Sunday, April 13, 2008

Marathon Birthday

Of course it's a great day for the London Marathon: grey, rainy, some hail, some sun, 8C (46F) with a possible high of 12C (53F). Good temps for running.

Those poor Maasai warriors have probably never felt anything like it though. They have never been outside their village in Tanzania before, but this year they opened the marathon and are running to raise money so that their village can obtain fresh drinking water. They will be in traditional clothing, carrying their shields and spears, wearing sandals made of rubber tires, and chanting - just as they do at home - and hope to complete the marathon in 4 hours.

They can run for days at a time hunting food and water and herding cattle, so this little marathon will be a walk in the park.

Near London Bridge

On the Tube

Because London is a completely alien experience, they were given a four-page cultural briefing that included info such as:
"Even though some may look like they have a frown on their face, they are very friendly people - many of them just work in offices, jobs they don't enjoy, and so they do not smile as much as they should."

"You cannot rely on the sun to tell the time accurately and will have to rely on clocks and watches. The sun will rise and set at different times." [Me. If they see the sun at all.]

"Whereas at home for you it is acceptable to spit, in England it is not but, if you have to, you must do so in a sink or in some trees when no one is looking." [Me. Then they'll be the only people not spitting on the street.]

"You will see many people who are wearing only small clothes and you will wonder why they are cold and may think they are being disrespectful....This is normal for England, especially when it is sunny or in the evening. However, it is illegal to show certain parts of the body and for this reason it is important that you wear underpants if you are wearing your blankets."

To read more, visit the article in the Daily Mail.

This just in:
Unsurprisingly, the first six men across the line were Kenyan with one American coming fifth. A Brit came in 5 minutes later.

The rest will be straggling in until well after sunset. Some people in costumes, raising money for various charities, may take a few more days!


And now on to my birthday on Thursday.

I took the day off and my mother came along since she had the day off. This may be our last birthday together in a long time, and I wanted to spend the day in town appreciating London before I leave it.

1) Lunch with Lydia

Lydia is my oldest friend. We have known each other for over 27 years. We don't even remember meeting.

After lunch at Cumin Indian restaurant

2) Chores and banking

3) Wandering around Carnaby Street

One of three handbag flowerpots on a ledge outside a shop in funky Kingly Court, off Carnaby Street

The signed card that greeted me back at work thenext morning! It made my day.

As fine a sunset as you will get in London


I've just received a final comment on my previous post.

Mark said: Some nice pics there. I think you secretly like living in London (despite the tales of travel delays)!! You'll miss it if you move away!?

No, Mark, I won't miss it enough to regret leaving and I didn't miss it before I came back.
And I can take nice pics anywhere, you'll see!

What I will miss are little things like perhaps some favourite foods and products. (I will make a list soon.) Also I might experience those split second sensory flashbacks, just as I do now with memories of Texas which come unbidden as I sit at my desk in the office. That's life.


L B said...

Haha, love your Me's in Cultural Briefing! Exciting times indeed, in the London Marathon. I wish I had taken part when I had the chance.. My good friend was doing it every year..


Big Hugs! :-)

pete said...

Hey! :) I like your new hair, very nice! Glad you had a nice Birthday, and it was good to read about said warriors.

Palm Springs Savant said...

I think you are really going to miss London when you leave Olivia!

Olivia said...

LB - If I did chups or the hug hug club or whatever it is, then you'd be Gold.


Pete - yes, I was fascinated when I saw them last week on BBC Breakfast.

And thanks - you may remember when it was this short a couple of years ago.


Palm Springs - would you guys quit already! I won't miss it! Arggh!

Guyana-Gyal said...

That 'cultural briefing' was amusing.

What I'd love to know is what the Masai fellas say in private about London. I know on tv or whatever, they'll say all the diplomatic things but in the private, their observations will be something else!

Guyana-Gyal said...

No Olivia, nooo, you won't miss London, no, nope, nah, no way.


Everybody, let's place bets.

I say, when the newness of Merica wears off...

Anonymous said...

A nice little glimpse into your birthday! And you know, it's not like you're never coming back. Who knows where you'll end up!

Anonymous said...

Ah, Happy Birthday, Dear One! I miss you SO much. You are lovely as always. I love your hair, it emphasizes your beautiful eyes and elegant nose and bone structure.

We both need to catch up on past posts. Yours will become reading material for my evenings when I am not working on my thesis.

*hugs and hugs*

Alohalani aka RomaCittaEterna

Anonymous said...

Leave? For where? Why? Come back to Mo'time, pleaseeeee!


Mark said...

Great post again - good to see your new photo. You look very edgy and mysterious! Hope you don't single me out on your next post!!! Best wishes Mark (Cafe)

The Moody Minstrel said...

The Masai opening the marathon reminds me of those TV programs they have from time to time in Japan where a minor celebrity goes and stays with a primitive tribe somewhere (i.e. in Africa or South America) for a while, and then they bring members of the tribe back to experience life in Japan. I'd view such programs positively as a cultural learning experience if it weren't for the fact that the whole point is obviously just to make total arses of the "poor, ignorant savages" who know nothing about modern, technological society.

Cultural narcissism at its ugliest.

I hope the Masai didn't get treated like that.

Oh, and happy birthday, m'lady!

Olivia said...

Guyana Gyal - hehe, they'd probably say things like:

"Oy, Bob, those underpants didn't 'alf chafe under me blanket on Sunday!"

"Yeah, Fred."


Newness of 'Merica? Ha! I already passed through that stage when I was a teenager.


Nikki - is that really you? Me come back here? Poppycock!

Funny though, I always said I'd never come back to the UK, then I did, and now I don't need to do that again...!


So nice to see you back on my blog, it's like the old days :)

What timing, though. My hair grew a lot and I only cut it back last week.
THank you, though, for your lovely compliment.

Catch you again later.

P.S. I will put a catch-up post on Motime for old time's sake.


Mark - I say! "Mysterious" I've heard a bit, "cute" or "classy" a lot, but "edgy", never. Hehe, thanks :) I feel refreshed now.


Minstrel - ah yes, the BBC (I think) already did the "let's bring the chief and elders of a remote African tribe to London and see what they say."

As far as I remember, it was captivating. The men were very noble and said wise things and made astute observations as only tribal people can.

As far as the Maasai last week, the leader was taken ill during the marathon and went to hospital accompanied by another, but they both returned to finish the the run on Monday. Afterwards, one commented that because of the weather they felt so cold it hurt.

Ah, bless!

Beenzzz said...

Lovely post. Lovely birthday and lovely photos. You have a talent with the camera. Have you ever thought of starting a photo blog???

Jo said...

You'll have lived in Texas, in London and some points in between, and you'll have great memories from each place, I'll bet. But nothing is more precious than taking all of that with you while still being able to move on to the next thing with gratitude for your memories.

I hope that one day I can be that big of a person, Liv. You are truly a gem of a gal! Happy birthday!

Anonymous said...

It's been a while since I have visited you here!!! Love the marathon story.... spitting in the sink..... who are they kidding.....
Always love a good tap....
A little bit of Texas, a little bit of London, a little bit of somewhere else.....that's the only way to grow....
miss you