Monday, July 18, 2011

A Jog in the Park

I went for my first outdoor run here in Bogota this morning. I enjoy using running as a way to explore a new place and to experience an old place through new eyes. I had many first time running experiences that will make running in Bogota unique to any other place I have run.
1. Leaving and re-entering our temporary housing apartment through a guarded gate. I have started getting used to this concept of security in where I live. I actually appreciate knowing I don't have to worry about who is wandering around outside my door.
2. Dog-walkers. Because this area is 100% apartments and people here seem to love dogs I encountered many dog-walkers along my way. The typical dog walker has 5 dogs varying in size. The prize this morning goes to the man with 9 large dogs. He was holding all the leashes in one hand! Boy do I wish I had my camera with me! Something that I have to say is that I have not encountered one dog that has intimidated me. They are all nice and in the parks often not on leashes.
3. Beggers. Walking around before I handn't noticed them, but tucked along the street and in the church courtyards are beggars sitting by a wall or on a bench. They are not "in your face" American beggars, but rather quiet humble people with smiles on their faces. They are quiet easy to overlook without realzing it because they seem to just blend into the surroundings.
4. A million other runners. I went out our apartment and headed a few blocks over to a small brick lined channel. It runs with water coming from the higher mountains. There are running paths along each side with the occasional bridge. As I came up to the path I was surprised at how many people were running on both sides. I passed a park and noticed two women with a personal trainer barking orders at them to do sit-ups and push-ups. I see why the women here are very fit.
5. Exhaust. I stopped at each main street waiting for the traffic to clear. I learned quickly that if I'm not on my toes I may miss my opportunity and be waiting another 5 min. for an opening in the traffic. There are a ton of busses and they are all belching out large amounts of exhaust. My lungs cried out in protest to this lack of clean air.
6. Men with machettes. City workers along the streets were hacking away at trees with machetis.
7. Finishing my run I hopped into the elevator and pressed the number for my floor. This takes me directly into my apartment, so when the door opened I almost walked into a man. I almost panicked first wondering who was in my apartment, then wondering where my apartment was before I realized we had one more floor to go.
Home at last and into the shower.

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