heels on fire: Day 13

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Day 13

Woman’s Day

Malampuzha Dam
13th May 2006

A Gentle Morning Start
We awoke at 4.30am and went for a gentle run along the dam wall to catch the sunrise. Alas, the clouds keep the sunrise deep under wraps. The dam was calm apart from fisherman kicking their way around the lake sat in car tyre tube- rafts. The freshwater prawns they caught (whilst smoking cigarettes and chatting) looked delicious enough to entice us back to an early breakfast and chai! My friend Jenny joined us later in the day. Over to you Jenny!


Perumbavoor to Aluva
13th May (afternoon run)

I’m Jenny – I’m from Sweden but have lived in South Africa since 2004. It was in South Africa that I was introduced to long distance running, and it’s also where I got to know Pete. For me, running is about building strength for my body and inner self. After a stressful day there is nothing more relaxing than a long run. It gives me time to re-focus, meditate and start all over again. When I heard about Heels on Fire I decided to join the team in Kerala for 10 days. And here I am - at the Government Guest House in Aluva.

My first Indian run…
I flew in to Kochi earlier this morning - my first time in India. I came off the flight feeling nervous, curious and very excited abut the week ahead. What would it be like to run here – as a woman, and given the humid climate! I didn’t have to wait long to find out. The guys were keen to go for a late afternoon run.

Weaving in and Out
We started off in heavy traffic and most of my attention was on cars, motorcycles, buses and trucks. I have never seen anything like it. Soon the traffic eased off and I could focus more on the wider surroundings.

Women’s Vote
As a female in shorts and top I was a bit concerned I would offend people, but it was fine. The men seemed somewhat unsure on how to react to me. They were shaking hands with the guys, but left me with a friendly smile. But, I caught a number of women surreptitiously smiling at me from doorways and from the back of motorbikes. It felt good to get this small but important vote of confidence. This contrasted to the guys who had rarely been able to engage with women along their journey so far.

Riverside Stop
A boy called out to us from his house. His name was Hanif and he invited us to see the river at the back of his house. The guys followed him and his father, while I stopped to chat with one of his eight sisters, his mother and friends. Unfortunately, they didn’t speak much English. But I understood that they wondered if I was married. They asked how many children I had and where they were. They looked very concerned when I told them that I was not married and had no children. They then asked the same about the guys. The women looked even more concerned. They asked why, and I didn’t really know what to say. Luckily the others came back and it was time for us to move on. I guess that being unmarried at our age sits at odds with the society here. ( I think the women were more concerned about unmarried people hanging out together!)

A Man’s world?
Another thing that occurred to me while passing all the small stalls along the road was that they were all run by men. The tea and coffee stands were run by men and frequented exclusively by men, as were the fruit and vegetable stalls. When I think about it, even the guesthouse was staffed by men.. This is quite different from my experience in South Africa were women run most small roadside businesses. This is something I would like to know more about. Hopefully over the next 10 days I can learn more about the lives of women here.

Day’s End
We rounded off my first run in the tropical heat and dust of the evening. Later we stretched out on the lawn; as we chatted the sun went down, the Mynnah birds squawked and the fruit bats unfurled their wings. The heat and humidity had been much greater than I expected. 15kms was more than enough, considering I slept for less than two hours in the previous 24 hours!

After a shower and a delicious dinner I was happy to crawl into bed. I can only conclude that my first day in India was brilliant and I am assured that I will have an exciting week ahead.



At Fri May 19, 09:37:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the photos...wish the photographer would describe the story behind the images...

At Mon May 22, 11:41:00 AM 2006, Blogger mommybazz said...

I really really enjoyed the reading and the learning, hello newcomer! Looking forward to more scoops and tales.

Good luck with the running cool woman. Warm regards,



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