The Philosophical Member Of Parliament.

This is very rushed, sorry for any mistakes! I have since gotten a new camera but yet a new problem is that it seems no internet has a USB connection which functions for me to download, always something. Special thanks to my sister Ann for some important behind the scenes help for me!
To finish off Flores Island I put two great days of 56 and 53km together. One of those days I was stopped by an M.P. Ignas Uran who made coffee for me outside his house. Soon 23 gawkers gathered. I didn’t take to him too much, he seemed a bit shallow,talking about him being an educated man and he learnt English through his love for philosophy.He stumbled when I questioned him on his philosophical Influences. I asked him if he was influenced by Aristotle who spoke of great persons with great minds sharing their wisdom with others once they reached enlightenment or Monty Python who ” always look on the bright side of life! ”   :)
He confirmed the 2 children policy where peoples free rice allowance is cut should they have more than two children and said rural people have big families because they feel blessed! He then lectured me on running on right side of road. You must obey the laws of the road here in Indonesia. I left and a few mins later there he was going up to a shop on his scooter with 3 children and none of the 4 had a helmet. So I shouted out Hey Ignas You must obey the rules of the road in Indonesia :-) Its a difficult country to control what with 17k islands of which 14k are inhabited. In all there are 33 provinces and even the smallest is bigger than Holland. Its difficult for the police and even when the Dutch colonized it they never had full control.The Dutch brought Chinese slaves over and and they stayed.
 I had breakfast in a cafe across from the harbor while waiting for ferry from Flores to Sumbaya. When I went outback to the toilet there was a goat inside,he shit all over it! On the ferry I got talking to Swiss man called Ben, a Councillor who says he is living his dream as he is doing the same work here but helping more needy people and only need a couple of hundred euro a month for food and his scooter. He says he camps a lot in the forests but because of the snakes always uses a small fold up hammock. I had a brand new one, more of a bivy with a mosquito net  but as it was too heavy, so I left it with Terry Cleary in Darwin. The roads in Sumbaya are thankfully wider.People in Indonesia never ask me where my bicycle is as presumably they are unaccustomed to cyclists,They ask me where my motor is!
That first week on Sumbaya my distance was down mainly due to the rain showers and some brutish hills. Monkeys were all over the road,I got some photos before the damn camera failed.Missed a classic photo when a monkey got chased out restaurant.Timor island was mostly protestant. Flores Catholic and I saw a lot of Sacred Heart and Virgin Mary effigies in the towns and villages I ran through.also many pigs. Now I am running through mostly Islamic areas.gone are pigs.enter the wailing mosques in the run up to Ramadan.My first encounter with an Islamic family was perhaps a misunderstanding for at the end of a hilly day Abdul signaled me to stop for a rest at his house. Jameang his wife wearing no headscarf fed me with rice,sardines and tea. I can no longer sit cross legged such are my weary joints so I had to lie down face up as I ate. I had the impression they were letting me sleep in an outside hut where I was first requested to rest, but after the meal Abdul said he was going to take me to a picnic area. I was not too pleased about this as otherwise I would not have stopped.
So I ran the two kilometres while Abdul rode behind me in the shoulder. When he dropped me at the picnic area I felt vulnerable, what if someone comes along?
I was assured it would be ok and then settled down under the covered resting area in the picnic area. I  rolled out my sleeping sheet bag on a kind of propped up platform with a thatched roof. About two hours later three men came along on two scooters. They were obviously fishermen. They greeted me, I was terrified but could hardly run, a kind of a sitting duck, I don’t really understand why they lit a fire where I was instead of at another site, but once they lit the fire, I felt their intentions were not harmful. unless they planned to eat me!
I could see one of the men split a springy branch of a tree with his machete. He then pushed six small fish in through the splits and bar b qued them, yes that’s how good was my view. Terrified I refused a share they offered me, saying I was so tired. Eventually they packed up and left.
Next morning Abdul came by and could see I was not too pleased with him!
  The days are getting hotter and hotter now with less rain. I am running pure west till I get to Java which will take me northwest till I get to Sumatra and its north full steam ahead till the equator.
 I trimmed away the bottom of my running top for ventilation reasons for as always in high humidity chaffing is a problem. Couldn’t get Vaseline so Johnson’s baby cream will have to do! The problem I had with my socks burning has come back to haunt me as I got a bad blister after buying new socks and not washing them before wearing them, ultra runners don’t do that or even break in shoes! The stories are legendary of runners sending out their helpers to buy brand new shoes in races like 6 day races! As I said, I must be getting soft!
Now the traffic is getting heavier and heavier and I am pushed into the rocky joint aching gravel.With my blister under my left forefoot I can feel every rock and stone.Its painful running.so painful I got to walk some.Now its also slow. I notice there are not many dogs but a lot of wild horses running loose along the highway. Though the people continue to pester and gawk, its not so intense. I am told that the ratio of women wearing head scarfs is about 50 50 and one month after being told that, having run through more of Indonesia I have got to agree.
My second Islamic family brought me in after I paid my usual offering and after dinner called the police to have me checked out.I told the officer off!The police officers name was Harris. He sat beside me smoking as did another officer with a machine gun strapped across his back.I had given my nightly performance to about ten of the villages best gawkers. They had kindly left when the family brought me in a tasty meal of rice,noodles,chicken and tea.Now the intermission was over,word had gotten around,a bench was brought in and my audience had stretched to 20.That was in the village of Sepayol. My people are simple village people.They don’t understand what you are doing and are afraid. I got a job to do,to protect them said Harris.So why did he take my 50000 rupiahs then? I asked. He paid you Harris asked Matasum, my host and the simple villager just nodded his head. I am sure Harris wondered why he called in fact this was to happen twice more over the next month. I wonder about my arms wide open reception in Christian Indonesia as opposed to what I was to receive in the Islamic areas. Many nights I was to have 2 or 3 refusals and I wondered if my offering money just made them more suspicious. I refused to show my passport to Harris and pointed out that this is normal in N.Korea but not in the democratic Rep of Indonesia.To me he was a classic example of a police officer acting the big shot.He spoke very good English and then I got to usual false modesty apologizing for his bad English.The best answer to that is always..Yes I know you speak poor English,but don’t worry because I understand you :-) Next day a decent 40km to the village of Lape. I stopped at a rice factory where I was greeted by Yasser and his father in law, Mohamed the factory owner.Guess what was on the menu! After dinner and a shower another couple of smoking cops came over to interview me.Once again I held my ground, politely answered their questions.
Officer Ibrahim also backed down on his passport request, think I will get the details page of it copied which will be a compromise, I guess. It just irritates me having to take it out for them, for I know half the time its just curiosity,and a fascination for any gawkers around for they wont back off! Actually Mohammad had called for he was worried about my limp as he put it. My blister had worsened that day, guess I am softening up as many ultra runners answer “the what do you do when you get injured question” with.. I run till I get better!:-) Perhaps it was just too much for Mohammad when I sat in his office lancing the blister as I talked. He told me he called because he was concerned, I asked why he didn’t call a doctor! Down the road there is a penguinapan as cheap hotels are known as.
So because of the blister,diarrhea and internet in town I took a rest day. On way down to internet cafe I stopped to top up phone credit.The man there made me coffee and in the internet cafe mid session I was brought inside to have dinner with the family! Then when I was finished I was grateful when the mans son in law dropped me back to my hotel on the back of his scooter, for it would have been a long and dark two kilometres.
So you can see my confusion with the peoples hospitality here as I just don’t get the simple villager line or that they are afraid as I am being told. Why is it so different here? On the road the calling,the hissing,the greetings and of course the gawking continues all day every day as I run from village to village. In many ways I feel I know what it must be like to be leading the New York marathon what with all this attention. Always when I stop at a shop its a quiet place bit usually not for long for all it takes is for one gawker to spot me and out comes the mobile phone or a shout across the road,for I know what they say! Sometimes I just don’t stop,too many. The next couple of days the blister healed  I made hot and steady progress across west Sumbaya, I am now very tired of Indonesia, all of it’s hectic traffic, smog, burning of rubbish by the side of the road. Sighting like a tyre repair man burning old tyres and inner tubes are routine.
The rain damage finally kicked in and my camera stopped working, will have to get a new one in Bali for it seems cameras are not sold anywhere outside of large cities.
A couple of decent days took.me to Poto Tano. On the way a man stopped me in the smoggy village of Utan for a coffee. He works for a govt. rice distribution company so he was the perfect man to confirm the Indonesian govt policy of less or no rice allowance for families with more than two children.The free allowance 15 is kilos a month per qualifying family. I know its sad but you still have to laugh at it ” whats wrong with you tonight dear? “not tonight! We need the rice!”:-)) I heard from a man about some Chinese gangs which sometimes take land and houses by force but without weapons from peasant people living in remote mountain areas. This man told me the Chinese make the claim as its ‘their land’ as their descendants were brought here as slaves by the Dutch. I imagine many of the poor people cant fight this but those that can hire a lawyer usually win as they can show a property tax record. Sometimes people write down whole sentences in Indonesian and figure if I don’t speak it perhaps I can read it and one man even went over to my ear and shouted his question into my ear! Ah! Yes if only it was that easy :-) I took the evening ferry from Poto Tano to Labuhan Kayangan in Lombok,my 4th island,about same distance from Dublin to Kilkenny,about 110km and can you imagine about 3 or 4 million people living in that area! The first day I knocked out 44km. It was a hot,tough day as my salt stained running top did testify. I was in a place called Bila Sundung,across from a wailing mosque. After a refusal for a place to sleep around the back of a shop under a veranda which in west Indonesia would have been a certainty a man brought me over to the mosque. The service had just ended and the Iman was bidding a good night to the faithful. So the man explains I was looking for a place to sleep,he had mentioned a construction area to the side as renovation was going on. To my astonishment the Iman didn’t even look at me,offer his hand he just said no and walked away.Talk about making me feel like an infidel:-))
The mans friend,a taxi scooter man took me to a penguipan about 4k away,tomorrow I will start from the mosque. The place was nice and clean and run by Radiah and his wife Sannah who are listed in Famed travel log Lonely Planet.In this area the people are Susak, a different form of Islam About 90% are Susak and rest Balianese, mainly Hindu.The Susaks are definitely the poorer relations.
Then a couple of low distance days due mainly to heavy traffic. The first day I stayed with a Hindu family who were very warm and friendly once they figured out what I was about. As mentioned before there are not many hotels and they often come too early in my day or are just a tad too far. This family Inahyu.his wife Sliarni and his brother Augussutamat sat outside with me in the coolness of that evening and we chatted as best we could before they gave me a nice comfortable mattress inside to sleep on. Next day I made it to Lembar for a 5 hour ferry crossing to Padang Bai in Bali. The ferries are very cheap,only a couple dollars but just like the airlines here many companies have a bad safety record.There have been a few sinking s over the last few years. That night I slept in the ferry terminal office which had a corner full of old broken pulman seats. The security guards were asleep or didnt seem ti care.so I just settled down to sleep before setting across Bali. Indonesia’s most famous tourist destination.especially for the Aussies. In the aftermath of the tragic 2002 Bali terrorist bombings in which dozens of tourists lost their lives Bali’s tourism and as a laid back innocent holiday destination suffered and has only recently recovered to its previous claim to being South East Asias premier resort.That first day I had a glorious 4 lane divided to run on and was able to run most of my 46km on the road.no worries about overtaking vehicles from behind.except for the odd scooter going the wrong way to make a right turn. I made it to Denpasar. Bali’s capital. It is a huge sprawling dirty mess.which would have been at home in Latin America.Huge growth.growing faster than it’s infastructure can cope with.Bali island is about the same size and population of around 4 million as Lombok island, primarily Hindu.The pavements are falling apart and one has to walk around
It was late when I got into Denpasar. It then started to rain heavily so I took shelter in a Chinese warung,as restaurants are called here. I emerged from the warung totally satisfied,for the Chinese rarely disappoint. Where to stay next was a problem for there were no budget hotels to be seen. I aimlessly wandered around the streets of this large city for a while. I saw a young girl of about 20 years of age wheeling her scooter through the gate of a very nice fancy house,so I asked her.She gave me directions to some place,it sounded complicated. In the fuss her father came out,they both spoke decent English and were very friendly,so I told them about the run and offered my usual $5 equivalent if they would let me sleep under their porch. Ketut was his name,a water meter inspector and collector from 10,699 meters from the surrounding villages. He invited me inside to sleep on the sofa! His daughter Wanda works in the airport. His wife Made works in the market selling the delicious pastries she bakes in the evening and I can testify they are delicious :-) They each earn about US$200 a month. Ketut showed me some figures im a book and I noted one village had 36 water metres with the average usage at $6 a month. Then he showed me one village which had 177 metres on his computer but only got 176 readings. He suspects fraud and will investigate the next day.

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10 Responses to “The Philosophical Member Of Parliament.”

  1. Fergus Says:

    Good Man Tony, Well done – all this is wonderful reading. It is a great account of what you have to go through day after day. Let’s hope the challenges get easier for you.

  2. Ann Says:

    Great read Tony, hope you get the USB problem sorted, a true insight into the life in Indonisia, but you are getting through all the problems and still clocking up the kms. keep the chin up :)

  3. Ann for Tony Says:

    Pls ask Ann to post Fri 50km total 33,248 for 779 days. Staying with nice family at roadside warung.

  4. kevin scanlon Says:

    great update tony. keep it going. hopefully the remaining islands pass easily. kevin.

  5. Ann for Tony Says:

    Hi Ann pls post. Sat and Sun 41 and 40km days. Very tough,traffic has to be seen to be believed and its also last week of Ramadan. Hotel was full but nice people letting me sleep on sofa for free :-)

  6. Michael Gillan Says:

    Hi Tony
    Your experience there makes our experiences in Australia like a walk in the park and so easy, as you said it was a holiday! I agree
    I am in Malaysia until the 14th and I feel your decision to go up the east coast the correct one as KL I found while the people are friendly enough in spite of the reportedly high crime rate.

    KL is just freeways criss crossing the city and country and it would bee difficult running as the lanes on the outside is full of motor cycles that travel fast and also the highway cuts off so much of the normal roads so you would be constantly looking for ways to work around

    The police here seem to be strict about being on them on foot

    I have posted your stuff to Thailand Michael

  7. Greg Havely Says:

    Hey Tony–I guess Ketut and Made must e pretty common names in Indonesia–I remember running into a lot of people with those names—-Yea, I can imagine that you will be happy to put indo. behind you—with all the traffic, and pestering people—–Not surprised about issues in the Islamic areas having experienced much of the same in the past—-Sounds like you will be heading up the east coast of Malaysia from Michaels posting–much better then heading into KL—tooo busy.
    OK man–let me know if you need anything—–until then–good running-Greg

  8. Serena Says:

    Hi Tony, another great read. Looks like you’ve overcome a lot of challenges over the past few days as it is totally out of character for you to have to walk’! I expect you’ll meet a lot of tourists in Bali at this time, obviously as you said tourist industry is in decline since 2002 but I have heard of a lot of people visiting there on their way to Thailand or as a “holiday” for a small period of time while volunteering in those parts. Great to hear you have been receiving such great hospitality although I am sure the police and the gawkers are annoying to say the least. Hope your foot stats on the right track! Keep it up. Serena :)

  9. Lyndon Mullan Says:

    Hi Tony – to confirm our start and end locations for your run through Singapore: we set off from the beach at Katong Park on Singapore’s East Coast area, and ran via Bukit Timah to the Woodlands Checkpoint (the Border crossing with Malaysia) – in all 31km.

  10. Dik Says:

    I read the blog for 1 year now and am always amazed. For a month now no new message from Tony. Hopefully there are no major problems.

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About Tony

I have always considered myself to be an average runner. In school, I was even bullied for I was a sports wimp. Through hard work, dedication, perseverance, self-belief and a strong mind I succeeded in not only running around the world but breaking four ultra running world records during my competitive career. Having previously cycled around the world I didn't start running until I was almost 30. Then I had a dream of running around the world. For many reasons, I waited for over 20 years. One reason was to establish my pedigree as an endurance athlete. I started and finished my world run as the current World Record-Holder for 48 Hours Indoor Track 426 kilometres (265 miles), a record I have held since 2007. I also broke and still hold the World Record for 48 hours on a Treadmill 405 kilometres (251 miles) in 2008. When I retired from competition, more pleasing than any of my world, European or Irish records I had the respect of my fellow athletes from all over the world - in my opinion, sports greatest reward - an achievement I am most proud of. Then I finally put myself out to pasture, to live my ultimate dream to run around the world! This blog was written on the road while I struggled to find places to sleep and to recover from running an average of 43.3 kilometres or 27 miles per day for 1,165 road days. There were many nights I typed this blog on a smart phone, so fatigued my eyes closed. Many journalists and endurance athletes have referred to my world run as the most difficult endurance challenge ever attempted. During my expedition I rarely had any support vehicles, running mostly with a backpack. In the more desolate areas I pushed my gear, food and water in a cart which I called Nirvana, then I sent her on ahead to run with my backpack once again over altitudes of almost 5,000 metres in the Andes. I stayed in remote villages where many people had never seen a white person before. I literally met the most wonderful people of this world in their own backyard and share many of those amazing experiences in this blog. My run around the world took 4 years. There were no short cuts, I ran every single metre on the road while seeking out the most comprehensive route across 41 countries, 5 continents, I used 50 pair of running shoes and my final footstep of the run was exactly 50,000 kilometres, (almost 31,000 miles) I eventually finished this tongue in cheek named world jog where I started, at the finish line of my city marathon. I started my global run with the Dublin Marathon on October 25th 2010 and finished with the Dublin Marathon on October 27th 2014 at 3 05pm! Thank you for your support, I hope you can share my unique way of seeing the world, the ultimate endurance challenge! Read more...


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