January 27, 2010

The Phnom Penh Sport Club

Just across the street from CWF school, there is a sporty hideaway for those who can afford it. The Phnom Penh Sport Club was made as a status symbol for wealthy Cambodians and as a pastime for health-minded westerners with too much time on their hands. As many of the current volunteers have done, I joined the Club today. Even at my discounted rate (CWF volunteers get a discount, I guess), $40 per month seems extravagant in Phnom Penh. An investment in—who else?—moi.

The small fortune spent on membership provides a suitable gym, two pools, sauna, and table tennis. Oh, and massages—quality massages. Anyway, the gym is very usable. A healthy gaggle of treadmills faces out the picture windows to the pool, and a lacking circuit and free weight section take up most of the floor space. Khmer dance music bumps beats perfect for a very sweaty workout. The older and unvacuumed carpet in the stretching area leaves a little to be desired, but quality ping pong tables are ready for action all around the gym. After a thorough workout, I decided to revisit my youth and take a swim in the lap pool. If you didn't know me then, I was once an avid swimmer (especially in high school, tapering off in college). Whilst the three other pool-goers did some grandma-style paddles, I busted out some of my old strokes and flipturns to really impress the two people on the treadmills. Did I mention that the gym was nearly deserted? This is an exclusive place; only the best can get in. Needless to say, I made the cut. I'll be picking up my official membership card tomorrow, thanks.

Without sunscreen, I decided that 25 minutes in the pool at midday was about all I should do. A quick pop in the steam room and I was a new woman. There is no substitute for a good workout, and at this convenient oasis, why not spend my hours of downtime staying fit and maintaining my ego?