I hadn't known that my weekend in Albuquerque would coincide with the annual balloon festival.

Things were made a little less festive by the gray, cold, rainy weather, which my host said was unusual for that time of year. Almost everywhere I went on this tour, my host told me it had been warm and sunny until the day I arrived. I consoled myself with the thought that, if my luck held, I might help to break California's drought (and sure enough...).

I may have just been rattled by the drive across Texas, or losing my muffler an hour from Amarillo, or arriving in Albuquerque late and in the dark. Fatigue took a toll, and magnified Albuquerque's rough edges. The city did not seem very cheerful, friendly, or welcoming. However, my host was all those things and helped me to make the most of my visit. I quickly grew fonder of the place, hiking in the hills, exploring the Rio Grande corridor, and of course watching the balloons. But most interesting was hearing about my host's work in the museum exhibitions field.