Budapest, Hungary: Today is Lisa's birthday! Happiest of days to Our Lovely Girl. (Lisa, Leo and Lucile celebrate birthdays in August.)
Our day started as usual with Dave working out while I blogged/edited photos, coffee, and for our tourism excursion today we visited Central Market Hall, opened in 1887. The lower floors vend foods and meats, while upstairs are small shops selling tourist trinkets and leather goods, plus a few restaurants. The building is gorgeous.
Remember that hot pepper I tried on our first night in Hungary? That's the culprit right there, the pale yellow pepper on the left - a Hungarian wax pepper. Wicked hot. The word paprika usually refers to the ground spice mix made with dried peppers, but the word can also be used for any capsicum.
Okay, all the best food groups covered. My work is done here, people... oops, then I found Lucile's favorite food group - chicken fingers:
We had ourselves a little adventure of the basement of the food market. Fish and pickled things are sold on the lower floor, but it was not very busy as most of the fish stalls had already closed for the day. A few pickle shops were open and the vinegary smell was so enticing to me. Sauerkrauts, pickled cucumbers of all sorts, pickled onions, garlic, and then so many varieties of pickled peppers. Many sold a small (about 1 cup) container with a selection of the shop's best. A family of tourists (we are not sure where they were from) were tempting their tongues with samples from their cup. Their teen son was nearly screaming from the heat coming from his mouth, and his family were laughing - until they each tried something. We were laughing as well, and they offered me a taste. Remembering the heat of the pepper I tried Friday, politely refused. Then the father ate the pepper he had just offered me and promptly cried out in pain. I accused him of trying to kill me. The mom laughed - she understood my English.
There is a food hall or market in nearly every town. We always try to visit. This one is very much like any other with their wares (except every vendor here sells ground paprika). The city markets all sell bread and pastries, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, cheese - just the varieties vary. Often it is the structure itself that stars, and this is true in the beautiful Budapest Central Market. A great morning.
Just as the market hall building shines, our hotel shines and we invited Elizabeth and Vin to lunch at our hotel so they could see it for themselves. We dined with our old friends on a balcony over-looking the New York Café. They were blown-away by all the marble and gold gilding.
Everything is so fancy at this hotel. I ordered a glass of champagne and it was served in an icy crystal coupe with strawberries! Dave and Vin enjoyed a glass of local rosé. Dave (a lover of rosé) has tried several and has enjoyed each glass. Great to catch-up with Elizabeth and Vin, as the are on the east coast full-time now.
And then, it was time to go back to the track for the 7p evening session (again, no morning session today). On the way to our seats we ran into Italian triple-jumper Emmanuel Ihemeje! He was so nice and
pretended he was excited to meet fellow Ducks in Budapest. As I wrote earlier, Ihemeje finished 8th in the triple. Now residing in Los Angeles, he is flying home tomorrow. GO DUCKS!
I finally captured a semi-decent shot (on the stadium big screen) of the famed "Q" room under the stadium, where athletes are required to wait until all the heats in their event have been completed to see if they made the bubble. The photo was taken during the women's 100m hurdle heats. Five heats, first 4 in each heat automatically advance, then the next 4 fastest times = 24 women in the semis tomorrow. All the Americans advanced No rest for these girls.
With seven heats, the men's 800m was going to be a musical chair situation in the dreaded Q Room. In the third heat, American Issah Harris and Algerian Djamel Sedjah (Silver medal at last world championships) jostled on the turn. Harris did not advance. Not even to the sofa in the Q Room. More jostling in the 4th heat, but American Bryce Hoppel finished 2nd. Hoppel was the only American to make it out of the heats. Clayton Murphy (not a Duck, but married to a Duck) had a terrible race, finishing 6th. So unlike him.
Other things of interest (to me) today. Americans Shamier Little and Anna Cockrell made the 400m hurdle final, but who would have thought Dalilah Muhammad would be sent to the Q Couch... and never get off? No couch-surfing for American 400m runners. Vernon Norwood and Quincy Hall advanced, as did South African Wade Van Neikerk, after a few years suffering with injuries.
Ukrainian athletes are very popular at this meet and always receive a loud greeting whenever introduced. Every time I open my BOLT app (Hungary's Uber), a heart-shaped Ukrainian flag pops up on my screen for a second or two. PS: Russian athletes were not invited to the World Championships. 'Nuff said.
Four finals tonight: Men's high jump, women's discus, women's 1500m, and men's steeplechase. Before every final there is a bit of fan-fare, lights flashing and a band playing. Tonight they had a rock & roll-type group. YOOHUU is also involved.
The Italian high jumper famed for not only jumping, but jumping with a half-shaved beard (I mean left or right half of his face is shaved, and the other half sports a beard!) won the competition this evening in another thrilling contest. Gianmarco Tamberi won in a world-leading height of 2.36m (7.74 feet), American JuVaughn Harrison was 2nd with the same height (but with more misses), and our usual winner, Mutaz Essa Barshim won the bronze in 2.33.
The women's discus final was also filled with excitement. As in Eugene for the USA Championships, Laulauga Tausaga, shows so much excitement after her powerful tosses. Really a joy to watch this woman. Long-time American phenom, Valerie Allman, came up a little short this evening as Tausaga put up a monster throw (69.49m/228 feet, and her personal best) sealing the deal that she would be on the top riser during the medal ceremony. Still, USA 1-2 in the discus, with China's Bin Feng earning the bronze with a personal best toss of 68.20.
Kenyan Faith Kipyegon won the women's 1500m gold, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands was third. The men's steeple chase final was the men's steeple chase final. Not my favorite race. Morocco, Ethiopia, Kenya - 1, 2, 3.
That's all I know. Back to our hotel, passing by this evening's entertainment on the outdoor stage - some sort of rock band playing with hundreds dancing in the grass. Fun times.
Until my next update, I remain, your "I did not proof-read this" correspondent
Pedometer: Only 8000. Surprised. Felt I was moving all dang day.