For the last, um, five years give or take a year I’ve come down to Monterey to run the Big Sur Half Marathon. After picking up my bib # I decided to wander around a bit. I headed over to browse an antique mall near Cannery Row in which I was intrigued and perplexed by this:
The tag said it was plaster and hand painted; that didn’t make it less odd. What was it for? I pondered. Who’d make this and why? And do they think someone will buy it again? Man, that’s just too weird.
Then I saw this:
Ok, this one I can kind of understand, I’ve seen masks like this before, it may actually be purchaseable (BTW I’m aware that isn’t a word). I averted my gaze from the monster mask only to be startled by this:
What kind of antique mall is this?!
The kind that displays things like this:
Sometimes they come in threes:
And sometimes they come with a body:
And other times with clothes:
I dunno, maybe my browsing radar was just stuck on odd, no, no wait, here’s the cold hard truth; people like weird and creepy shit.
One of the many things I enjoyed about Spain was the plethora of public spaces. After we checked in to our hotel I went for a short walk before dinner to get the lay of the land. The street our hotel was on intersected with several others near one entrance to a large public park by the Bridge of Toledo that ran along a river. According to our tour guide the park was only recently, within a year or so, completed. (I feel like that last sentence is grammatically bad. Meh, I move on.) Our guide said the mayor of Madrid had decided to move a couple of the major roads underground and reclaim the river for the people of Madrid. I’d say he had a good idea:
View from the Bridge of Toledo looking Southeast.
View from the Bridge of Toledo looking Northwest.
After my walk I had dinner, near Labors of Love, and had decided to run along this park the following morning. Mind you we had just arrived in Madrid after a 15 hour or so journey from SFO. I awoke early the next morning to get in my 3 miles, donned my running gear and headed out. Everything started well, it was a lovely morning, the park was beautiful. I passed playgrounds, cafes, playing fields for futbol or whatever and things like this:
Then, less than a mile in I was puffing and wheezing. “WTF?” I thought. “Damn, I must really be jet lagged.” I pressed on pausing several times, something I never do at that distance. Then it dawned on me to check the elevation. Duh. Turns out Madrid is like 2,000 ft above sea level and I’m used to running at 97 ft; I didn’t feel so bad about resting.
Before leaving I took a photo of the entrance to the park that I used near the Piramides tube station and saw that maybe I should have been more wary about running there
Because there were: