Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This run was for the birds

I'm a firm believer that you should always try to keep moving when you go for a run -- no breaks! -- but I made an exception this morning. I was cruising along an Al Bateen side street when I came upon a man in a dishdash standing in a small grassy area, tending to four beautiful falcons.

I stopped and asked if I could look at them. He spoke no English and I speak no Arabic, so it wasn't a long conversation. The man, whose name was Mohammed, was obviously proud of his birds, however, and he seemed pleased that I was so impressed by them.

I didn't have a camera, of course, but the birds looked a lot like the one in this photo. Three of them sat tethered to their perches and preened in the sunshine, while he held the fourth on his arm. It tried to fly away when I first approached, but he said some soothing words and soon it calmed down and returned. The bird seemed to keep a wary eye on me after that.

We "chatted" for a few minutes -- he wanted to know if I was from America, and I asked him the birds' names. He told me, pointing them out one by one like a proud parent, but I could not pronounce their names, much less spell them.

Soon, I said goodbye (ma'a salama, one of the few Arabic expressions I know) and resumed my run. Abu Dhabi, by the way, is a terrible place to run in the summer months -- 95 degrees at 10 pm, are you kidding? -- but right now it's gorgeous. It was 57 when I rolled out the door at 9 am, which is just about perfect in my book.

The streets around Al Bateen are ideal, too: wide sidewalks, including a stretch with a soft surface; very little traffic (but be careful of the cars that are out there; they speed like crazy); several tree-shaded pathways; and immaculate greenery and parks. There are no hills, of course, which is great right now but probably doesn't do much to prepare me for a race in the States.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, you need a few hills to prepare for the Music City Marathon. Looking forward to seeing you then.