Sunday, August 23, 2009

Venturing Out

We're still preoccupied with ourselves, our house, the office space, and other details of life (like health insurance, veterinaries, and car repairs). But this week, we felt settled enough to start exploring somewhat. First up: a baseball game.

Dickey-Stevens ballpark is about 6 miles from home, across the river in North Little Rock. Thursday night, we went there to watch the Arkansas Travelers play the Corpus Christi Hooks. The Travelers are a minor league farm team for the Los Angeles Angels. Tickets cost $8 each for reserved seats behind first base, popcorn was $1.50, and beer was $4. We also enjoyed a pretty decent meal at the Umpire's Pub inside the ballpark. And we enjoyed spending the evening with so many Arkansans. People were very friendly.

The "Cash for Clunkers" program was in full sway this week, and they were giving away clunker cars at the game that night. Each of us got a bingo card with our tickets, and seven lucky folks went home with a car. It sounded like the average mileage on the cars was over 200,000, but the presentation was fun (see the girls on the roof tossing balls out to the crowd) and people seemed to enjoy the drawings - which came between each inning - more than the game itself. The teams obliged by making very few hits and clearing each other off the field real quick. I mean, the first three innings were over within about 30 minutes. The Travelers eventually won 2 to 1.

Having satisfied our search for baseball fans, we went looking for meditators. Online, we found a local Buddhist center listed and this morning, we went to see what's doing there. The place is called the Ecumenical Buddhist Society of Little Rock and it hosts a variety of Buddhist practices, including both Zen and Tibetan. We were greeted warmly - what else would Southerners do? - and I'm sure we will be able to connect with like-minded people through this place. It is a nice find.

After a little meditation in the morning, we decided to do some exploring by foot in the "River Market" district downtown. Apparently, the area blazes with activity at night, then catches up on its sleep Sunday mornings...even the museums do not open until 1 pm on Sundays. We were able to get coffees (thank goodness!) but we weren't ready to go back home and so we decided to walk around by the river.

The Arkansas river bisects Little Rock and all of the creeks in town - including the ravines in our neighborhood - eventually wind up in the river. Its headwaters are in Leadville, Colorado and it travels east for 1500 miles until it joins the Mississippi at Napolean, Arkansas, on the eastern border of the state. According to Wikipeda, this river marked the US boarder with Mexico until the Mexican American war in 1846.

Little Rock's city government has developed walking and biking trails along both sides of the river, and you can also walk across a couple of the bridges. In fact, there is a 17-mile loop you can take from where we were this morning, across one bridge, down the far side, across another bridge, and up the near side - but we left that trip for another day.

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