide if we were going to give it another try in the morning--the weather forecast wasn't very promising. They did manage to get the festivities in that evening, but a front was moving in with some serious wind (30 - 50 MPH!) so it was debatable as to whether the morning events would go off as planned........so we decided that while we probably wouldn't be going, we would play it by ear. Stay tuned!