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Friday, February 10, 2006

Georgian gyms: Hulkster, hydration not welcome

My friend Mark has been working out at a hardcore weightlifting joint here in Tbilisi, Georgia. It's some guy's basement where they have weights and charge you five bucks a month to use them. All of the other guys are serious bodybuilders, the kind with a rippling six-pack on their neck. For inspiration, there is a big poster on the wall of the Ultimate Warrior, circa 1989.

Meanwhile, my girlfriend Kate has joined a modern gym, where Georgian women take grueling 5-minute strolls on the treadmill, as if enjoying the first day of spring on the arm of a lover. On her first day, when she got thirsty, she headed over to the food counter, where a helpful woman gestured to their four offerings: soda, alcohol, khachapuri (greasy cheesebread), and cake. They do not, she apologized, carry water.

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