Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cultural Difference 101: The Gym

One thing I am quite grateful for here in the DR is a good gym. I didn't have one in Angola and I definitely felt the need for it there. I was pleased to find a gym just four blocks from my office.

This gym is by far the fanciest one I've ever belonged to. It has its own website. It has good equipment. The strangest thing for me is the culture of this gym. It's expensive, so it atracts the "upper crust" of Santo Domingo, I guess. No old t-shirts and gym shorts here- everyone wears brand name work-out gear. From what I can tell, people go to be seen at the gym- the parking lot is always crowded and sometimes there's even a wait to get into the parking lot because all the spots are taken.

The women really puzzle me. In the locker room before going to work out, I see women putting on makeup- BEFORE going to work out! And, strangely, they never seem to sweat. They look beautiful and perfect all the time. I, on the other hand, inspire people to say "Ay, que rojita!" or "How red!" I assume they are referring to my sweating face.

Yesterday was apparently marketing day at the gym. Were they marketing health food products? No, they were marketing saltine crackers and butter. I thought this was a strange thing to market to a bunch of people who are supposedly trying to lose weight or get fit. I was wrong, however, because a huge line formed and people eating salty crackers made from white processed flour like they were going out of style.

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