Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hanging out with the Reebok crowd

Hanging out with the Reebok crowd

Hanging out with the Reebok crowd

T

he International Youth Club has a French facade that may intimidate the

low-budget exercise enthusiast. I walk in and am greeted by a beaming Khmer

smile and charm and confronted with membership rates - $70 per month. However,

if married or in a defacto relationship a hefty discount is on offer which

brings the cost down to $45 a head - I guess it's a positive incentive for Phnom

Penh's couples to not let their bodies slowly deteriorate as they happily grow

old together. I didn't ask whether the management is liberal enough to give

discount to homosexual couples.

On the second storey is the weight room

which is a few aerobocycles, ergo-rowers and dumbbells short of a gymnasium. The

equipment is a real mixed bag - some good basic free weights, mats, cycles,

benches and treadmills, and a few high-tech designer contraptions - good for

muscle isolation training and not much else, say bioaerobic scientific studies.

The room is sparsely populated by the beautiful people of the expat

community, sporting Reebok attire which I suspect may have been picked up at the

central market on the cheap. They anxiously glance for mirrors to ogle their

plumage. A few much fitter looking Cambodians are also in the room. They seem to

have a lot more carefree fun with the gadgets.

After a few minutes on a

stationary bicycle I begin to regret that occasional puff on a tax-free

cigarette, and I realize just how unpleasant exercise is. But I continue for the

same reason that a person bangs his head against a brick wall - because it feels

great when you stop.

After working up a sweat I'm ready for the pool,

jumping in it feels like warm pee soup, but I'm told the temperature is cooler

in the morning. The idiot who built laid a concrete slab on the bottom which

stretches over 20 meters of its 50 meter length, making this section too shallow

for anything but socializing and playing with toddlers. You can't really swim

laps anyway, there are no lane ropes or lines on the bottom to guide you. But

the bathers don't seem to care, swimming freestyle laps is the last thing on

their minds.

The ambiance is serene, small trees covered in twinkling

yellow lights surround the pool and light pop music is faintly heard from the

place next door - a new Khmer nightspot. The Khmer staff are wonderfully smiley,

fun-loving and relaxed, they do not kick you out at closing time, and don't even

appear to care what time it is. All up an idyllic calm is created - the perfect

therapy for the many neuroses I along with most expats have carried with me to

Cambodia.

The tennis courts are high quality plexiplave with good

lighting. They are keenly used by people who cannot play the game.

Why

join? Well why not? It's to hot to run around the Olympic stadium, the National

stadium for Badminton lacks courts, I'm tired of attempting to catch a wealthy

lover pool-side at the Cambodiana, and gratuitous sex, I've been told, doesn't

take the muscle groups through a full-range workout. So for the yuppie fitness

fanatic, what other exercise options are there?

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • PM warns party of complacency in leaked audio

    Two leaked audio tapes, purportedly of Prime Minister Hun Sen speaking candidly to senior officials, appear to hint at insecurities within the ruling party over the controversial dissolution of the country’s main opposition, with the premier warning that the party’s “struggle” didn’t

  • Government approves plan to relocate Phnom Penh’s airport

    The government has signed off on a proposal to build a new airport to serve Phnom Penh and has earmarked land in Kandal province for the $1.5 billion project. A new international airport to replace the existing Phnom Penh International Airport will be constructed on partially

  • Music festival promises big stage, has even bigger hopes

    With a line-up of local and international artists, and a massive outdoor venue booked on Koh Pich, or Diamond Island, Saturday’s Diamond Moon Festival is aiming to showcase contemporary musical and artistic talents at a scale rarely seen in the Kingdom. [img] But the