Training — Post 1

Today I finished my 8th day of training. A day of training consists of classes from 7:30 am to 9:30 am and then 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm (give 15 minutes before class for a warm-up). It is so exhausting! Spending approximately 4 hours day working out is supremely exhausting. You would think that the body and mind are two different systems, but they are pretty dependent on one another. I have all these goals to achieve, along with learning muay thai, involving studying and learning language, literature, etc. After working out for so long, being so exhausted, it’s hard to put together even a simple blog post.

It’s pretty warm here in Phuket, with highs around 90 and lows around 78. Through unscientific study, I feel like being around in the heat is way more exhausting than being in our man-made temperate climates in the Western world. You’d also think that my appetite would be increased tenfold, but I really only eat about twice a day (maybe some fruit or oreos as a snack in the middle of the day) and one of those meals is always pad thai — yummy!

Rawai Training Gym --

Training has been hard emotionally too. The first four days were just basic training, a lot of practice and shadow boxing and working through each move. After that, you join the regular class, which consists of 5 rounds on the bag, and then five rounds with a trainer wearing pads. The sweat literally pours off of you. The gym is open, as is the Thai way, and any breeze that happens to waft by is heavenly.

The last two mornings, I’ve been training with the owner of the gym, Tuk. I think this is because I must need remedial help or something. I just can’t seem to get the hang of kicking. You’d think it would be simple, just swinging your leg around. My years of Buffy watching did not prepare me for this.

I think what I need to keep in mind is that I’m training. I’m not going to get the technique perfect right away. I’m lucky that this gym is very friendly, and for all people every age and size [interesting enough, most people in the gym are mid- to late- twenties]. I’m working hard and trying my best, and I think that counts for something. I just hope that it counts enough.

Not to end on a dour note, training is amazing! I’m so glad that I followed my passion and desire to travel. I’m thinking of maybe focusing my trip on this, education and training, of fighting and language. Anyway, lots of options, lots of paths to consider, and the fighting is only adding to my confidence!

So, I rode an elephant today…

It happened accidentally actually; some friends and I were cabbing it around the island and they wanted to stop in and see about the supposed 4-hour elephant ride. First of all, something about cabbies is that they take you to the places THEY know, even if it’s not the exact place you asked for. More often then not, they receive a kickback from the location to bring tourists there. Secondly, you wouldn’t want to spend 4-hours on an elephant–no way.

Kinnaree Elephant Trekking

See, when we got there, they had rides lasting 30, 45, or 60 minutes. Kent, who loves to bargain, set up immediately to bargain the three of us onto a couple elephants. I kinda smiled, pinched up, and said sure. Ah, peer pressure–not always about partying.

Recreation of the View while riding an elephant

Once I was on the elephant with my friend, I pretty much squeeked the whole time. The whole ride was ridiculously bumpy and uncomfortable. We kept having to shift our weight around so the chair didn’t slide off, we went down some pretty steep little hills (I was squeeking a bit then; my friend said he thought I was going to freakk out the elephant and buck us off). Plus the manook (elephant trainer) sat right on his neck, and along with controlling him using his feet on the base of its ears, he also used this– an elephant hook.

THIS is an elephant hook

To see these majestic, intelligent, long lived creatures carrying tourists about, some of them chained up, unable to move very far– I saw one repeatedly feeling the beams of her enclosure; I was pretty bummed about it, and I’m not even an animal person.

And yet…

When man colonizes an area that was previously wild, they domestic animals that were there. Elephants could cause a lot of destruction to human settlements if allowed to run free. So elephants have been domesticated, hauling logs and such, or, in the case of tourist regions, carting foreigners from point a to point a.

I think the injustice got to me at first because elephants are so smart and intelligent; also, in western culture, elephants are not creatures to be keep in cages, but to roam free. I liken it to the idea of domesticated cats, dogs, pigs, horses, etc, being inconceivable to many other nations around the world. It’s a cultural difference.

But it was still terrifying.