Friday, January 27, 2012

The morning run

I'm imagining some kind of photo essay of my morning run today, with the Polica soundtrack played louder than most would appreciate.  It's hard to take these photos, much less to do so at sunrise when I'm running, so I'll try to describe a few scenes here in words.  Of course I still feel a bit naked in shorts and t-shirts here, most people run in sweat suits, especially in the morning when it's considered cold.  I cut through the narrow, dirt paths of the Mermoz neighborhood filled with people heading to work, and then cross a road into the strip of oceanside embassy housing with their high walls, SUV's blocking the sidewalks, and guardiens sitting next to the doors.  The road through here is a favorite of beggars, especially the handicapped for some reason.  I run past, greet two who man the roundabout, one w/ a pair of crutches the other in a wheelchair.  They smile and greet me as they do everytime I pass.  The two or three mothers with small children sleeping on blankets are more subdued.

On the corniche, the wind picks up a bit as does the diesel smell.  Along the coast empty trash strewn lots alternate with massive half built condominiums. Their glossy promotional posters use words like 'lifestyle' which seems like an obscenity.  A few kilometers up the peninsula, a fishing village surrounds a large mosque down on the water below the road.  I start up one of the mammels (breasts- the name for the two hills) and the gigantic sculpture of father, mother and child looms on my right.  A lighthouse sits atop a cliff to my left.  After I move through a small commercial are called Ngor, I turn onto a smaller road.  Today a dozen policemen sat in and around an open pick up truck with billy clubs and body armour.  Two stood on the corner making their presence known.  A gigantic protest is planned for this afternoon, and the president has said he will use force to stop it.  This was part of his warning, apparently.  I feel a bit more naked than before running past these large, impassive men and head down the hill toward the beach.  

I found a small patch of sand today, and dropped down the rock face to sit in the morning sun and listen to the surf awhile.  Unlike last night when I was feeling the isolation of being here, this morning I couldn't believe my luck.  On the water were a couple of dozen long, low wooden fishing boats that they make here.  About 200 yards out from me, four men stood in long djellabas. One used a paddle to orient the boat while another pulled up the net and a the third picked out fish and put them in a bucket.  Apart from the small outboard engine, it might have well been Peter on the Sea of Galilee.  

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