#164 The Gym
Submitted by Kabul Zoo
EAWs are healthy, active, outdoor types who love getting all sweaty after a long run. They enjoy cycling to work and back home again so as to reduce their carbon footprint.
When oversees on that hardship posting, however; these opportunities for regular physical exercise can dry up. The streets are traffic-clogged / full of muggers / smell of excrement / are a war zone. The only tennis courts in town are in the back garden of the President’s house, and anyway there was no room in the luggage for that racket.
Enter the flashy gym.
Non-EAWs may be surprised to learn that flashy gyms are not that hard to find in the third world. Along with mini-skyscrapers, pristine roads to and from the airport, and an impressive Parliament building; a fancy gym is a sure way for a poor government to show the world that it has some bling.
A guaranteed way for the newly arrived EAW to impress his or her colleagues is to ask “where is a good gym?” on the first day in country. Much like riding a motorbike, establishing him or herself as a gym-goer speaks volumes about an EAW’s youth, vitality, and sexual availability.
Flashy gyms in the third world are usually well out of reach of the average jogger in the street, and hence offer a serene (and empty) refuge for the deskbound EAW after a hard day’s proposal writing. Unlike gyms in the West, the EAW’s fellow keep-fit enthusiasts will be members of the elite who are there for the sauna and the networking, rather than to max out the rowing machine. This makes the EAW feel even better – hell, at 11kph on the treadmill she is the fastest person in town! Swimming pools in landlocked countries are even better –the best the locals can do is a waterwing assisted doggie paddle, so the EAWs schoolboy breaststroke makes him feel like Michael Phelps!
A nice gym can be ruined, however, if too many expats start turning up. Pretty soon some other white dude shows up with his iPod and starts doing 12kph on the running machine, the bastard. The sauna is now home to a fat, aging, lecherous banking consultant, who is desperate to strike up a conversation… ewww. A bunch of Americans, clad in sleeveless tops and baseball caps, are benching weights that the EAW can only dream about (“its all steroid abuse” he mutters to himself in the showers…. “Freaking Ryan Lochte types”).
Time to find another gym.