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Seeking Out Running Opportunities

Sunday morning we decided to stop at a cafe for breakfast before doing a little grocery shopping. Since I can't eat gluten and I don't like eggs, breakfast is one of the hardest meals of the day for me to eat out in Africa but most of the time I can get some fruit and yogurt, and if I'm lucky, a little bacon. This restaurant was out of fruit plate, however (despite a bustling fruit market just down the block), and bacon. As I drank my surprisingly good coffee and munched on half a stale Lara bar I'd had in my purse while watching Muffin eat waffles and Mike eat pancakes, I felt discouraged. 

Then the channel on the television changed from a nature show about whale pregnancies to a marathon and waitstaff who hadn't been interested in serving us materialized to watch. I got up to watch, too. I didn't know until later that it was the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I couldn't hear most of the French commentary and there were no graphics on the screen informing me of anything other than distance and time. It didn't really matter, though. I watched and I felt happy. 

We visited the Parc National du Mali on Saturday for a short hike. There's a fitness trail with some crazy 1970s-like workout equipment, but it looks fairly new. I hopped onto a few machines and felt like I was in a Jack Lalane video, or the Ben Stiller Daniel Day Lewis treadmill sketch from Saturday Night Live. Muffin had a blast trying out all the equipment. I envision myself jumping into the car as soon as she gets on the school bus in the mornings to get to the parc early to run the trail up the mountain before the heat of the day sets in. I caught site of a track from our hike up the mountain, too. 

Mike thinks our neighborhood is fine for me to run in, I just need him to take me out a couple more times so I get the lay of the place. We have a treadmill coming in our household shipment. There's a gym at Mike's office. I can run laps around the field while the rest of the expat community plays ultimate frisbee on Sunday nights. There's a hash club here. There are ways to run. 

I didn't plan my gluten-free foods in advance of arrival in Bamako as well as I should have, so I'm hesitant to try too much running or working out quite yet. I'm making strides with grocery shopping and our housekeeper but everyday living and figuring things out in a new place is still taking up a lot of time and energy. One of the cookbooks I mailed to myself arrived last week, one that I'd already jotted down French translations for our housekeeper in Burundi, so I was able to ask our Malian housekeeper for the right ingredients without consulting the dictionary again. I hope some of my gluten-free mixes arrive this week so I can have crepes and make quick breads. I stocked up on local peanuts, popcorn, and honey to try making some kind of peanut-popcorn snack this week. The local yogurt is good and our housekeeper has a fresh, pasteurized milk source. Yesterday I found a good avocado at the fruit stand, which I overpaid for, but my housekeeper says it hasn't been good weather for them this year, so everyone is overpaying for the good ones. We are eating mangos like they're going out of style, because they might be soon. The rainy season has been unusual and we are eating produce while it's available.

Today is a "surprise" holiday -- you never know until the last minute which day will be the holiday for Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan. Mike has the day off so we are contemplating getting outside for a bit, exploring a new place. I have enough bottled water and peanut packs for a day hike.


Anonymous said…
Love reading your posts. :)
Beth said…
Sounds good so far! Hope you can find a place to run as well as get the gluten straightened out!
Justin Byrne said…
What a coincidence - I just found that exact same kind of fitness aparatus at a park today (on the central CA coast). I'd never seen one like that before, and now here you are sitting on one halfway around the world! BTW I really enjoy reading your resurrected expat blog!
Monique said…
Mali looks more beautiful and lush than I'd imagined. Sure hope you can find a suitable running place and routine. It sure helps dissolve the craziness of a new country. Looking forward to hearing more of your adventures!

Nicole said…
Everything sounds good so far! Loving the pictures and the posts.

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