Lazy Sunday today. The most excitement was after our housekeeper SY prepared dinner, she took me to the nearby health club to sign me up. She had searched high and low for several months for a suitable health club. The first week we moved here, we asked her about this one just a couple blocks away. For some reason, she thought that was not suitable. I don't know how many different ones she called, at one point she was recommending one some distance away. Something about the age of the facilities, the number of clients, and the condition of the equipment. For various reasons, mostly frequent travel over the holidays, we kept putting off actually signing up. Finally in February I told her I wanted to sign up right away. But, she said, it is very bad to sign up in February - many Koreans join the health club then as a result of Lunar New Year's resolutions (this is my rough translation of what I think she told me). These people make the club very crowded for the month of February, but then it tapers down to reasonable crowd in March. Also, about this time, she changed her mind and agreed that the one very close was actually the best place. March came around, and she and I were both just too busy, and then last week I took a short trip to Taiwan. FINALLY, today we sign me up.
I am now a proud member of Yang Chun Sporens Co, Ltd., Health Club. I have privileges at both the health club facilities AND the squash - excuse me, in Korean, we say "squashie" courts. I chose NOT to use the Golfing or Jazz Dance facilities. The Stumbling Engineer is so handsome and already knows all the dance moves, so the teacher and students would just be intimidated 8-). NOT. I have also made a special arrangement with the owner (via SY). When I leave the country for business or vacation, he will extend my membership accordingly. Woohoo!!!!
We took a short tour of the place - On the 2nd floor, there are the health club facilities - treadmils, cycle machines, weights, etc. As we walked by, SY says to me - here is the Men's Locker room where you will change. She opens the door and immiately shuts it and turns red. I open it and glance inside. It is much different than what I would have experienced back home in the US. Usually there is some small maze or wall at the entrance to a locker room. Not at Yang Chun's club - you are immediately in a locker room, and right in front of me was a naked man changing into his clothes. We regained our composure, SY telling me several times "I didn't see anything", and proceeded up more stairs. I think I will get ample exercise just walking up the 4 flights of stairs to the squashie courts, never mind actually playing the game.
I figure since I am reasonably skilled at racquetball, it won't be hard to pick up squashie. I saw some playing tonight, and it looked somewhat similar, but something didn't quite seem right. The most obvious thing was the ball is smaller, and maybe isn't quite as bouncy as a racquetball. Then I saw a basket of squashie balls, so I tried to bounce one on the floor. Yikes - it was like bouncing a ball of clay. Almost NO bounce. This is going to be interesting. I met my squash instructor tonight, and I have my first lesson tomorrow. I have no idea what to expect, but I am sure it will be interesting. I think I will go 30 minutes early and do some treadmill and listen to some K-Pop on my iRiver.
Recycling is big in Korea. I can't speak for everywhere in US, of course, but I think here in Seoul we recycle far more stuff than we do in my home town. Today I observed two examples of recycling of a different sort. We were running low on two items this week, chocolate powder and dish soap. SY bought refills for each. Now I have seen refills in US, but those are normally in bottles or boxes. These refills were in foil envelopes. I refilled the chocolate powder can, and fortunately all my foil pouch contents fit into the can. I am certain that all the dish soap did not fit in the little bottle we have, but I didn't notice what SY did with the remainder. I would worry that it will leak all over the place - there was no obvious way to seal the pouch once you cut it open. I kind of like this refill idea - I mean, how many dish soap bottles or chocolate powder cans do you really wear out in a year?
Well, that's all tonight. Better get some good rest for my first lesson tomorrow. I'm sure by the end of the week I'll be teaching the instructor a trick or two from my racquetball days....