The heat was unbearable. With a malfunctioning air-condition in our Hyundai, we just wanted to kill ourselves… Having the windows open didn’t help at all. Our thermometer was showing 110 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 44 (!) degrees Celsius.
We weren’t astonished when we found out that most of the people at Hector’s Diner were speaking Spanish. Luckily we had Fritiof – our personal interpreter.
“Quiero cuatro burritos y dos cervezas grandes, por favor”, said Fritiof.
Our jaws dropped. We knew that Fritiof had studied Spanish in the upper secondary school, but we didn’t know that he could speak the language that well. We were quite surprised by his lisping Spanish accent!
With satisfied stomachs we continued our journey. It was only two and a half hours left to Albuquerque, and we had been driving for at least six hours… This time, Jamila was driving. While Fritiof and Alex were sleeping, Golnaz shrieked:
“Stop the car!!!”
Jamila pulled the hand brake immediately.
“What’s the matter with you?! You scared the hell out of me!!”
“Look at the beautiful countryside!” said Golnaz.
Even though the rest of us were frustrated, especially the guys who was sleeping, Golnaz was right. Not even words could describe the marvelous view… We were standing on a plateau and we only saw cacti among other dry plants in the half-desert. The feeling we had wasn’t American at all. It felt like we were somewhere in the central America, perhaps in Mexico.
After having enjoyed the view for at least ten minutes, we moved on. Finally, we entered the city of Albuquerque. Unlike our stays in the other states, we didn’t have any plans in New Mexico. Fortunately, Alex came with an odd idea. He said that if we were driving around in the city, we’d probably find something interesting. And believe it or not – our Serbian friend was right! Behind the skyline of Albuquerque we saw a bunch of small dots in the air with different colours. When we approached the coloured dots the shape of them were clearer. It was balloons. Lots of balloons. Hundreds of balloons!
We parked our car a few hundred yards from the entrance of the balloon field. A large sign, with capital letters, said: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. It was magnificent! Alex and Fritiof bought chile relleno with avocado, a typical Aztec meal. Just like the US has its indigenous people, the Native Americans, Mexica had its own indigenous people, too. The Mexican cousin is a mixture of Aztec, Maya and European (especially Spanish) food. Nearly forty percent of the inhabitants in Albuquerque are Latin Americans. It’s not surprising that you see Mexican food literally everywhere in the city!
Jamila took the picture of the building above. It’s quite shocking that there’s a huge desert only a half mile behind the building! A lot of bigger cities which are located in the middle of a desert have a clear line between the city and the desert. Golnaz finds it very cool.