Albuquerque - Part 2, Heisenberg, Chiles and Great People
As mentioned in our previous post, the Balloon Fiesta was amazing. One of the things that made it especially fun was the company we kept while there. We set up our own "area of town" with Tim and Amanda (Watsons Wander), Lauri and Jase (WanderWasi) and John and Terri who were vacationing from Wisconsin. Each evening turned into an impromptu social event. Other folks we had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with were fellow full-timers Hector and Brenda (Island Girl Walkabout), and Frank and Sarah who were vacationing from Florida in their 16ft Bambi trailer. We also met an adventurous couple Darren and Samantha, with their baby Grace. They had traveled from Australia to collect a vintage Airstream from Oregon that they had bought in an on-line auction. They stopped at the Fiesta en route to Los Angeles where they planned to load their Airstream on a boat to be reunited with them in Melbourne hopefully in time for Christmas.
Tim and Amanda also introduced us to Eric Bricker who is in the process of making a documentary about Airstreams and their owners. He spent time interviewing lots of people at the rally, including us. We will reunite with him in his hometown of Austin in a few weeks, mostly for a social visit touring Austin's fun spots. However, I am still working on persuading Eric to film us at the US Grand Prix; Airstreams and Formula One cars seem like an intoxicating combination. Each evening during our four days at the Fiesta turned into an impromptu social gathering. It was a joy getting to know all these wonderful people. We had lots to chat and laugh about. We felt really great to be part of our new community with like-minded couples.
The Fiesta has early morning and evening sessions, leaving the days clear to enjoy other attractions in the area. One thing we were determined to explore were some of the Breaking Bad filming locations. Just over a year ago we seemed the only ones in our circle of friends who had never seen this show. Yes, we were those people who constantly heard "You HAVE to watch Breaking Bad." We eventually watched all 5 seasons in just a few months and definitely agree this has to be one of the greatest TV shows ever made. There are organized tours of the locations but you can also find the places online so we decided on a self-guided tour. There are some 100 filming locations listed that we culled to seven of the "greatest hits". Tim, Amanda and Lauri joined us. Jase, never having seen the show, decided to sit it out! I guess he didn't want to witness us geeking out over a car wash. It's so funny that the show finished quite a while ago and yet we bumped into several people driving around doing exactly the same as us! We had fun photographing the sites and ended up at "Los Pollos Hermanos" aka Twisters for lunch.
Another afternoon we visited Old Albuquerque. My mom and her partner Trevor were visiting from the UK so we took the chance to introduce them to traditional New Mexican cuisine and wandered around the area after lunch. It's pretty touristy and was very busy with all the balloon lovers like us in town but was a fun stroll in the sunshine. Chiles are ubiquitous in New Mexico. In restaurants they ask if you want "Red or Green". In other words, which kind of chile sauce would you prefer. If you want both the locals ask for "Christmas". As well as making tasty food, chiles are often used for decoration. Ristras are hanging dried chiles and can be seen adorning restaurants and stores all over NM. We thought about some for decoration in the trailer but decided they were just too impractical. We settled for Breaking Bad stickers as souvenirs instead.
We had a truly wonderful time in Albuquerque at the Balloon Fiesta, making new friends and visiting famous sites from our favorite show. I am not sure if we'll come back next year, but it's a distinct possibility if we can drum up a community like this one again. Such good times!!