The evening muezzin is calling for prayer over Old Sanaa, dogs are barking, kids are playing football on the street below my window, I can see straight in to the backyard of a neighbor, a covered woman washing clothes, cars are giving noise a new dimension and motorbikes seems to try to set world records in highest speed in most crowded environment. I am sitting in the dark, another electricity brake is hounding the city and I am eating laban, a kind of a salty, thin youghurt with a taste of smoked milk. It is one way to add protein to the body. But building muscle and power in Sanaa is no easy thing, basically due to that it is hard to find enough protein. I eat a lot of eggs, youghurt, milk, but it ain´t enough. I have in a mere three weeks lost so much power and at the gym today I had to fight with ridiculous weights. So I am not surprised that all the young men who train there don´t have neither muscle or strength. It isn´t easy in an adventurous city like Sanaa!
Just walking to the gym is kind of an adventure, mainly due to the traffic which is really a world of its own, but it is good for training as well, since you spend most of the time dodging buses and avoiding to get run over by a speeding motorbike occupied by at least three young men. But you also pass through some spectacular souks full of life and when you eventually arrive at the gym, having stopped, conversed in poor Arabic a few times, one is really tired….
No women are allowed to train in the gym, only men dressed from toe to top. Most of them have no idea how to train and it makes me distressed to see them doing it all wrong. Too heavy weights and using the wrong muscles. It will take a life time, if ever, for most of them even getting close to the body builders, who´s posters dot the walls in the gym. The favorite is a Facebook friend of mine, The Lebanese Lion, Samir Bannout. The gym in itself is ok, barbells and dumbbells which is fine, but a bit disorganized. But, full of extremely friendly Yemenis which at times are so friendly I don´t even get a chance to do my reps properly.
I train for an hour and than I slowly cruise back home through the souk and once back home in my room, I am more tired than ever. Not through the traing session, but through the enormous input of fantastic images gathered in my head going back and forth to the gym!
To find out more, why a train in gyms in preparation for the Big Expedition, see http://preparingforthenextexpedition
Next Expedition, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3GI-YeZP5E