About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Return to Tainan: Goodbye Flying Club

As I said in the previous post, the flights back, were the most painless despite my poor health at the time. Zenaida was my best travel companion thus far and I had zero jet lag. We returned and our friend Mr. David Wu invited me to one of his friend's Japanese restaurants (another friend with another Japanese restaurant) which was a nice treat. And he began by telling me some bad news. "I have some bad news for you". My heart sank a little.

My wonderful gym the Flying Club was closed--for good. The owner took everyone's money and ran off to mainland China, there was no way to recover our money. Apparently this happened before in Tainan, the owner of a health club hightails it to the mainland, free from prosecution and living the high life, because China doesnt recognize Taiwan as an independent country. How can you deport and prosecute someone under this kind of status quo?

The staff had not been paid in 2 months prior to his hasty departure. Ok, I was slightly sick to my stomach from having paid a year's membership in January (12,000NT) before I left to Denver, especially since the year before I was just doing 1500NT every month and also I was super broke upon my return from Denver and was expecting a meager paycheck from my not working for 4 weeks. Even more sickening than the loss of needed money, was I was going to miss the place and the people. My evening classes, the ability to bring Zenaida and know she was safe. The facility itself was pretty luxurious, the pool, the spas (hot springs as Z calls them). I was making some seriously fun progress in Belly Dancing, our teacher formed a group and we performed.(After years of ballet, tap, jazz, Flaminco, Mexican folk and Nigerian dance, Belly dancing is the most difficult, especially on a mental level).

I tried some undeniably strange experiences for the first time at Flying Club, besides belly dancing. I was buried alive in heated sandalwood powder for an hour. I had to wear Japanese pajamas and lie down inside a cedar box full of sandalwood that been heated for the previous hour until it got to 40C, than I lay on some towels and Jessica got a shovel,proceeded to bury me with more of the fragrant wood chips and then when only my face was exposed, she closed the wood casket, turned off the lights and left me there to be buried alive. On a cold rainy day, maybe during my menstrual cycle, its the perfect thing to do on my lunch break and I was never charged. After Jessica dug me out and gave me a hand out of my "casket" my Japanese pj's were soaked with toxic sweat, I didnt even feel like I broke a sweat, nor did time seem to pass, I must of always dozed and never noticed. Jessica also enclosed me into a gigantic ceramic jar that was pumped full of medicinal steam. Just something to try when FC offered the weird and wonderful and we had the time.

I was moping for my loss about a week, and then checked out my options which werent much. I signed another contract at E Powerhouse, which is down the road and cheap. I paid 6 months for 4000NT and eventually another 6 months and bought my co-workers fine treadmill for 8000NT. Every time I went to E Power I was feeling sorry for myself for about a month. The facility is pretty getto compared to the luxuriousness of the Flying Club. The weight room is crowded with equipment, there is no separate room for core stuff like fitness balls, medicine balls and my beloved buso balls. (Have some balls people!) I was really fond of the buso ball too, so many cool things I could do with that and a 5 kg medicine ball. The first thing I asked at E Power was for a buso ball, but my request is still unanswered.

The locker room is a closet, no room for water spas or saunas much less room to actually remove your clothing. (Sorry my big, not sun-tanned ass is in your face sister).The door is also a sliding door which every time it opens reveals whoever happens to be stuck partially naked when some other lady walks in. After a couple of months they bought a kind of wood screen that slightly helps. Even worse were the smells of the lady's locker room. The space is so incredibly small, but it somehow squeezes 2 benches, some lockers, 4 showers, a toilet and no air circulation. Every time a woman took a dump, it stunk up the place. After they recently started using the A.C. the air quality has improved or I just got used to it

Now after 6 or so months of going I like it. Up until last month Jessica my trainer from Flying Club could come in twice a week and train me. Having a treadmill at home gives me more options, frees some of my lunch break I might need to run errands or get a massage. There are always the familiar smiling faces. Did I mention E power is the place for Rocky wannabes, real body building, competing, huge dudes (and one lady, Kolly who will be my new trainer next week). So the weight room is mostly big protein shake guzzling dudes, but at lunch time its nearly empty and with Jessica's wonderful education, I know my way around and enjoy myself. Sadly I cant bring Z and can never do any of the night or weekend classes, bye bye Belly dancing for now.

Every time I drive by the Flying Club I cant help but feel a little sad. It was a great facility and needed only decent management. The destruction men have nearly leveled the building after 6 weeks of knocking it down into a unrecognizable pile of rubble. It must of cost a small fortune to tear it down.

The photos are of me and ex Yankee pitcher, old local folk hero, Wang Jimmy and Jessica in the former Flying Club.

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