Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sunday afternoon at the Tattoo and Ink festival -- because Tiger Woods and I are soooooo over, Masters or not

The money I took out of the ATM in Albuquerque during my little weekend away didn't entirely get spent at the New Mexico "Immersed in Ink" Tattoo Festival. Can you believe it? Me neither. That dough was burning a hole in my pocket, fo' sho'.

I did drop a lot of dosh in restaurants in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, even though I've been diligently trying to lose weight for the last four months. Yet after eating out non-stop for five days and having some of the best Mexican I've enjoyed in ages, I weighed in even another pound lighter. Big surprise. Maybe all those refried beans and beers had some kind of catalytic effect? Kind of like red wine plus anything.

I'm so pleased, though, because I can finally fit into my trousers from two summers ago; last year I couldn't even pull them up one leg! Pretty embarrassing. This dieting has allowed me to enjoy a 200-fold increase in my wardrobe, as I drag out things that haven't seen the light of day for ages. Of course, there are also two hundred folds in all those squirreled-away trousers because they haven't been ironed for two years either.


Looks like Mr D has some housework to do when he gets home!

One of the things I miss about South Africa is Oscar. He was a master ironer. He ironed shirts, he ironed sheets, he ironed blouses with pleats and cargo pants with all their little ties and bunches. He even ironed my underwear, which was strange, because thongs generally don't get very wrinkly. I used to laugh about how unnecessary it is to iron sheets, but I stopped because Mr D always gets wistful and makes a little sad face, which makes me feel kind of guilty. And who wants a wife to feel bad and guilty? Of course he knows I have other good qualities, and would never dream of requiring me to do the ironing. I have blog posts to write! Midget wrestling expos to attend! Tennis matches to play!

And yes, indeed, my sister and I did attend the Tattoo Festival on Sunday. We saw the sign

IMG_9960, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

and we had to go. I forced my posse to pull over so I could steal this sign; I plan to plant it in my garden for my next outdoor barbeque. Who knows what hi-jinks will ensue when people see they're given permission to wrestle on my lawn??

And yes, of course you're invited! Did you even think you needed to ask?

Tragically, we missed the midget wrestling, which was just about the whole reason for going, but I did get this great shirt and a new pair of knickers.

IMG_0128, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

The knickers are a bit mystifying, as they're cut the same front and back, and I can't decide which way the motto is meant to sit. They fit equally badly either way, so perhaps I'll refashion them into some kind of goth hat.

At the show I also got even more propositions than I usually do. I figured that I might be tapped as a tattoo model...

IMG_0132, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

but, no. Apparently you need to have some tattoos to qualify. Feh! Details, details! No, all the handsome young tattoo artists were just interested in drumming up business. People were being tattooed at every booth, and the line of the day was, "Hey, ready to get inked?"

I think they sensed my vast expanses of virgin skin, and each one wanted to be the very first. Typical males, really.

I vacillated for a moment...

IMG_9970, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

IMG_9971, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

but then opted to wait. Sitting on a fresh tattoo on that long plane ride home?

No thanks.

Yet the Ink Expo raised more questions than it answered. For example:
  • what's the difference between hard-core midget wrestling and plain old vanilla midget wrestling?
  • are you even allowed to say midget anymore?
  • and where the heck were the midgets, anyway? Obviously we missed 'em, but then friends pointed out that maybe we weren't looking low enough, and that we should have also checked behind and under things. Duh. Lesson learned.
  • and what in the Sam Hill was this?

IMG_9962, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

(One minute to answer.... tick tock, tick tock .... *Jeopardy music playing in background*)

When I tell you, you'll slap your forehead. "It was so obvious! What was I thinking?!?"

For a moment, even I was confused. Was it to separate the midgets when they went too hard-core, by yanking one up into the air? Was it for training midget aerialists, or for suspending people so artists could tattoo those "hard-to-reach" areas?

Close, but then again, no.

No, people who get tattoos probably enjoy pain, or at least they don't mind it too much. So when you've gotten every square centimeter of your skin tattooed, what's left but to be suspended by hooks through your skin?

Obviously, a different aesthetic.

Yet I enjoyed the jewelry,

IMG_9965, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

and the scenery.

IMG_9966, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Pretty tasty. But very un-inked, now that I look more closely. Personally, I prefer naked musculature, as in this specimen. Too much doodling takes away from the overall picture, don't you agree?


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Mexico -- is it REALLY part of the USA?

You know, as an ex-expat, one can become pretty jaded.

Been there, done that. Seen it, saw it, did it, done it, and what else could possibly be new?

I'm here to tell you that traveling in the US of A can be just as exciting as pottering about in the tombs of Egypt's Valley of the Kings, or struggling along with my execrable (non-existent) Polish in forest towns rather too near the border of Belarus.

Because, yes! Albuquerque NM offers new and thrilling thrills for those who seek such things.

On a weekend jaunt away, intent on spending quality time with my lovely sister, I came across some amazing sights.

The first came about on Sunday morning.

Albuquerque, home of the magnificent balloon fiesta every October, also offers tourists the opportunity at any time to experience the thrill of floating up up up and away, into the ether, in a hot-air balloon.

IMG_9931, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Here's a balloon, floating away past us, off to the southwest.

Sunday, about 7am, I was sitting enjoying a cup of joe in M's living room, when I heard outside the deep and resonant whoooooooooaaaashhhhhhh of a nearby balloon. These silken beauties rise up into the clear cold sky from the desert floor, powered only by flaming heaters. The gondolier fires up the heater, and the bursts of propane explode in fiery blasts, heating the air and keeping the balloon aloft.

Yet if the temperature is not quite right, or the winds go wrong, it can all go awry.

My sister and I had discussed this on Saturday.

"Oh yeah," she said. "Sometimes there's an accident. They hit power lines, and the balloon catches fire and dissolves in flames, and the gondola breaks off and tips over. People fall off, and out."

"OMG, no!"

"Oh sure," she continued. "Sometimes people are taking pictures on their cell phones -- people plunging to their deaths, or whatever. Broken bones, you know. Broken necks. It happens. All over the internet the next day."

I sighed. God, the horror.

Whoooooooooaaaashhhhhhh. It was so close now! Impossibly loud, like a dragon sitting right above on the roof, belching out sulphurous, fiery breaths.

I went outside to see.

The balloon that had earlier flown past, high above,

IMG_9931, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

was now coming in for a landing.

IMG_9941, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

I looked up and saw the horrified faces of the gondola passengers as they floated barely 15 feet above the roof next door,

IMG_9943, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

as their gondola was dragged through the center of a young tree at the edge of the property,

IMG_9944, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

as they frantically pushed branches away

IMG_9946, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

and as the balloon descended too rapidly toward the street behind M's garden wall.

Lord, was I going to be the one taking the photos of the last living moments of these poor souls?

No, thank God. They landed without incident, and as they were Texans they seemed to take it all in stride.

"Yawwww, that wuz excitin'! Betcha y'all see this kinda thang all th' time."

"Actually, no," said M, in her quietest librarian-type voice. And we went inside for another cup of coffee.

IMG_9947, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.