Running Tales

The Nomadic Urban Swara-MOZAMBIQUE

running pathWe have to admit , it is such an ego booster jogging in the streets . The world is your mirror in this big gym and everyone is watching you run, you have your one hour of fame and demigod status as you watch the rest of the poor saps , stuck in traffic.  Come on be honest, you may not have voiced it, but YOU have definitely thought it …:-)

So Mozambique did not disappoint when it came to street jogging from downtown Maputo all the way to the Presidential Palace. There are walking paths throughout and yes, drivers actually obey traffic lights, so the chances of a hair-brained driver running a red light and running you through, because he thought it  was a new shade of green is non -existent. Another curious thing about Maputo was, people live right in the middle of the capital city. Now curious for me, because when the Brits  ruled us a long long time ago, they  made the city centre strictly for business and the watus and vijanas (civilians), lived in the outskirts of the city, of course demarcated by social stature. So this  post Brit girl is not used to seeing people living in the city, despite the fact that the likes of Hong Kong have perfected this art.

running path 2But what does the above have to do  with my running experience in Maputo? Well, everything . By living in the city, the Municipal Council has heavily invested in walkways and  public running parks and as a result I was in great company when I was running. So Day 1 was  hilarious. My Portuguese is as good as my Russian, it’s none existent!! So, I used the international language of running. Step 1), Dress up ready for a jog, Step 2) Go to the concierge and Step 3) Animatedly, using gestures, close to a manic game of charades  explain you want to run. Well, it WORKED!  With my perfect English and the  Concierges’ excellent Portuguese, he drew me a 10 km marked running route from my hotel through one of the parks, to the Presidential palace,  through the water front and back to my hotel. So hmmm, do not underestimate the international language of runners.

Well, the run. As I had earlier said it began from downtown Maputo, drivers obey traffic lights and  the walkways are easily available for running. So here I am feeling like The Flash (For the clueless,  he is a DC Comic  character and a member of the Justice League. Ok, still clueless?… think Superman, Wonderwoman, Iron Man…ok, now you get my drift…. Yes That  Flash .) and running through the streets and I get to the famous running park named after Mozambique’s top runner. The late Anton Rapinga, who’s tragic death, story  goes, that, was  competing with a train and attempted to cross the railway line at a crossing and he fell and the train went over him. To be honest my first reaction to that story was dark humour… and think , “who does that?!” Then shock at how far the high from our endorphins can make us do stupid things.

Back to the park. Anton Rapinga  running park was clearly made for exercise, it  is about 800m around , with paths filled with sand and stop points , yes, with equipment for cardiovascular exercise, so all you do is come with your mat and  do any exercise that suits your fancy. Well some of the equipment are in need of repair, but, I guess it was better than nothing. So I ran around the shaded park 5 times and  exited and ran along the water front all the way to the Presidential Palace, which was approximately  2kms from beginning to end. Yeah! It’s good to be President!

The way back was quite fulfilling as I was  running on the same water front, but with the full view of the sunset. Allow me a cliché moment. It was wondrous.10 kms later I was back in my hotel, absolutely pleased with myself, discovered a new route and several more, during my stay. And oh once again , Mozambique did not disappoint, discovered the fish market and using the international language of non linguists, pointed at the bucket of clams, rubbed my fingers as a sign of cash and the waiter happily brought in my  BUCKET of clams  and garlic bread…***collapses in dead faint*** ah good times.

Oh well, moving on to Zimbabwe…