When I came to Venezuela I quickly realized that I would eat a lot. I mean…. the food here is great, unhealthy, but great. When you live here for a while you forget how crazy it is to eat a deep fried empanada with a Malta (this cannot be explained use Google) for breakfast. It is simply impossible not to love it (except the Malta, that thing is still disturbing to me). Because of this I thought it was a good idea to join a gym avoiding becoming too chubby (and no, not eating empanada, arepas, pepitos was not an option). After some language trouble I had paid for my gym membership. I was really excited for my first time where I was going to work out with a trainer before going to a Salsa Casino class. All alone I went into the gym and immediately realized that this was going to be very different from the gym-culture at home.
The first thing I noticed was that everyone seemed to have spent the previous hour in front of the mirror or at the beauty salon. I am not only talking about the girls… When I go to the gym I take OFF the make up and put on some random workout clothes. In the Venezuelan gym this is not the case for sure. The guys all wore tight tank tops and used every spear moment flexing in the mirror or taking photos with their phone. The girls were also really into taking photos of their workout session. I guess it does not count if the rest of the world does not know you went to the gym.
Second… I have never seen so many fake boobs (and buts) at the same place before. Don’t get me wrong I am not judging, but it was like gravity did not exist. As I looked around I understood that I was the one who looked different with my makeup-free face, a sloppy t-shirt and some old tights. Most of the girls were wearing tiny shorts, a tight top or just the sports bra and then they had a huge belt thing in the middle that made their waist look non-excising. It looked really painful and maybe it has a purpose, but I had never seen something like that before.
Nevertheless, people were so friendly towards me (even with my lame outfit). While waiting for a machine to be free a girl talked to me, asked where I was from and as always they told me if I needed anything I should let her know. Again, making friends in Venezuela is so easy and I love it. Waiting for the Salsa Casino class to start I asked the instructor if the class was hard for someone who did not know how to dance salsa. The answer I got was: “no no no, muy facil”. That’s great, I thought, and was excited to learn some dancing (even though I looked like an hobo compared to the other girls in the class). When the class started (only 30 minutes late) I momentarily realized that “no no no muy facil” was a big fat lie. Oh how I laugh at the though of me trying to follow the dance steps in a crowd where everyone knew what they were doing. And to make this experience more embarrassing… the room did not have closed walls but rather glass walls so the entire gym could watch the dancing class.
Walking out of the gym all I could do was laugh about how misplaced I felt and that the gym thing might not be my thing over here. And so it was until a few weeks ago. I decided that I would give the workout culture here another try so I started outdoor crossfit. I am still not sure why I am doing this to my self because I am almost dying every time (and the coach is scary), but the culture in this group is more what I am used to at home. More people with what I consider “normal” workout clothes, without fake lashes and less posting on instagram.
In Norway I often get the feeling that people are looking at each other at the gym, judging what you do and how you look. In a group class in Norway you talk to your friends and not to the stranger next to you. In Venezuela people are not so serious, they are joking with each other during class and of course you can easily make some new friends if you want. From the first time I went to class people were so welcoming that some days I feel like going there just because of the nice people. The only thing that is a mystery to me is why I am the only one looking like a lobster after class… maybe Venezuelans are just created beautiful no matter what they do 😉