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Date : 24th March, 2015
Time : 58’ 12”
Total distance run to date : 560 km
Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/729582885
Indonesia is a huge country with over 250 million inhabitants – the world’s fourth most populous – and 17 500 islands. But I’m running on little Batam island just off Singapore’s south coast. For Luke, the ever patient travel agent, has spotted that I can do Indonesia by ferry from Singapore. Thereby saving me one flight, two airport transfers and yet another change of hotel. And for that, I am deeply grateful.
Batam is a free trade zone and part of the Indonesia – Malaysia – Singapore Growth Triangle. Shipbuilding and electronics manufacturing are important parts of the economy and, apparently, it’s a distribution centre for the ivory trade.
It has a slightly odd feel to it. A number of modern hotel and resort type buildings, lots of building going on and a sense that they want to attract tourism – but not many tourists in evidence. Mind you, there’s no reason for any tourist to be out running up and down the streets of Batam in the heat of the afternoon. So maybe they were there but just had the sense to be doing something more enjoyable. Perhaps they were even at Coastarina which looked – from the ferry – like a completely deserted amusement park.
Whatever they were doing it had to be more fun than my run. It was my hot, my legs hurt and, while I hate to be negative about anywhere I run, Batam wasn’t distracting enough to help me pass the kilometres. Maps were thin on the ground (and Google maps hadn’t been much help beforehand) so I ran round aimlessly for a bit until I got to a patch of waste ground in front of the ‘Welcome to Batan’ sign. Time for the photo above – with my sun hat helpfully obscuring the sign.
Then some more relatively aimless running and I got to 5k – and wished my challenge was to run 5k in every country and not 10k. Eventually I ground out kilometres 6,7,8,9 and 10 and arrived, wringing wet, back at the ferry terminal.
That was it. The eighth and final run of my SE Asia trip. Too much running, travel, heat, humidity and jet lag. But also a succession of amazing countries and cities. All at different stages of development – but all moving fast towards the future. If you haven’t been before, then go now!