A few times a week, Travis and I go for a run through the fields and hills behind our apartment in Kathmandu. Our main route is to head down through the green fields where the local women are usually at work planting or harvesting their crops and then up the mountain road that leads to the Kopan Monastery, Kathmandu’s biggest (and most beautiful). The best time of day to do this run is between 4 and 5 p.m., when the sun is starting to go down just a little and the light brings out the bright colors that dot the rural landscape. It’s a rare part of Kathmandu that could actually be described as “picturesque”.
Today, I went for the run solo and reached the top of the hill around 4:30 p.m., making the usual U-turn at the monastery. Not too far into my descent down the mountain, I caught a glimpse of a little girl, maybe 8 or 9 years old, wearing a beautiful, flowing sari in the brightest color of yellow I had ever seen. The sari was a bit dressier than what is typically worn for “everyday” in Nepal, so I figured the girl must be coming from or going to a celebration for one of the religious festivals occurring this week. The way the light was hitting her sari against the green of the fields below was really striking, and I briefly thought how I wished I had my camera on me.
I continued jogging downhill and passed her. Since the volume of my iPod was up pretty high, I couldn’t hear much aside from the music blaring in my ears. But a few seconds after passing this girl, I started to feel heavy vibrations through the concrete of someone’s feet pounding the pavement behind me. I turned my head and saw a small shadow creeping up on mine. This little girl in the bright yellow sari – and dress shoes, I might add – was chasing me.
I turned to look back at her and she gave me a huge grin, her sari flowing in the wind over her head. She picked up the speed and took the lead, her pink dress shoes flopping a little off her heels with each step as she pulled ahead of me.
Scratch that. This little girl in the bright yellow sari – and dress shoes – was racing me.
I kept my pace and stayed behind her. She kept turning to look at me with her big smile. We continued like this until we reached the fork at the bottom of the hill and she stopped, clearly headed in a different direction. “You win!” I said, running by. She just laughed and waved at me as I continued on home.
Best run yet.