Thursday, December 06, 2007

Staying in shape Thai-style

Just like Burger King and Office Depot, big glitzy gyms are springing up around Bangkok.

This one, called California Wow is just down the street from our apartment and it blasts ridiculously loud techno music from the lobby that opens to the street that is already noisy with traffic and hordes of pedestrians. The whole corner of the block is plastered with signs showing model perfect men and women to convince Thais that they need this place to help them stay fit.

On the other hand, there is this gem: Lumphini park, just a few blocks away from the Wow gym. We first visited this park last Sunday morning in a quest for a good place to go running. We headed over there around 6:30am thinking that we were early enough to avoid the heat and more importantly the inescapable crowds that are the essence of this city.

Wrong. There were literally thousands and thousands of people who had apparently already been up for a lot longer than us getting in some exercise.

There's a road going through the park making a 2.5km circuit and it was so thick with walkers and runners, we had to dart around people as we ran. And in most open areas there were groups doing Tai Chi, yoga, fan dancing, some kind of martial arts with swords, even a western line dancing class for seniors.

I was simply astounded to see so many people being so active and so early in the morning. It totally makes sense to enjoy the coolness of the morning but I just wasn't expecting to see a massive aerobics class with probably a couple of hundred people bouncing around right as we got past the parks gates.

And I just loved this outdoor gym under a huge tree dripping with vines. Venice's Muscle Beach has nothing on this place.

So I'm inspired that if this woman can ride a stationary bike with her cane to help her balance, I can strive to get up early in the mornings and start out my day at the outdoor gym.


At 7:34 AM, Blogger Blur said...

It also looks like yellow shirts are in style. I bet Michael looks ravishing in yellow...

At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Tara said...

Wow! What a great place to exercise. I bet it was still muggy at 6.30am though. Who needs bikram yoga!

You guys put me to shame getting up early EVERY morning to exercise. I'm still only managing to get up early once a week to work out with my pt!

At 5:11 PM, Blogger skua76 said...

Wow, neat! I spent several months in Bangkok in 1975 (in the Navy) but I wasn't doing any running back then and I don't recall seeing anyone else doing it either.


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