Today I ran to the Indian border.
Granted, it wasn’t too far away from my hotel, less than 4 kilometers in fact. But there’s something very satisfying about reaching another country.
I am staying in Nepalgunj, a small town in the west of Nepal, the gateway to entering the mountains of the mid-west.
Even though I went for a run at 6 am this morning, the road leading to the border was already alive with activity. Kids on bicycles, people crammed onto horse drawn carts, men lounging around their colourful yet stationery trucks resting up before their onward journey.
I knew I’d never get across the border. Westerns need to have a pre-paid visa before they can dare step into India. But Nepalese are allowed to come and go without impediment, allowing a free traffic of the two nationalities to pass me by as I stood talking to the Indian guard.
So I turned around and ran back to where I had come from. Though I was disappointed from being barred access to India, I had plenty of other things to distract me as I ran my way home. Women milking cows with men holding the cattle from moving, young guys transporting live chickens shackled onto their front handlebars, crowds huddling around tea-shop carts drinking their morning cuppa, young children defecating in the rice-fields then wiping their bums with jugs of water.
There’s always plenty of activity first thing in the morning to keep me intrigued. Its’ also cool enough to be able to go for a run. Any later in the day and I’d be tackling temperatures of over 35 degrees. And it’s also a time when others haven’t fully woken up yet, letting me slip past without their noticing the strange sight of a white woman wearing shorts running up to the Indian frontier and back.