I bit the bullet and joined a health club this week. There’s one across the street from my housing complex (upstairs from the Hypermarket), so it really couldn’t be more convenient. Really, it’s just a gym — a large room with treadmills, torture contraptions that supposedly sculpt muscles, and a room for aerobics.
Over the weekend, I was talking with a Chinese friend about my plans to join the club. She asked me if they were common in the States, and I told her they were, but were much more expensive than here. (I’m only paying about 10 bucks a month here). She told me that it was surprising to her that they would be common in the US. I asked her why. She said, "well, in America, the environment is so nice that I would think people would go outside and exercise and not need to go to a gym."
I told her that I (and other Americans) have a similar perception about China. When so many people walk more and use the biciycle as their primary mode of transportation, why would they pay to go inside and exercise?
It was an interesting reminder that pre-conceived notions go both ways!