Thursday, May 1, 2008

Running the risk

I have I told you about the recent protests, both violent and peaceful here? I will not be an alarmist or exagerate what is happening (there are enough people out there doing that already) but it is enough to say that some people are unhappy with the corruption, fuel prices, food prices, and for those that are just looking for a reason to hit the streets to join whomever might be there.

So, I got the bright idea last month to deliberately take a run after seeing the tear gas, beatings, etc. and head for that area, despite the US embassy's warnings to the contrary (one would think people would not have to be warned about crossing lines or trying to drive through protests, but alas it is necessary.) Also, the violence is not widespread, and if one is careful, these things are relatively easily avoided. All that to say...I am not trying to scare you or say it is not any less safe (than it has been...Honduras still has either one of, or the outright title, for highest murder rate per capita in the world. For some reason that is not on our tourist posters.)

I was not quite as stupid as it sounds, and only fully broached the area when I was sure that most of the bad stuff had passed. One advantage for me runner (instead of us runners since I have not seen anyone else doing this) is that the police usually close the road allowing me to run in places I would not otherwise be able to least not without being run over. I get enough looks running on a normal day...running through a march of sorts only adds to that.

I unknowingly almost stumbled into a protest on Tuesday again. I was heading downtown, and upon getting closer, I noticed traffic backing up. It is hard to resist passing stopped traffic, since you feel faster than you are. I could not see the reason for the back up, and then passing an intersection, I looked down just one block, and there they were. I turned the other direction to go by the stadium, otherwise near the congress building there were students (like 10-15 years old) throwing rocks, and generally causing mayhem.

And then today is a holiday here, Honduran labor day. I hit the streets mostly to take advantage of reduced traffic, but soon found myself avoiding another march. Not least not that I have heard, but it did cause me to change my route...and gave me another time to pass quite a bit of stopped traffic....and at least a 1/2 mile of open road. With the smokey haze everywhere, and the most heat we have had this year this week, it was a dehydrating, interesting, physical run.

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