Saturday, April 7, 2012

Rainbow Trails and Turkish Delight

Yesterday was a big day: I ran 8 miles for the first time ever, and I traveled to Istanbul.  That's where I am now as I type this.  Istanbul.  In fact, I'm trying to propel myself past jetlag into the correct timezone, so this moment is as much about writing a bit as it is about trying to stay up just that much longer before relinquishing to the sleep that has been coaxing me toward it all day long.

So, the 8 miles... hooray!  My ankle is awesome and felt nary a twinge during or after my run yesterday.  God job, ankle.  Also, 8 miles is not a short distance.  What's more, it takes a while to run that far; I now know about myself that I can run for 1 hour and 20 minutes without stopping.  Just a few years ago I couldn't run more than 20 minutes without walking, so this is significantly longer and something I am proud of.

The weather in Brooklyn yesterday was sunny and crisp and just a little breezy.  In other words, a perfect day to run.  The first half of my run took me around Greenwood Cemetery.  On the back half of this loop there is a series of small uphill segments.  The first one wore me down somewhat, but I was ready for the second.  It was on this second uphill portion that an odd thing of beauty eclipsed everything else.

The sidewalk where I was running was made from old pebbled concrete, and it was in a state of disrepair with large pieces gouged out or worn away.  This left the sidewalk to collect and store any debris that came its way.  Lodged in every nook and cranny were multicolor fragments of broken glass.  They glistened and sparkled in the sun--blue, brown, orange, green, red--like an underfoot urban disco ball.  At that particular moment I was listening to this song, and felt transported into some other rainbow glitter dimension, where running up a hill seemed effortless and like a gift I could not have anticipated.  These are the sorts of crazy beautiful that keep me running, and delighted to see what might be around the next bend.

Today on the streets of Istanbul I have heard the Muslim call to prayer three times.  This, too, has a haunting and beautiful, other-worldly quality to it that I quite enjoy.
In our attempt to stay awake today, Greg and I agreed to try Turkish coffee--for the experience and for the caffeine.  It should be known here that neither of us drink coffee.  Ever.  It should also be known that Turkish coffee is thick and strong, not like coffee most other places.  We were expecting bitter sludge, but it actually turned out to be delicious.  Greg did accidentally drink too far down into his cup, which left him chomping on some coffee grounds that are meant to remain in the bottom of the cup.  I was drinking more slowly, and so was able to benefit from Greg's misfortune.  The coffee was accompanied by a piece of pistachio Turkish delight.  I love this gooey dessert and have already consumed so much of it in my few hours in the country.  Do not fear, I will continue to do so until I depart--I promise!

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