Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Simple living versus Simply Living!

Only in Bolivia. I have said it a lot to myself, usually with a chuckle, sometimes with a sigh, more often than not a combination of those two. But this time the words came in between gasps for air as I slammed on the breaks in the midst of a long run (OK, I don´t really run that fast to use that expression, but still, it felt like that!) Here I was on yet another run through the city of Cochabamba, and yet again, failure was setting in.

I guess in the end, my first jog in the city was a little worse. I was cruising along, not a care in the world. Well not really, I was mad at myself for not washing my running shorts earlier, because the thick sweat pants I had on were not helping me overcome the 8,000 some feet of altitude and intense heat. But there I was, busting along in otherwise complete bliss when a loud growl and a tug on my pants shot me back into reality.

Fortunately, my lightening flash instincts (again, more than we can say about my running ability) allowed me to swiftly rotate the leg not being attacked to kick this dog (if he wasn`t neutered before, he is now) and quickly regain the power in our interaction by shouting out threats in a mixture of English and Spanish. I won the battle that day, but the street dogs of Cochabamba claimed the war to be theirs as I was reluctant to run on these streets, THEIR streets again.

And that brings me to the gasps, the breaks, the ¨only in Bolivia¨ day that happened a little over a month ago. I thought I had outsmarted the dogs by choosing to avoid the streets and instead taking advantage of Cochabamba`s one and only running path. It runs by my school and in the end, ends up in front of the giant Jesus statue in my town. Christo will take care of me, no? So there I was, pumping along, finally getting that run, that beautiful pain and dripping sweat I had missed so much when as I said, I came skidding to a halt. For you see, as I rounded the bend, the animal kingdom of Bolivia again tried to assert its authority in my life.

More than ever I wished I was back in LA, running along the beautiful beach as the sun set upon me as I gazed upon an endless ocean. But instead, I was forced to confront my reality as it was: There was no gazing, only a herd of cattle, grazing on my running path. I wish I could tell you this was some joke, some desperate ploy at a creative blog, but no friends, the honest God truth was if the dogs were not going to stop me, the cows were.

And so I joined a gym. I know I know, simple living what? And where? But in the end, I was forced to choose between what mattered most: simple living or simply living. I have ran into enough drug addicts, dogs, and now cows on the street to feel confident in my decision to invest in a gym. Now the gym is like everything else here in Bolivia: they use products that were beat to near death in some first world country and then to avoid dumping costs, sold to Bolivia at a cheap price. So when the treadmill (I remember this model from the 1990`s when I would visit hotel gyms if that helps you picture it) rotates irregularly and I almost fall off (again, sadly no joke), I do miss those runs on the beautiful coast of California. But after my experiences in the streets, falling off a treadmill because it does not function regularly is the least of my worries. So to my friends back in the beautiful state of California, take a jog somewhere on that incredible coast for me, because you never realize what its worth until a pack of cows threatens to attack you in Bolivia!


In other quick news, I have my address for the next two years. I guess I could not get enough of LA and while it is not 12 million people, there are 6, and an equal amount of smog. Entonces, Santiago here I come!

Asociados de Santa Cruz
Attn: Patrick Furlong
Casilla 238
Correo 11
Santiago Chile

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