This morning I bought an iced Americano, stuck it in the yuppie cupholder on my beyond beat up Jeep jogging stroller, and hauled the stoller onto a city bus to meet my sister Mary, who was due to arrive via Megabus. I was massively impressed that I managed to show up downtown on time. The Megabus was late, so I had a chance to take pictures of the grandiose skyline of downtown Pittsburgh with one hand while clutching my energetic toddler who had just managed to take a huge slug of the Americano with the other.
The reason Olympia was squirming so determindly (beyond the shot of espresso she had just stolen) was that the Megabus hub in Pittsburgh is located underneath the David L Lawrence Convention Center. Running down the middle of the roadway is a walkway to the river. It is gorgeous, and it is one huge, long fountain.
Imagine how alluring that was for a toddler who loves fountains. It is equally appealing to me. Mary staggered off the bus at this point, shivering from the excessive air conditioning. I was curious about her Megabus experience. I love the idea of being able to travel inexpensively without spending hours in the airport. Mary does not recommend it for toddlers, thinks it was too cold, and wasn’t able to connect to the internet- but it did get her from here in one piece, and for a tiny fraction of the cost of an airplane ticket. We walked down to the river to help warm her up. Olympia was thrilled to walk through the fountain with walls of running water on either side.
Mary shivered in the shadows and pondered the fact that the walkway led directly down to the river, and felt that perhaps some sort of safety barrier was in order. I love the way the bike trail and walkway converge and flow into the river… but I did keep a tight grip on the baby.
Then we headed downtown for lunch. We stopped for food at the Istanbul Grille, where my good friend Coskun Gokalp creates fresh, wholesome, and marvelous Turkish food in a tiny hole in the wall full of eager customers. The food is great but there is no space to eat in the Grille, and it was a beautiful day so we headed out for a rambling casual tour of the downtown in search of a place to eat our lunch. We found several possible spots- and a zumba class.
We eventually settled in a mirrored square that reminds me of a castle.
There is a dramatic fountain that shoots up and disappears at intervals, and a large population of fat pigeons.
The fountain and the pigeons meant that my ability to eat Turkish food or take photographs was severly constrained by the need to chase my still espresso fueled child as she chased pigeons. Witness:
This picture tells a thousand words about my dreamy narcissistic attempt to capture myself in the mirror interrupted by a flying leap after my pigeon chasing child. I caught her, though.
Mary, serene and untrammeled by the bonds of maternity, perused the square in peace.
It is good to have her here. We haven’t even fought yet! Well, if you don’t count the two fights we had on the phone when she was in the bus on the way here.