I do not run. I do not even jog. There have been times where I felt that running was the way to go and that I could attempt a go at triathlon. I was a provincial cyclist (Free State and Northern Free State) and I can swim but running, no-no-no-no! In my mind I have the grace of a racehorse but in real life I look like someone who has just hit a speed wobble!
Too much information? Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to be prepared for a new phenomenon when you arrive. People are exercise CRAZY here!
When we landed on the 17th of August 2008 one of the first things that I noticed as we took leisurely strolls along the Swan river in Perth, was the people jogging in the mornings, during lunch hours and in the afternoons. While I was bird watching (the budgies and love birds were entertaining us from the branches of the big palm trees) I would hear bicycle bells warning us of their imminent passing. Momentarily I reminisced about the sale of my road bicycle, and thought that I may just take up cycling again. But note, I said momentarily.
Then we moved on to Bunbury and it was worse! There is this beautiful seaside view that the people use as a back drop for their daily torture session. I tried it once – I kept thinking about Panadols the whole time, must have been the pain in my side.
It was stil a bit wintery in August and I was absolutely gobsmacked when we took a drive along the estuary in search of the ever elusive wildlife (kangaroos) when I saw a runner out for jog in the rain. No, he was not caught off guard by the rain, he was dressed in rain gear, and out running, which told me that is how he was dressed before he took to the road.
I may make it sound as if I am exercise averse. Not at all. I love exercising. I am a gym girl and looooove weightlifting. (Bet you did not see that one coming. I leg press 270 kgs. Not bad for a girl hey? Please don’t bust my bubble. Just nod and say, ‘Impressive.’)
It is just that the people here are really serious about getting some form of exercise in on a daily basis. I am warning you that you will be overcome with a sudden urge to start running when you land at the shores of the Great South Land. And no one will be chasing you when you do so!
Dear Migrant to the Great South Land,
before you come Down Under go to Mr Price Sport and kit yourself out with which ever gear you will need for which ever sport you choose as your poison.
Make sure your boots are made for walking, because in the initial months and possibly even years to come you will find yourself and your beloved walking long distances along the beach side. There are many walking trails in many of the suburbs of the towns.
The cycling routes are paved and separated from the main traffic ways.
If you do not want to, you will not have to join a gym to get fit. You will be able to do so outside under the open blue skies, and if you are really committed, even when it rains. Just make sure you buy rain gear as well, when you visit Mr. Price Sport.