Special Shapes

by wjw on October 11, 2018

IMGP7690Morgan Stanley keeps thinking that if I just give them enough stock tips, they’ll become as rich as me.  So they bribed me with tickets to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta on Special Shapes day, and maybe in return I’ll give them a little advice concerning penny stocks.

Attending involved getting up at 3:30am— I’d only got to sleep at 1:30— and then driving for the better part of an hour to the balloon field north of town.  When we arrived, dawn wasn’t even a mere hint on the horizon.  Fortunately Morgan Stanley provided breakfast burritos, green chile stew, coffee, donuts, and fruit.

Dawn Patrol, which should be called Pre-Dawn Patrol, lifted off when it was still night, to sample the winds and radio advice to the shot-callers on the ground.  Next were balloons full of tourists, and then the Special Shapes began to inflate.

IMGP7703The inflating balloons began to jostle.

IMGP7706The Stork was enormous and quite impressive.  I believe it’s sponsored by an obstetrician.

IMGP7719The Cool T0urist Penguin meets Carmen Miranda.

IMGP7727 2And the Grenadier encounters the Goldfish.

There were something like 700 balloons I believe, most of them of standard shape and size, but there was plenty of whimsy on display.

Plus there was quite a lot of duplication.  There were at least three flying pigs, three penguins, and a couple Humpty Dumpties.  A Darth Vader Head rose next to a Yoda head, but this was some distance from me, and I failed to get a good picture.

There was also a Big Van Gogh Head, though I thought maybe Magritte would have been more appropriate.

Because so many balloons went up before the sun had quite risen, and when the sun rose it rose into clouds, these photos have been lightened quite a bit, because otherwise they’d be dark blobs against a dark sky.  The result is a little Kodachrome-y, but I hope it gives you an idea of the mad, joyous tangle when cartoon figures rule the sky.

Thanks to Brian Bower of Morgan Stanley for his hospitality, and for the breakfast burritos.

pecooper October 12, 2018 at 11:30 am

Sounds like you got a good balloon festival, despite the cloudy skies, Walter. The Speidifest in Binghamton, New York, got hit with high winds and storms, this year. They couldn’t launch any of the times I was able to get there.

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