vader in new mexico...last year.
as previously written about a year ago, gus tooketh down the dark lord, and it was good. but where is darth vader today? HE'S IN FUCKING CHINA. as the 37th annual albuquerque balloon fiesta is about to begin, the dark lord is stuck(eth) in a chinese customs office. seriously. they were flying in inner mongolia and for some reason the chinese government will not give the balloons back to the pilots, the sponsors, the owners...anyone. they are in the black hole, the pit of despair, the road to nowhere that seems to be chinese customs.
balloon fiesta is by far the biggest economic boost the state gets every year so far as tourism revenue is concerned, and one of the highlights (i.e. darth vader) is languishing in the far east. and he's not alone--there are a dozen other special shapes balloons there with him including a giant shopping bag, a ginormous smiling sun, gigantor golf and soccer balls and a gigantic pink elephant.
yesterday the news was awash with positive stories about how bill richardson (governor of NM) and congressmen from new mexico negotiated with the chinese embassy to get the balloons released; today the news is that they are not actually in transit but are expected to be released sometime next week...just in time to miss balloon fiesta.
i'm guessing those pilots won't be returning to fly in china anytime soon.
***update*** yes, indeed, the balloons are still not in the air in any way, shape or form: they remain in china allegedly because of a communist holiday. click here for the latest report, and notice how KOB, an ALBUQUERQUE-based television station, clearly doesn't have "albuquerque" added to their spellcheck dictionary...
***update, again*** still no balloons, as of today, october 4th. at least the AP is now reporting on it. i think it is hilarious that bill richardson, diplomat extraordinaire, is negotiating the release of "the guyang 13." what total assholes they are for keeping these balloons--it's a fucking hot-air balloon, idiots. it isn't propaganda designed to convince people to overthrow your government. give them back already!