It is amazing how easy one can get back to the comforts of the western world. One minute, you find yourself living out of a backpack and dorm rooms while traveling around the Asian continent, and the next thing you know, you are in a comfy bed, eating western food and you’ve already lost your abs. While visiting Australia was great and there were some fantastic runs, I knew a trip back to Asia was necessary. This, of course, involved readjusting to some of the things I had forgotten are involved with running outside of the cushy developed world.
To start, my first run back was done at twilight in a town called Candidasa on the island of Bali in Indonesia. Candidasa is a quiet little town in eastern Bali, which offers great snorkeling, cheap food and beautiful hotel rooms for dirt-cheap prices. For a runner, though, the town doesn’t offer much. My run was relegated to a simple out and back on pavement, with an abundance of cars and motorbikes following along on my side. It also involved shifty sidewalks, random dogs and cats on kamikaze missions and prying eyes wondering what the hell this crazy white person was doing. This, of course, is what running in Asia is all about.
While I do enjoy being back in the developing world, one of the biggest factors I neglected before lacing up my trainers was the oppressive heat due to high levels of humidity. Though the first mile I wasn’t affected, as I began to get near mile two, I immediately became lightheaded. Though the sun was setting, the blanket of darkness wasn’t enough to combat the malicious humidity my tough Colorado skin isn’t used to. This factor absolutely shortened my run.
After coming to terms with the minuscule distance, my other two obstacles to clear were the uneasiness of being starred at, and trying to take in my surroundings while also preparing to traverse uneven roads. While running in the west, no one even turns an eye as you speed by in your shorty shorts. In Asia, even if you are wearing a shirt and regular shorts, you are a spectacle.
With only a few streets running throughout Bali, all the traffic, both human and motor-based, are all concentrated in one area. You are being gawked at, cat-called and sometimes nearly driven into because you aren’t a typical day-to-day sight. As you try and cope with this, and try and say hello to those yelling at you, you also have to be ready to navigate roads that aren’t always one uniform level. Be ready to make like a running back and cut, or else wind up on the ground.
While seeing the locals bring out incense and offerings was fun, it will take me awhile to get used to the heat, the uneven roads (Roads: 1, Mulv’s ankle: 0), and the overall chaos on the streets and paths. With all being said and done, though, I can’t wait to keep exploring the island of Bali via my own two feet.