My first running circuit has been around Parque Lezama located between the barrios of San Telmo and Boca in Buenos Aires. Ive been running in the morning before Spanish school and the first thing to say is that it feels weirdly similar to running at home. There’s a mix of people having a go around the park although I have to say they all seem a lot more fashionable than the Forest Fields lot from Nottingham! Theres also early morning boot camps and the odd late night stop out on their way home (the bars only get going after midnight here and a 6 or 7 am wander home seems very acceptable). I’m not anti the latter comment of course.
Now then Buenos Aires seems to be a strange anomaly. The residents are clearly very proud of their city however a percentage of the population seem happy not to clean up after their dogs. At this point I want to say, it’s not everywhere…. But the trouble is that it is particularly around San Telmo. Whoever owns the patent to the poop scoop needs to get over here quick, they’d make killing. Without this technology there’s been a few issues for Ballard and his trusty Nikes:
1. Putting your foot in it, I’ll say no more but the additional problem of looking what’s immediately in front of you has resulted several times in me nearly wandering into oncoming traffic or clearing out a local on their way to work (or on the way home from a night out).
2. Evading the park cleaners is becoming a daily battle against the might of the strimmer, leaf blower and power wash. The city clearly work hard to keep the place tidy, particularly the parks. However for the early morning runner this can result in being faced with a scene of mass cleansing in front of you. I swear the bloke with the power wash tries his level best every morning to get me, he certainly has a smile on his face when he turns in my direction!
3. Dog walking, it seems dog walking us a business activity over here. You regularly see a person seemingly being dragging along by a collection of dogs, sometimes 10 or more. It's hilarious to watch but if you get court in the oncoming traffic it can be a mess of dogs and leads and like the crystal maze to get out of it. Best – I have worked out – to stay well away!
4. A final point is that the locals seem intent on washing the pavements outside their house or business each morning, much needed as it gets rid of the dog mess however the following equation is relevant: (half asleep local + hose pipe) / road running Marco = early shower for Marco.
It's been good fun tackling the above though and I've been been really pleased to find that the friendly morning runner is a worldwide community.