Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Rainy Season
The weather has been hot for the past few weeks, slowly building in intensity as the clouds gather and one knows that the rainy season is due to start soon. Can’t start soon enough for me. I love the beginning of the rainy season, washing away the accumulated dust from the months of dry, everything goes green and the garden resorts to its full lush beauty. Having recently discovered that I am enjoying having a garden, I’m looking forward to hitting the plant nurseries dotted about Surabaya and buying up whatever I can find that looks good. Don’t ask me what they are called, suffice to call one “that plant with the big leaves”, or “the green thing” coupled with exemplary descriptive words (and I’m an English teacher) such as “cute”, “pretty”, “big” etc. There is one street not far from me, where the nurseries reside along a major road, the plants competing with the dust and exhaust fumes on a daily basis. One wonders how they survive, yet flourish they do.

The plethora of plant life here is extraordinary; one can buy just about anything from exotic blooms to orchids to a thousand different types of ferns etc. It’s a gardener’s paradise, yet the sad thing is that you don’t see many householders out enjoying their gardens. The neighbours across the street used to look at me quite strangely every afternoon when I went out to water the garden or pull a few weeds (at least I hope they were weeds). Seems the garden is the province of the maids to look after, the family residing in the house only takes pleasure in that it looks good. I have never seen anyone in my street sitting out on the lawn, pottering about or just playing. This just doesn’t happen. I guess we are the first to break with the streets tradition in that we are always out front, kids running about, us reading books, having a coffee or sundowner etc. Indonesian families live indoors, making little use of their gardens. However, they do come out at dusk for a stroll, along the street, kids will come out to play, on the street, (as do ours when there are other kids out there) and maids will gather in small groups, on the street, to keep a watchful eye on the little ones and have a relaxed chat about their day. What do they talk about? Is it politics, gossip, life in general? I have no idea but they seem happy.

All activity takes place on the street; I think it has something to do with wanting to see what other people are doing. Or it could be the same thing as going to the mall. You go to look at the shops, to watch what others are doing, not necessarily to buy. As they walk past, parents will look into each garden, conversing in low tones, but will give you a smile if you catch their eye. You wonder what they say to each other, and it does make you feel somewhat self conscious about the state of the garden, the paint job, the car in the driveway, how you are dressed and so on. Or, as they pass are they not really commenting on anything they are seeing but looking for the pleasure of looking at something different than the four walls of their own houses? The mall culture seems alive and well in middle suburbia.

Once the rainy season really gets going, you can almost set your watch by it. Every afternoon the downpour begins around 3pm, coming down in huge sheets of water that engulf the drains and rise rapidly to encroach on low lying streets. By 4pm the roads are flooded and cars are sending great planes of water from either side, drenching any poor sod who happens to be coming along on his m’bike. We did wonder when we first arrived why almost everyone had a Kijang, Panther and so on. When the first rains hit, all became clear. Living in Surabaya requires a high car to get through the flooding; otherwise you just don’t go anywhere. I have sat in motionless traffic for up to two hours during a storm as sedans come to a standstill, not willing to test the depth of the water raging across the street. It’s an exercise in patience, you kick back and relax, nod to the people in the car beside you, comment to the driver on whatever you see that looks interesting, watch the m’bikes parked under trees as their owners huddle under makeshift plastic ponchos, or if you are lucky, read a book you may have brought along.

If you are lucky enough to be at the front of the flooded road, its not so much an exercise in patience as it is in testing ones bravery. You look at the mad rush of water running across the street and discuss with the driver just how deep you reckon it is. It’s a risk to venture through it; you just never know what depth you might hit. There maybe a pothole that has sunk the road further or the height of the curb can’t be seen so you try to work out how high the water is, and then act accordingly. In my trusty 1997 hi-sporty Panther, thinking that it’s high enough to get through a couple of feet, I usually risk it and head out into the unknown depths. Haven’t stalled yet but there will come a time I know. A friend of mine was driving to Tanjung Lesung last rainy season in a Daihatsu Zebra, and came across what he thought was fairly shallow water. Once in, the engine died and it took ten people to push him out to the other side. He told me later that it was just deeper than he had thought and it was only when the water started to run through the doors that he realised he was in trouble. Poor fella!

The best part of the rainy season is the general state of cleanliness that occurs due to the water washing everything down. Dust is sent packing, dirt swirled away, rubbish and leaves swept into neat piles. The city and surrounds takes on a fresh look, the air is cleaner, and the patter of rain at night sends you soothingly into a good sleep.

Roll on rainy season.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Looking at jakartass.blogspot I see I got a mention! This is one blog I have always admired (see link on left), mostly for the dedication to his writing and the variety of information/observations he makes.

He is right when he says that as short termers (we have only been here three years), life is different from those who see Indonesia as a long term place, a country which for better or worse is now called home. I’m lucky in that since I speak Indonesian fairly fluently, it is easier for me to live here than those who don't. Couple that with my childhood experience of living in Jakarta in the 70’s, and I don’t feel as alienated as others might. However, I would never and could never see myself as being a true part of Indonesia. I have my own values, traditions and instincts that at times clash with those found here. Further, being not married to an Indonesian excludes me from experiencing what could be considered to be the true Indonesia. I live separately from those I work with, and I wouldn’t want to live as they do. I am happy with my lifestyle here, where one can observe and experience Indonesia without having to immerse myself fully in its culture. Some of the experiences are on my terms, yet most are on others terms, an aspect one has to accept if one is live in a foreign country. The question is, can you live with the differences and accept (and this does not mean ‘tolerate’, which has connotations of superiority and as such, I find distasteful) them without, in the end, losing that glow of the 'newness' jakartass mentions.

I have friends from Australia etc, married to Indonesians, who live here happily and with little complaint. They have adapted to the lifestyle, live on the most part simpler lives than the corporate expats (those who live in huge houses with huge salaries), and are keenly involved in their communities. One guy I know lives in the middle of a kampung and says he wouldn’t have it any other way. The ebb and flow of village life, the goodwill extended to those who live amongst them, is something that we as expats living in our gated communities will never experience.

One group of expat guys I used to hang out with in Jakarta had all converted to Islam (wives all Muslim) and seemed quietly happy with their lot in life. They pray at their local mosques on a Friday, have bbq’s on a Saturday and would quietly disappear for a while at prayer time, to come back and rejoin the group with no mention of what they had just done. For them, prayer and life are intertwined, in that they still enjoy the usual practices of an expat life such as getting together for a dinner, game of pool etc but can also find the space and time to renew their own sense of spirituality. While I am not into religion (lapsed catholic-sorry Mum), I admire these guys for the sense of place they have, for having it all worked out even though they are foreigners in what can be a strange yet wonderful land.

Another friend of ours is an American woman, Margaret Alibasah, who ventured out here in the 60’s, met an Indonesian (Pak Ali Alibasah-deceased yet never forgotten for his generosity, humour and love of life), married and has lived here ever since. An English teacher, academic and translator (most well known for her collection of stories on “Kancil”) Margaret is getting frail now, yet takes an enormous interest in Indonesia from both a social humanitarian and political perspective. A friend of my parents from when we lived in Jakarta in the 70’s, we still keep in contact. Her courage and dedication to a country she calls home, to live through all of the agonies and pains Indonesia has experienced over the past 30 odd years, is extraordinary. Her children are successful high achievers and inherently Indonesian, yet international in their outlook. Some live overseas, some here, but Margaret is still quietly residing in the same house from the 60’s. As a child, my family and I would go visit, and she and her husband would make us feel part of Indonesia. The dishes of food would come out, keroncong music in the background, the smell of kretek wafting through the air, my father involved in long discussions with Pak Ali, my mother with Margaret, and the children all ran about under the watchful eyes of the maids, all this served to create a sense of belonging. I haven’t met many like Margaret, and probably won’t in the remaining time I have here, but if there is one person who can quietly observe that they are part of Indonesia, it is she.

A few years ago, I returned for the first time to Indonesia with my wife to be, for a nostalgic trip through Java and Bali. We arrived in Jakarta and lobbed into jalan jaksa, the backpackers street with small hotels dotted about. I had a bout of belly, and so we had to cancel visiting the Alibasahs who we had promised to go visit that day. Two hours later there was a knock on our door. They had come to jalan jaksa and gone to every single hotel along the street looking for us, concerned when we had called to say we could not come. Obviously we hadn’t expected this, yet for them it was the right thing to do; it was an invaluable lesson on the strength of Indonesian friendship. For the rest of us, that is, the expats not married into life here, we can only experience the edges of life here, never fully understanding what it is to be an Indonesian.

We have other friends; expats newly arrived from Australia and New Zealand for whom Indonesia is a large and almost perplexing country. They arrive full of wonder and hope of a new life, settle in, make mistakes culturally and otherwise and yet face each day with an optimism born of a sense of adventure. The weeks slowly pass, and as they go through the settling in process life gets a bit easier and you see them start to take stock of their lives and lifestyle. Some retreat into a world of us and them, some tentatively venture out and test the waters here and there, and some throw themselves whole heartedly into experiencing all that Indonesia has to offer. For all of them, life here is full of highs and lows, frustrations and joys, and one has to admire them for what they are doing. For each and every one of them, they took the chance, and chose to live here and they are all making a go of it in their own ways. Sure, we can criticize them for taking on aspects of post colonial attitudes, or, alternatively, congratulate them for seeking what lies beneath the surface and adapting to the flow of life here. In the end, one can only hope that when they leave they take something with them, something valuable, possibly indefinable, but linked in one way or another with the finer attributes of Indonesian thinking or culture.

Last night I was at a gathering and some of the expats were complaining of the mosques that have been going almost non stop for the last few weeks due to Ramadan. I can understand where they are coming from but can’t accept it. I figure that if you live here you have to go along with what goes on around you. Yes, they can be noisy and, yes, it can be a bit hard at 3 in the morning to find yourself awake listening to a long and mostly incomprehensible sermon delivered through loudspeakers seemingly aimed at your bedroom window, but then, this is Indonesia. You take what you can get from it, hopefully return something in kind, and enjoy the differences. I mentioned some time ago in another post the beauty of a late afternoon. The day slowly receding into a gorgeous sunset, my wife joining me for a coffee in the front garden as we watch our own and neighbours children play in the street, the warmth of the day retreating to be replaced by a welcome coolness, the local mosque calling it followers to prayer in an ancient melodic language that reminds one very strongly of where you are, it all brings about a certain state of mind. A sense of peace yet reminding you that you are not at home, and thus, you are experiencing something strange and different, something foreign yet familiar.

Indonesia is a place that gets under your skin, slowly soaking through your pores until it comes as almost no surprise when you wake up one morning and realise that if one had to go home tomorrow, one would miss it. Deeply.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Photography Sites

It's pretty amazing what you can find out there by just clicking through a few sites. I have been enjoying looking at various photographer sites which, at times, have some great pictures worthy of contemplation and/or enjoyment.

This one is a list of photo blogs where you can roam to your hearts content.

Some nice pics by a guy called Imran

Magazine and arthouse pics by David LaChapelle

Unusual and lovely black and whites by J.John Priola

A photo journalist (Patrick Andrade) with a good selection of those moments that have transfixed the world. The sept.11 pics are worth looking at as are the various galleries on Iraq.

Fashion and Art photography, some might not be SFW but quality pics all the same.

Excellent B&W (and colour) pics by Thierry Le Goues

Portrait photography, a lot of Indian/Asian subjects, each face tells a story.

Some lovely work by a professional couple, David and Libby Nightingale.

Another photojourno, German, looking at Iraq, Indonesia etc. Excellent Indonesian Tsunami pics while terrible in what they depict, create a poignancy all of their own.

Hope you find something you enjoy!


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Last ones for now...

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More animals we have encountered

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Animals we have encountered...

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Lil C's first sports day

Lil D decides to come along and cheer her on...

Lil D discovers the joy of wearing a bucket..reminds me of an episode from the Goon show ...

Lil C posing...


Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Lil ones...

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The Club: our haven on the weekends.

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Sunrise In Kintamani, Bali.

Another sunrise shot.

The view from the summit of Mt.Batur, Bali.Helluva climb but breathtaking views.

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The front garden today.

Lil C and Lil D chilling out... Lil D at music appreciation group..he loves to sing!

Picasa and blogging.

Just noticed for the first time that I can send pictures through Picasa directly to my blog. Was trying to figure out how to upload them, looks like this is the answer!

If you click on the picture you get a bigger picture and the load size is not too big either.

Pics of the garden before lawn was recontoured and relaid ...

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

More Sites

While I'm in the mood for posting links, let's take a wander though a number of sites collected over the past while.

The camera I would love to own: Canon Rebel XT

An excellent photo organiser from Google,
Picasa is free. This great little program lets you organise your photos, fix them, and email them instantly which automatically downsizes them for ease of transmission.

A great car CD player. After some research, I settled for this CD Player We have been very impressed with it. Great sound and cool styling.

You want to get an Ipod? Or a laptop? This site has everything. You usually have to buy in bulk, but the prices are much less than in the shops. So the idea would be to get some friends together, decide on a product, then go looking for it: Alibaba

Like Indonesian food? Check out this blog
Indo recipes , has a large number of 'em, and very good at that. There is also this site, a favourite of mine. Recipes are in Indonesian and English. One more, all in Indonesian, but excellent recipes!

Curious as to what cars cost in Indonesia? This site sells both new and used. Cars are expensive here, and this site gives you a good idea as to just what is available and for what price.

If you wander the net like me, there are times when you come across a webpage and have no idea what its about. Luckily, Altavista has a great spot where you can insert text and ask for a translation.

This is an interesting site. You meet people through the net and give them a room. In return, you get a room in other places when you travel. All free and for those who are adventurous at heart.
CouchSurfing.com "helps you make connections worldwide. You can use the network to meet people ... When you surf a couch, you are a guest at someone's house. They will provide you with some sort of accommodation, a penthouse apartment or maybe a back yard to pitch your tent in".

A pretty good online radio station

For those who are able to download lots of music etc, then this is the site for you. It's filesharing, and a good one. If you have a good connection, then it's invaluable. The fastest download speed I can get is around 45kbps, so I usually don't bother unless there is some track I'm looking for.

Ever heard of retro running? It's the art of running backwards. has a growing number of disciples, including me. Near the end of a session on the x-trainer, I do 500 mtrs or so backwards. Excellent for a variety of reasons, I'll let the site explain why.

Kids are calling so have to run. Hope you find something useful on one of these sites!

Photographic Sites

I've been wandering round the net lately, and have these to share.

This one consists of the most amazing portrait photos, seems to be from Israel, check it out, you won't be disappointed: Portrait Photos

This a huge collection of photos on Indonesia covering all sorts of topics and ideas: Indonesia Pics

For those interested in the Vietnam war, this is an unusual but rewarding site, showing the human face of a conflict so much has been written about yet little understood: Vietnam

This a large number of albums from a couple who have travelled all over, some interesting photo's here, and yet the couple concerned give no information about themselves, which makes this even more interesting as you wander through their archives: Big Trip

Speaking of travel, this is a collection of "travel related ephemera" from the 1920's and 30's:

Still on travel, this is the work of a UK based freelance photographer, some stunning pictures. Check out India, one of my favourites: World Photo's


Friday, October 13, 2006

The Family

Been busy at work these past couple of weeks but all is well. Lil D is just so typical of a little boy, is getting into trouble everywhere, climbs, jumps and constantly has me in fear for his limbs and life. He is such a daredevil, and thinks everything is hugely funny. His newest question is “Why?” and we have to explain everything to him. If he doesn’t understand, and this is most times, we get the why again and have to try and figure out how to explain it all over again! He loves his games, follows Lil C everywhere, tries to do everything she does, and then some, and chatters away all the time. His language is still a bit difficult to understand but Lil C is good at explaining what he wants so she makes a good interpreter! He is extremely active but also enjoys sitting down and watching pooh bear videos with Lil C. His tooth seems to be okay, has dropped back down quite a bit but most probably is dead tho we just have to wait and see what happens. His forehead scar is barely noticeable and so we are very relieved. We try to make sure they get a lot of play outside and mixing with other kids. Lil D goes to music appreciation on Friday mornings and playgroup on Wednesdays.

Lil C is as active as ever and is really enjoying school. I go look for her at times when I can during her lunch break and usually find her with Lil J, the Australian teacher’s child who is in her class running around full tilt. She does swimming lessons on Saturdays, touch football on Friday and tennis lesson on Tuesday! This keeps her busy! Her career options are opening up and she now wants to be a rock star, lord knows where that came from but she is really into it, dancing around miming songs and pretending she is playing an electric guitar. She has already extracted a promise that she will get an electric guitar for her twelfth birthday, and next year will get an acoustic one to practise on. Next Friday all the kids in her class have to dress up as their careers so she is going as a rock star. We got a note from the teacher today stating that the kids were all putting on a show and in Lil C’s writing she has listed what she needs for hers, to wit, a microphone, a guitar, music and “cool” clothes.

All is good tho it’s getting hot, the rains will start soon and you can feel the buildup in the air, it’s muggy which can be tiring. We are all coming down with flu’s and bugs etc, which is another indication of the changing weather. Hopefully the rains will start soon. C has been unwell this week but is okay. She is enjoying her Monday morning tennis with the other ladies and her tennis lessons. She is still doing yoga and does the run most Wednesdays, tho is now doing the adult touch footy every fortnight. She is also working a bit now, doing around 6 hours a week, 2 hours a pop, and seems to enjoy it. She is now busily preparing for an expats kids Halloween party going to be held in someone’s complex where houses have been forewarned! C is in charge of the games so has been doing quite a bit of research on the net. Tonight she was making three jack o lanterns to be filled with sweets etc by covering balloons with strips of paper soaked in water and flour. C is also involved now in EWAS as secretary, they asked her to stand as president but she declined, as it would have meant quite a bit of work and she is already involved in the tulip foundation, a charity run by expats to help village kids born with cleft palates. They have been doing quite a bit of fundraising recently; it’s a worthy cause as the kids are ostracized until corrective surgery is done.

Last Saturday, J, an 8 year old from the family four doors down had a b’day party so they had it at the complex pool. There were about 20 kids, mostly Indonesian, all splashing about and having fun. C helped organise the games and they loved pass the parcel! An early night as we were tired after a long day with C at yoga in the morning followed by Lil C’s swimming lesson then shopping for J’s present. On Sunday we went to a friends house for a BBQ and had a lovely time, they have a pool and the kids all swam and had great fun. The adults sat around, chatted and it felt like we were back in aussie again. Went home after six as the kids were getting tired, and had an early night.

One more week then its Idul Fitri where we all get ten days off to relax. Most people go home to the countryside to see family etc, and you give the maids a months salary as a bonus for working, except if they have only worked for six months or less then it’s half a month’s salary. So P got a full month but S the driver and A the cook got half months. They were all pleased with their bonuses! P doesn’t want to go home this year so she is just going to take a couple of days off but instead will get new years off this year as she wants to get together with friends. The driver and cook both get four days off as they are only going a short distance, and they seem quite happy with that. The city will empty for the week and most businesses will close, including restaurants etc. it will be very empty on the streets tho this won’t bother us as we are just going to use the club and enjoy.

We still haven’t decided what to do about Xmas, we did email P and C and asked them if they wanted to come to Bali and meet us there but they are undecided at this stage. They asked us to go to Darwin but flight costs are a bit much so we thought see what happens. Bali does look good, a week or two relaxing about while P chases after the kids and sipping mocktails as the sun goes down.

Well, that’s all the news. I hope this finds you all well and in good spirits.


3rd World Culture Kids

Tomorrow night we are going to a going away party for a family who has been here seven years! They are going home to Denmark as they feel its time to bring the kids back. It will be held at another friend’s house. Seems a few are thinking of tis, when is the right time to go back home, but one long term expat told me that the idea of going back to the mundane suburban life is not palatable at this stage. Where else, he asked me, can I get the sort of wage I’m getting, the driver, cook, maid, nanny etc. The longer you stay here (he has been here 8 years with now four kids all born here) the more you get used to the lifestyle. He does work long hours but the payoff is a good lifestyle. So, for us, the question has popped up a few times.

Lil C asked me awhile back when we would be returning to Australia. She has never stayed in one place long enough to really call it home, one year in Perth, 2.5 years in Kalgoorlie, 2 years in Jakarta and now just over a year here in Surabaya. She seems to cope very well with it all but we recognize that sooner or later she will want to develop longer lasting friendships and that’s when we will have to make the move back. Must admit; hope this doesn’t happen for a time yet. I still want to try life in other countries first. There is quite a bit of work being written on third world culture kids, i.e kids who have no real home yet exist across boundaries quite happily. Seems she might be falling into that category, just hope this won’t affect her too much during her teenage years. Being different from other kids can be quite traumatic as I found out after coming home from nearly 6 years overseas as a 13 year old and thrust into a mainstream all boy Australian school.

I’m going to have to look into this more closely soon and try to figure out just what the various experts are saying. One thing I don’t want is Lil C, who is quite a sensitive little soul, having to cope with rejection and ostracized for being “different”. There is an innocence that the kids develop here that you don’t see much of back home. They live in a protected bubble in some ways, yet they also see the worst that a third worlds society has to offer by just getting in the car and going to the city. Any question she asks is always answered carefully, and she has already been on school trips to a local school, villages and so on. She gets to see things kids her age back home could not even imagine; the poverty, the dearth of social support, and the sick and so on. Yet she seems to accept this as being part of Indonesia, and at no stage has she shown any signs of distress or revulsion. Instead, as she learns at school, she must exhibit understanding, compassion and all those other virtues that make up the International Baccalaureate learner profile. Thank god for the IB. If anything, it is this system of education which is her saving grace.

The Lawn

The front lawn is now looking fantastic, I water it every morning after I get up then again in the evening when home from work/gym. It was cut yesterday for the second time and is very smooth and healthy. I am really proud of it and most mornings find me watering and weeding as I go while having my coffee! I will post a picture of it soon. I have found that I really enjoy getting out there every evening to water and watch the sky gradually darken, lights come on and as dusk falls, the call of the local mosque. It’s peaceful. Sometimes the kids come out to join me and they both dodge and run around the hose, C will come out for a chat and it just seems like a really nice way to end the day.


My Students

My Australian curriculum class is nearly done, only one more week to go then they start sitting the various exams from Victoria. Hope they do well and I will be very sorry to see them go, as they are a great bunch of young adults. We are going to have their graduation on November 17 in a city hotel with a sit down meal etc. I had a long chat with one of my students, a girl, fro this class today. She was telling me about her father and how he wanted her to study in Surabaya and then join the family business. Refreshingly, and quite different from most Chinese-Indonesian girls her age, she refused and is set on going to Australia to do her degree. She told me quite emphatically that she doesn’t want to do a degree, then get married, have kids and join the coiffured women who swan about with kids and nannies in tow. I encouraged her to go to Perth, and she likes the idea, at the moment is thinking of either Murdoch or RMIT in Melbourne. It’s quite rare to meet a girl like her, mostly they just do what their parents want and bury their own individuality for sake of their extended families. She is different and I will look forward to hearing from her next year after she has settled into whatever uni she decides on.

The others are all heading off overseas, with most to Australia or America, tho one or two are contemplating Europe. All the students use agencies to organise their applications, and I asked them why not just contact the universities directly as most have whole departments set up to ease foreign fee paying students into their uni’s, but this is just not the way things are done here. One pays an agency to sort out the application, and all they have to do is point at which one they want. However, there are still nerves about the whole process, they are now asking lots of questions about life outside of Indonesia, and I know that more than one who has never had to lift a finger to do anything for themselves will find it difficult living in a country where maids and drivers don’t exist for uni students.



I am still going to the gym almost every day, and have ramped up the time spent on treadmill and x-trainer as well all the weights. At the moment I’m doing about 20-25 km’s a week across both machines and am now pushing weights of around 135 pounds and pulling 150 pounds. This is a big development on when I started three months ago. I started at around 60 pounds, so seems the workouts are having an effect! I’ve set myself a target of push 275 and pull 300 pounds, and know it will be a long time before I get there but it’s good to think that maybe one day I’ll achieve this. I figure at least another 12 months before I get close to being there.

I’ve lost quite a bit of weight (it was around 8 kgs but has now steadied as I put on mass), feel great, and enjoy the workout. Clothing is now a problem as I will have to get new trousers etc, the work clothes are belted in tightly just to stay up, satisfactory in principle, but doesn’t look all that good. Beer is out during the week but really don’t miss it, when I get home from the gym there is always a big jug of iced tea waiting for me and I find that far more enjoyable.

I have always practiced caution when doing weights, thinking better to take it slowly rather than rush and risk injury and this has paid off handsomely. I haven’t hurt myself yet and know when I have reached my limit, I won’t push it too far just in case (after all, I am nearing 41!), but the steady increase in weights is a great boost and rewards the hard work. I think I’m going to keep at it, I want to see just how far I can go; weight lifting really gets into your blood and each week you think, just a little bit more to see if I can do it. I find hip-hop music of all things is the best when doing weights, it sets the mood. Go figure.

Diet hasn’t changed at all, I love my food too much, but the routine seems to take that into account. Keeping a steady rhythm on both treadmill and x-trainer and setting a heart beat of around 123 seems to work for me. The advisable beat for one of my age and weight is 117 but I found that too slow, working up a sweat leaves you with a natural high. Always good after a long day at work.


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