After four very sedentary weeks, with my only form of exercise walking to the shops (a mere 200 m) to stock up on fresh food, or have sleeves put into clothes, or indeed buy new clothes, I am beginning to feel like a cabbage! Not a good feeling at all!! I like to be active and I am sure that my size 10 figure I so proudly boasted about at the outset of my adventure, is steadily growing into bigger figures.
Well, the heat puts paid to doing long walks at the weekend and I have not yet seen a single female cyclist (plenty of women are now driving motorbikes – not just being passengers!) so getting a work-out on my way to the school is just not going to happen. And the only gym in Neyyattinkara is only frequented by body-building men, no women allowed…
When first mentioning to the teachers at school that I wanted to find a gym, they wondered whether I meant a massage… I suppose many Western tourists indeed have an Ayurvedic massage on their to-do list but lying motionless as a slab of meat to be prodded, pummelled and manipulated seems a very inactive kind of exercise and not quite what I had in mind. But I would be doing all my readers a disservice by not indulging in this experience at some stage so that you can enjoy it with me, if only through reading my blog afterwards – I may pencil it in for January or Christmas Day if nothing better turns up…
Maybe I could buy a treadmill or a cycle machine, someone else helpfully (?) hinted. As I can hardly carry it in my suitcase on the way home, was this possibly tinted with the slightest bit of wishful thinking that I might donate it on my departure.. ? Unfortunately, I do not have £300 to spare… A skipping rope could have been another fitting solution, but those are only available from a sports shop in the big town. And to be honest (thank you Stephanie for pointing me in the right direction) do I really need a gym when the internet is laden with aerobics and other exercise videos and I do have internet!!!
However, what I want most is to be outside, in the fresh air, with other people and not being cooped up on my own at home, so my quest for a gym continued! And persistence paid off! After first being taken to a money lending/laundering(??) place by my regular tuk-tuk driver -there clearly appear to be many different interpretations of the word gym-, I eventually took matters in my own hands and braved the men-only gym to ask them where the nearest women-friendly place of exercise was to be found. And hallelujah, I have now become the member of a local-ish gym, just 5 km away, and all at the price of £7.50 admin and £4.00 per month for as many sessions as I can fit in.
And so today, Saturday, I finally made it to the gym with the necessary adjustments to my attire. No shorts allowed, only Kerala-suitable gym gear for ladies: long tracksuit bottoms, but at least I can get away with a T-shirt and wearing my clean trainers on the treadmill… Well, I have decided not to notice that the other two women in the gym did not bother to get changed and tackled the cardio machines in full churidar and barefoot, although they seemed to spend a lot of time studying the machines rather than being on them.
I threw caution to the wind and ignored all advice from well meaning colleagues that in Kerala Wednesday is the day to start new things, so making Saturday my first day at the gym was very brazen indeed. Not that anyone has been able to explain why Wednesday would be any different from Saturday, but at least I avoided Monday, because that would have spelled real disaster. So, is it coincidence that today of all days the internet is playing up and I only have intermittent service….
Oh, boy, have I missed running, even though I was only allowed just ten minutes on the treadmill, it felt sooo good to work up a real dripping sweat from actually moving body and limbs, rather than from sitting in a stuffy room where only a fan whirring full blast can cool you down and stop you from melting. All I need to find now is way of spending more time outside in the fresh air without turning into a beetroot….