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the [perfectly calm] adventures of david-andrew

nye in abq

A couple years ago, The Pilot and I made a pact that we would always try to be together for New Years Eve. The beginning of every year, we agreed, was a good time to be with the one you love. That is to say, if you have only one time to choose. It was also the only holiday we could match the others enthusiasm with the same amount of earnestness. I found out quickly that I would be the one paying for this foolishly romantic and hasty contract. This is how loyal I am to the contract and how much I love my pilot. I flew on a Mesa Airlines “operated” flight to Albuquerque, NM to bring in the new year.
ABQ from the upstairs waiting area

For the first time in years, I was given a front row seat. The last time I was flying to Albuquerque was in 1st class as well. The state of New Mexico, however, does not allow strong drink to be served on flights arriving to their state. That has been my only stand-by placement into 1st class. On my recent flight to Albuquerque, I was in the very front row, but not in 1st class. I had a clear view of the restroom with no row mate to thwart my progress should I have to pee. I settled down for the arduous (45 min.) flight and prayed no one would be in that other seat next to me. They announced boarding to be complete and I said a quick thanks to the airline gods for my row-for-one. I have been reading Naked by David Sedaris (yes, I’m a very slow reader, if you have seen my reading updates for months with this book). I was quickly engrossed into my book. I was reading the chapter where he is picked up by the truck driver and given a ride. We began to speed up for take-off. Just as his ride benefactor surprises him by pulling out a gun, there is a very loud BANG! from my right. Startled, I jumped in my seat a bit. I immediately realized the source of the shot-like noise. The bathroom door had come open under the stress of take-off and slammed into it’s pocket. I was relieved there was no gun, but suddenly concerned this plane was falling apart. The war-tattered seats did nothing to reassure me.

Mid-flight I realized I hadn’t eaten much this day. I was going to have to have a snack of some sort before the midnight events. After landing in Albuquerque International Airport (ABQ), I checked on The Pilot’s flight status on my Flight Aware application to see that his flight was delayed an hour and a half. How could he do this to me on NYE? Seems he could fly a bit faster for me. For revenge, I send him a text telling him that I have somehow accidentally flown to Tucson.

The 22 other passengers and 4 Mesa crew members exited the airport and I suddenly realized I was alone. I couldn’t even see any ABQ staff anywhere. I began my hunt for some sort of food. I did not find it. Every restaurant was closed. I did find a vending machine that had some very delicious looking Cheetos. I took the one dollar bill from my pocket and pushed it into the bill receptor. It was not received. It didn’t even try. So in actuality it was a bill i-don’t-feel-like-working rejector. Thwarted, I decided to explore the terminal. I found the upstairs lounge area which was pretty comfortable considering I was the only one occupying it. From there, I could see the runways and the mountains beyond it. I got to see the brilliant landing job by my pilot.

When he landed, The Pilot called and accused me of lying that I was in Tucson. He asked me to put my friends on the phone for proof. How dare he know me that well. We hopped the ABQ shuttle to the car rental lot after telling the hotel van driver that we wouldn’t be needing him tonight. We were greeted with a closed sign at Thrifty and my heart fell out. While I scanned for any kind of food, Pilot called Thrifty for an explanation of how they were going to honor our reservation. He was told we could just wait there until 5a. I began the hunger-panic process.

The car rental place had a vending machine and I still had the dollar that was rejected by the last one. One of the four security guards standing in a group nearby told me the ice cream machine was not working. Anyway, I couldn’t imagine eating ice cream in the 20° weather. “It’s been like that all day,” he said incredulously, “Everything has melted by now I’m sure.” By this point I’m already putting my dollar in the machine with the Nutter Butters. Nothing happens. Curses!” I try again with skepticism. There’s not even the whir of attempt. This the 2nd time in years I’ve tried to get something from a machine, and this is the second time I was rejected. That’s when I see the bill changer next to it. I put the dollar in the receptor and it is actually received. Out falls a single coin with a hollow clink. “It only gave me one quarter for my dollar,” I exclaim toward The Pilot. “Oh. Nevermind. It’s a dollar coin.” I had no idea they were still making and using these. This one had some guy named Fillmore on it. The Nutter Butters thunked down the glass of the machine.

Our van driver was kind enough to pick us up at the rental depot and take us through a drive-thru. It was incredibly special for him to do that on New Years Eve just as he was about to go home. So if you are in Albuquerque looking for a hotel, the Raddison has a really amazing van driver. Also, La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant in ABQ is amazing airport food. I was skeptical when we were on our way out and almost didn’t eat there. It looks very ordinary, but I promise you it is yummy.

With no rental car we couldn’t go to the Vivian Vance Museum as we planned. It is rumored to be in Albuquerque (where she started acting), but I cannot seem to find evidence of it online. If you happen to have been there or know of it’s existance, please leave me a comment or send me a message. We were told it was closed on Jan 1st anyway. I want to return to Albuquerque also to see the hot-air balloon festival they have yearly.

my flight on the runway leaving ABQ

I’m super excited for another year of travel adventure. Hope everyone has the best year ever!

Happy Trails!


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Posted in food and travel by lucysbeau on January 6th, 2011 at 11:29 PM.


2 Replies

  1. Lovely tradition! In our world it is rather rare and difficult to keep tradition alive…Bravo!!

  2. It was great to be together on NYE – even if it was at the
    Jack-in-the-Box drive through :) Next year, maybe Taco Time in