Bangkok: It turns out people are actually reading these things

So i’m sat in the quiet of my apartment, Jo is having an online meeting with work, the TV (Well, Netflix) is paused, My current favourite PlayStation game makes me travel sick, so what shall I do? I know.. I’ll have a go at doing a blog.

Life in Bangkok is still amazing, the weather is hot (and getting hotter) our grasp on the language is getting better (ish) life is good… Too good in some ways…. Basically, i’ve gotten fat. So, guess who’s gone back to the gym? Me!

Now, anyone that knows me, possibly knows I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to going to the gym… Body confidence issues coupled with my general social anxiety added to my general dislike of the human race, plus my incredible laziness does not bode well for me and any gym membership.

Many years ago I had a gym membership which (if I do say so myself) actually went pretty well, I’d finish work at 4 pm every day and head up into town to a local leisure centre, where i’d spend an hour or so every day using the equipment in an effort to get fitter (I had no desire to build “muscles” just be a little fitter) after a while I noticed results.. I was slimmer, I had more energy… I was essentially a better (physical) version of me. The gym was quiet, not many people used it so I was at peace there… Then suddenly it became popular. Popular with the wrong type of people. When I first started going there would be me, a couple of old people, a man who was training to do a marathon (or some other long-distance running type thing) … Suddenly Mr muscles began using the gym along with various young girls and one particular delightful young lady who would walk into the gym wearing full make up and a tiny training outfit, who would basically do nothing except giving judgmental looks to anyone that was not a “perfect” physical specimen (basically everyone except Mr Muscles and herself).. Mr Muscles would train quite quietly most of the time (which was perfectly fine) but as soon as he noticed one of the attractive girls walk into the gym he became a workout caveman, grunting loudly with every movement, growling and groaning with every weight. At first I found it funny, then after a very short time it annoyed me… then I just left and didn’t go back.

Years later when I got with Jo and jo decided she was in love with the gym I (despite really not wanting to) joined the gym with her… While she’d be off lifting weights and getting fitter i’d hide away and spend an hour on a cycling machine, peddling slowly, not wanting to be there, watching the other users of the gym pretty much playing out all the things I hated about my first gym… The posers, the perfect bodies giving dirty looks to anyone that may have actually (gasp) NEED the gym, pretty girls walking round in full makeup, wearing next to nothing, just there to get attention. I hated the place and made any excuse I could not to go.

Jo eventually moved to another gym… Black Country Barbell… A gym I have to say I actually liked, it was a strength-based gym, it wasn’t full of posers, it was full of people who I actually didn’t mind being around, but still I’d use the excuse of being too tired after being as work all day (which in fairness I was) however when I was at that gym, I was actually happy, it was a nice place to be… Then we moved to Bangkok.

So, six months of not working, six months of eating too much and six months of drinking have taken their toll… I was never body perfect, but now i’m fat... So it’s back to the gym!

Jo joined a new gym that opened next door to our apartment, it’s brand new and doesn’t have many members, so it’s ideal (for now) me and Jo are training together, it’s fun and hopefully I can get fitter and stronger. Our apartment block has it’s own gym, the issues with my back, then the problem with my leg during our first months here made it pretty much impossible to go and use the equipment, now my back is pain free and my legs are back to perfect working order I have no excuses, so I started a little routine (on top of the weight training i’m doing with Jo) , i’d walk Jo to work then walk back here, get on the treadmill, set it to an incline of 10% and walk at a steady pace for thirty minutes, this worked great for a few days, I had decided to ease myself into exercise, not to over do it, to get myself more active, one day last week (Monday to be exact) I had the gym to myself so decided to play my music loud lf on one of the benches and see how many sit up/trunk curls I could do… 50 sit ups later i’m feeling great, tired and a little achy but i’m feeling great, proud in fact, new routine established! 30 minutes of steady 10% hill walking followed by trunk curls! This time next month my jelly belly will be gone! Hurrah!

So… Tuesday arrives. I walk Jo to work… I do 30 minutes of 10% incline walking… I get onto the bench… One sit up later I feel a little discomfort… Sore in fact… So onto sit up two… More pain… A little more intense, no worries I think, it’s just my body getting used to this new exercise, as soon as I get to number 50 i’ll stop, i’ll go back to the apartment and feel really proud of myself… As I finished sit up number four I felt as tho someone had reached into my belly and ripped out every single muscle, I was in agony, I lay on the bench finding it difficult to move, eventually I rolled off the bench and hunched over, made my way sheepishly back to my apartment where I spent the rest of the day feeling sorry for myself.

Exercise 1 Ade 0

I was pretty much out of action for the rest of the week, by Friday I was ready to go back to the gym with Jo, lifting weights and doing some general fitness work, On Sunday we were back doing more weight training, i’m still hopeful that i’ll get rid of my jelly belly by the time we head back to England for the Download festival, I just need to be more patient, for now jelly belly remains, but soon (hopefully) it’ll be gone… Or reduced… Hopefully.

So, what else have we been up to? Well, we went to Pattaya again, which was great, we stayed at the quieter end of town this time, no mad nights of wild debauchery this time around… No crawling home at 4 am… No ping pong shows… Just a nice relaxing weekend, we found a bar full of expats, a quiet bar with good music, bar games, good conversation and very cheap drinks, a bar that was so nice we plan on going back in May.

Jo seems more settled at work and generally seems a lot happier, which is great. Bangkok is still a selfy hell zone, I have resigned myself to the fact that it will not change.

During our time here Jo has gotten involved with a group online called “The Phrom Phong Ladies” a group of women who a have come to Bangkok (all living in the Phrom Phong area)to work, they chat online and meet up for drinks (which is great) Jo came back from work the other day to inform me that we were going for brunch with the ladies and their husbands/partners.

(Screech of brakes)

Brunch?

I’ve never “done” brunch in my life!

Husbands/Partners?!?!?!

Strangers?!?!? I’m like captain socially awkward! I’m the bloke that would fake his own death to avoid going out with people I don’t know! I am the man YOU (yes YOU Jo) once told before a social meeting not to talk as I tend to offend people.

This has disaster written all over it. Oh it’s Sunday. No time to plot my faked death then?

Shit.

So Sunday arrived…

We had arranged to meet at a place in Thonglor called “The commons” a community mall filled with different food outlets and bars, a cool place with pretty much something for everyone's tastes, I was anxious, I had no idea how many people were due to attend, I had no idea what was planned for the day, I had no idea what I would have to talk about, I had visions of me sitting in the corner not speaking, drinking my drink and keeping my head down, basically coming across as a bit of an arsehole and an antisocial dick head.

Here’s the thing. I AM anti-social… Sort of. It’s not my fault… It’s just the way I am.

I’ve never been able to walk into a room full of strangers and strike up a conversation, once i’m spoken to, however as soon as that door is initially opened i’m fine… I will go from anti-social arsehole to your best friend in a matter of seconds.

So we get there, two of the ladies and their husbands/partners are there already, greetings made, handshakes were given ( I do like a good strong handshake) drinks ordered, conversation starts… I’m doing my usual thing where I sit close to Jo and occasionally nod or vocally agree to something she says, basically I let her run the show, I’m just there for back up. I’m sat at the end of the table with the ladies, the husbands seem to have congregated up at the other end of the table, after a while Jo wanders off to the bar leaving me alone, I concentrate on what’s left of my drink, keeping quiet, wishing Jo would hurry up back to the table (this is in no way me saying the company was bad, this is just the way I am in social situations… Yes, i’m a bit of a dick) when Suddenly I hear a voice say “So, Ade i’ve read your blogs” Bloody hell! It turns out people actually read these things! People I don’t know … Not the poor souls who are my friends on facebook who get subjected to these ramblings.

Door opened.

Contact initiated.

A Sigh of relief…. Breathed.

So to cut a long story short I actually had a really good time, drinks were drunk, food was eaten, conversation was had and I do believe new friends were made… Awesome!

Sunday night and me and Jo are in the gym, I wish I was stronger, I wish I had a better technique, however, strength will grow, technique will develope... Yes I AM Mr positivity today aren’t I? I am also Mr Observation too tonight, as i’m observing a man in the weights section of the gym… He’s a youngish Asian looking fellow, he’s wandering around the weights and machines as me and Jo are huffing, puffing and laughing as we lift our weights… He’ll go to one machine, add a small amount of weight, hold his arm with one hand while lifting the weight with the other… Three repetitions before wandering off to chat on his phone… Then he returns, picks up some very small dumbbells… lifts a couple of times.. wanders off, phone in hand… He returns, he goes to the corner of the room, goes into a stretching position, gets straight back up and wanders off on his phone again… Pretty pointless to be fair.. Unless his phone is REALLY heavy, if so fair play mate you’ve had one hell of a workout!

We return to the apartment (Me and Jo not me and the phone dude) we’re both tired, aching... But we’ve enjoyed our work out, and as I said earlier i’m hoping to be fitter and leaner by the time I go back to England for Download festival… Who knows, maybe at next years festival I will be a toned Adonis… A socially awkward toned Adonis... But hey, who needs personality when you’ve got the body of Hulk Hogan right?

So.. Until next time…..

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Ade Cox

A working-class man from The Black Country, plucked from the factory and now living the best life in Bangkok