I packed up all of my workout gear–both gym clothes and swimming gear–and set off to use my new health club membership for the first time. My new workout venue is the Hangzhou Oakwook Health Club located in the Oakwood Residence, which is two towers of upscale condos with a Mercedes Benz dealership next door. Anyone who lives in Oakwood Residence is certainly beyond my economic class. However, health club membership is not restricted to residents. I chose this place (after searching for a suitable workout center for most of a month) because of its 25-meter Olympic-length swimming pool. I desperately wanted to keep up with my swimming. The health club also has an adequate, not large, workout room, which includes treadmills, elliptical trainers, stair step machine, weight lifting machines of various types, and free weights.
I had planned to swim, then do a gym workout–some treadmill work and resistance training. That was the plan. I have been away from any exercise for about a month, so by the time I had finished walking briskly for 25 minutes to the gym and swimming 800 meters in the pool, I had had as much as I could take in my effort to restart my exercise plan. It was a good start. I called it quits.
One of the other benefits of this location is the Starbucks coffee shop with street level access located in the same building. Coffee–real coffee–is not easy to come by in Hangzhou, so having this little perk right under my nose is a real plus. When I took the membership, I did so holding the thought that, when I had finished a workout, I would stop at Starbucks for a coffee and then sip it on a leisurely walk back to the apartment. That was the plan.
I stepped into the Starbucks after my first workout and, noticing a line at the cash register (the place always seems full–I think it’s trendy for a certain element of the local population), decided to peruse the items for sale–coffee cups and such. I want a souvenir Chinese Starbucks coffee cup. Taking from the top shelf what appeared to be a large cup, I tipped it upside down to peer inside, and immediately emptied onto the floor the tea filter that was inside; it was a tea pot, not a coffee cup. The tea filter broke, of course.
Within moments, a very managerial-looking young Chinese woman, complete with glasses and notebook, was standing beside me. I showed her the broken item and asked, “How Much?”
“One hundred fifty,” she said. That’s almost $24. She asked me to get into the cash register line.
So when I got to the cashier I also ordered a coffee. I always ask for a large in Starbucks, which is always the smallest coffee. I get so confused about their sizes–Veni, Vidi, Vici (or was that Julius Caesar). Anyway, the managerial-looking young Chinese woman, complete with glasses and notebook, made a comment or two to the cashier. I ended up paying 82 yuan for my coffee, about $13. The cashier started to bag the teapot, but I indicated that I didn’t want it. Kind of a bummer. But the coffee tasted good and lasted the entire walk back to the apartment.
As things go in life, it is a small matter. But I look forward to stepping into a Caribou coffee house again.