|Afternoon at 96 Penang Gym|
Here's what training looks like at 96 Penang for me; I'm currently the only foreigner here. I leave the hotel at 3pm and walk the 2km to the gym, stopping at Tesco to pick up a 2 liter water for 12 baht (37 cents). I get to the gym about 3:30 and begin skipping rope. The Thais get back from their run about this time too and we all skip for 15-20 minutes. Then it's in to the ring for clinching, at which point I become the last kid picked on the playground. I can hear the Thais using the word for foreigner, and know they are all trying to avoid being the one who ends up clinching with me. This is because I (like a lot of foreigners) suck at the clinch, and clinching with me does nothing to help them get better. After 15-20 minutes of clinch work I get called out of the ring for shadowboxing. I'll shadow box for another 15-20 minutes while one of the trainers watches over me to correct anything I'm doing wrong, which is usually everything. Then it's on to pad rounds. I do 3-5 x 4 minute rounds on pads with either Kraisuvit, who is very playful and fun with his padwork, or Sricoon who is very technical and always correcting me. After padwork I hop on a bag to work on everything I just learned for 3-5 rounds. Finally i finish out with 200 skipping knees on the bag and then teep an old utility pole 100 times. Then it's time to walk the 2km back to my hotel, sometimes stopping to buy post workout fruit from a street vendor.
I also did some research and found that the Lumphini park area is actually a little hotspot for Isan food. The only drawback is that the street isan food is on the exact opposite corner of the park from where I'm at making it a longer post-training walk than I'd care for (I'm being cheap and avoiding taxis). But there are two Isan restaurants closer, and I decided to try Northeast restaurant tonight. I ordered som tum (green papaya salad), deep fried pork neck, and of course sticky rice. Well after I order the waiter who doesn't speak much English comes back and says "mai mi khoa niao". Hearing the word mai I knew that he was trying to tell me they were out of sticky rice. How does that happen in Thailand? I'm pretty sure that even with my limited Thai I could get a 10lb bag of it delivered via motorbike taxi within 10 minutes. Perhaps they just forgot to soak it. Disappointing, as I had to eat the far inferior regular kind of rice. On the bright side, if there is anything better than grilled pork neck, it is most certainly deep fried pork neck.