African honesty, about training in hot humid weather


It’s 5.30 and I hear something beeping. I hit snooze. It beeps again. It takes a bit of time before I realise it’s my alarm. And then I remember. I promised my friends to go with them to a training (with a personal trainer) on the beach. ‘I must be crazy’ I think, and yet at the same time I feel that I want to go, because this is about the only time in the day that I’m not starting to sweat after just lifting one finger. In the apartment next door, I hear an alarm too. (The nights are still super-hot here, so all windows are open). ‘Okay, my neighbour is getting out of bed too, my friends are going, I got this, I got this!’ I drag myself to the kitchen to pour myself a glass of water (still not used to not drinking from the tap) and try to find something to wear. While walking up and down I realise I feel hot already. And I definitely do not want to complain (why would I, living on an Island with clear blue waters and white sand beaches) but I am getting annoyed about the fact that I’m here more than fourteen days and still not adjusted to the heat. (I have never been really had patience with myself, although nowadays I’m doing amazingly well.) I take another sip of water and take a bite from an apple and look at my phone. I still have a little bit of time before I have to go. I sit down on my terrace as my neighbour leaves his house. I moved in three days ago. ‘Are you going for a train, Anna?’ ‘Yes,’ I reply. ‘Good,’ he responds, ‘training is good for you!’ A little voice in my head wonders what he actually wants to say with that. I’ve spent enough time on the island to know that Cape Verdians and other African people can be brutally honest. I decide to let it go. 


I walk to my friend’s house -who lives one-minute walking from mine- and five minutes after 6 AM we arrive at the beach. The sky is a mixture of pinks, blue and orange and I’m immediately happy about my decision to join. The trainer isn’t there yet. Time goes by and at almost quarter past six he arrives. It makes me think about the time I was two minutes too late for a class in Amsterdam. I was denied and the only training I did was walking back home through the pouring rain. In the days after this first training, I get used to this ‘no stress’ vibe, which is the most heard sentence on the Island to tourists anyway. And it’s true, because why would you stress out to be on time for a training, if you can join in five minutes later anyway? 


A couple of days later me and one friend were really late because this time I didn’t even put an alarm and woke up at 5.52. We were the latest to join even though we all joke about ‘the Cape Verdian ten minutes’ or the ‘Is it for today or will it be tomorrow.’ Apparently, the Cape Verdian vibe is contagious. 


Laughing about it during breakfast we discuss the training. Where we are not getting used to is the fact that our faces turn bright tomato red after a bit of exercising and that the other ladies do not have that problem. And the trainer looks like he finds it hilarious. Talking about it, my friend tells a story about the first time she attended a training from this personal trainer and he just pointed out: ‘You become very red, just like X!’ I get the giggles, because I realise, I look already like a tomato before I have lifted one weight. It makes me think again about my neighbour pointing out that training is good for me. Or was he just encouraging me? 


I tell the story to my friends and the one living here the longest starts to laugh as she remembers a story about another trainer who grabbed her by her arm,  squeezed and said: ‘THIS; this is fat. It needs to go.’ What a lovely start of a new habit. 


Want to read more about my training adventures? Next time I tell you about a puppy (and some other dogs) in the class. Sniffing in arm pits and being adorable. 


Monte Leão, Sal – Photo made by Hélio Gomes, Fu Art: link