Friday, May 21, 2010


Today was Buddha's birthday, and in celebration of a calmly serene fat bloke, I went to the gym for another instalment of the run-until-you're-sick exercise plan.

Instead of visiting California Fitness in Central, I went to the branch in Causeway Bay; this is in a basement, so you can't look at the window at people having their hair cut, but that also means you don't find yourself accidentally perving down at passers-by.

This meant I watched ten minutes of a confusing Hong Kong comedy involving an uncle hiding in a toilet, a man called Chin being thrown in a river by what appeared to be Idi Amin, and an angry gweilo in a suit, waving his fist. Say what you like about low budget Hong Kong movies from the 1980s, they do fit a lot in.

This Orson-Wellesesque masterpiece failed to distract me from my suffering on the running machine; there I was, struggling to run at 12 kilometres per hour, when I made the near-fatal mistake of grabbing hold of the heart-rate monitor handles and finding that I was pumping blood through my arteries at 178 beats per minute. No wonder it feels like a struggle to maintain that pace. Back when I was fit, I could chug out 12km/h without going above 160bpm, so I've clearly lost a lot of fitness.

Or just maybe, hoping against hope here, all the treadmills in all the gyms have had their speeds miscalibrated. I am fast, I am, I am, I am.

So after 27 minutes of self-deluding running, rowing and cycling, I stopped for a stretch, and then went to Central to eat some cake. I did at least let my girlfriend eat half the cake, although I was so ravenous I found it hard to resist whipping the cake out of her mouth and stuffing it down my gaping craw.

And I think I'd deserve it. I mean, I don't want to blow my own trumpet, but I had just run the equivalent of two miles. In an air conditioned environment. While guzzling Pocari Sweat.

Thinking about it that way, I probably deserved a lot more than just some cake.

And when I want something, I get something.

Unfortunately the something I wanted was a delicious and filling lunch, and the something I got was being dripped on by an air conditioning unit while bad temperedly drinking hot minestrone soup. I suppose it's true what they say: those who the gods wish to destroy, they give them hot minestrone soup to eat while being dripped on by malfunctioning temperature control apparatus. Or something like that, anyway.

This afternoon, I bought some books. Because I adore delayed gratification, and because it's half the price, I'm having Amazon UK post them to my parents, rather than buy them in Hong Kong. So I look forward to reading The House with a Clock in Its Walls and Visual Poetry some time in 2010, or at least looking at the pictures. Happy to have save some cash, I lumbered over to Times Square to look at electronics, only to find myself gobsmacked that you can now buy a heart rate monitor for $4100. For that much, I'd expect it to go to the gym for me.

On the other hand, Broadway have marked down their 70-200/4 canon zoom lens to only (only!) $10660. I wonder how much more that is than the same thing from the deliriously happy camera sellers in Wan Chai.

Then again, $10,000 is a lot of money. I could get at least twelve sessions with a personal trainer: and that's a lot of being told you're unfit and need to readjust your posture. Decisions, decisions...


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