Thursday, April 12, 2007

Super Size Me

"Would you like a donut?"
"No thank you. I'm not hungry."

"Gotta be hungry to eat a donut? I never heard of such a thing." - Other People's Money

When my time in Korea is over, there'll be a few stand out things which will remind me of my stay here. One will be the smell of Busan, and another will be the food. Food is pervasive in Korea, it's part of the lifestyle, it's recreational, it's in the blood. And after six months, it's probably in my blood too, because frankly my stomach's always full so it must be going somewhere. In retrospect, I can see my problems began on my very first day, when having arrived in Korea, we sat down with the family for the first time and ate pizza, at the end of which Korean Mother insisted of stuffing grapes into my mouth, even though they had nowhere to go. And this has been the implication ever since - that I should eat more. Korean Mother looks so sad when she thinks I'm not eating enough. So despite all the dashing around rapidly expanding Busan, my stomach decided to emulate the city and undergo some expansion of its own. I keep telling the Koreans to stop feeding me but they won't.

Korea is one of the thinnest nations on Earth according to the OECD, but it doesn't stop Korean Mother and Wife stressing themselves about their weight. So yesterday there was a visit to a gym-type facility where there were various fat-busting machines for customer use, most of which seemed to involve trying to shake it loose. I call it a 'gym-type facility' because it seemed that there was no actual exercise involved, which I suppose is perfect if you're the type of person that wants to get into shape but doesn't want to expend too much effort in the attempt. And after the hard work of being worked on, some of the customers took a well-earned lie down and ate cookies...

It wouldn't be Busan if there wasn't a gym, two churches, three
hair salons, four mini-marts and five take-aways all within a 50-meter radius, so in an attempt to actually make an effort to lose weight rather than just relying on technology, we found our local gym today which turned out to be on the second floor of the building across the road from our apartment block - a fat-busting 30 meter walk. So we went to enquire around lunchtime but despite being open it was somewhat bizarrely devoid of both customers and staff. We'll have to try another time.

Not to be put off, we walked up to the main road and having checked the Adidas, Asics, Ellesse, and Fila stores - how Koreans live their brands - I bought some new trainers from Reebok (after which I also found the Nike store - too late). So now I feel that I've made a commitment to make a spectacle of myself at some future point in a Korean gym...


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you'll come across some interesting social oddities in the Korean gym.

Good luck! :)

Mike said...

Yes, and I'll be one of them :-)

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