After spending the last few days hunkered down reviewing information and discussing ideas, the team was in desperate need of some outdoor time. We needed to stretch our legs and clear our minds in preparation for the days ahead. While the idea of a Cricket match was floated and eagerly accepted by a few, the consensus was that a walk along the river would do wonders for both our mental and physical condition. We exited our hotel and walked to the corner where we were met with the unexpected sight of two donkeys standing in the street seemingly oblivious to the cars and motorbikes zooming by them. Taking our lives into our own hands, we crossed the main street in front of the hotel and ventured forward looking for the river walk we had seen from a distance. We passed through a working class neighborhood filled with people who were probably wondering what we were doing there. However, it was the children who were curious enough to actually come up to us to ask our names. When we engaged them in conversation, their smiles seemed to bridge the gap between our world and theirs.
Traveling on we reached the water only to find ourselves in the middle of a construction zone built upon the reclaimed land of the river. Walking towards the finished sections of the river walk we walked by homes that reflected both newer and no-so-new homes. However, the constant was the friendly children who greeted along our walk. We reached what appears to be an unfinished gate to the river walk and a new water filtration plant also unfinished but filled with new water pumping equipment. Our walk continued down a new, but also unfinished, concrete road that eventually rose to meet an area filled with people enjoying the evening company of friends and family. We crossed a small, dirt field that we envision will be filled with soil and we hope will be left as open space. We could already see how the future plans for the water front were starting to meet the reality of what was in place. Taking steps down from this open area, we finally found ourselves on the river front we had seen so often in pictures. With its breath-taking views of the river, we found all people doing much the same thing as us, enjoying the evening with friends while marveling at the new walk along the river. Families with children playing mixed in with couples walking and talking. Peering over the edge of the railing, we noticed that there is still work to be done in getting the river completely clean. But nothing could take away from the beauty of the river walk and the lights dancing off the water. Small boats passed by as everyone seemed to be content to enjoy this modern marvel in their own way. After a few hundred meters we arrived at the boat launch and elected to climb the steps back to the roadway. Leaving the calm of the river walk, we were once again back to the city life and crazy traffic. While our walk back to the hotel along one of the main roads was not without interest, it so paled in comparison to what we had just seen. Who knew that something as old as a river could be made to look so new.