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HONIARA - Swellness Center
Getting My Swell On!  Honiara  

Coming to work on the Tuna Boats you hear stories of Expat workers gaining 20-30 pounds while on their year contracts. Which I can see it happening while hustling around third world Islands, stopping at ports consuming 3000 calories of drinks with a constant fish and rice diet. Well for me, I am not going to be that guy!  "I must find a way to get my 'Swell on!" (Lift/work-out for all those non-meat heads out there).

So first thing I did was look at google for answers. The only thing that arrived in the search results was Trip Advisor with suggestions for hotels… "F%$&k"  This is just like Langkawi a tropical Island off of Malaysia that provides for a huge Saudi Arabian touristic escape… On Trip Advisor it has people asking the same question five years prior… "Is there a place to workout?"  Then someone associated with the nicest hotel responds and says yes go here and spend more money than it is worth… However there is a local gym! I know it! I found one in Langkawi for $.52 USD a day. There must be one this Island!  

On this developing island the internet is used for things like Facebook and wasting time. It is never used to find places or promote business, or rarely if that is the case. This is because it is an ISLAND and everyone knows everyone and everywhere!  But will they tell the Gringo where the gym is… is the question?

So asking all of the expats workers, no one knew anything. Most people spend the majority of their time in the company compound or out and about at Cowboys on Saturday night!   So after day three, I was getting worried with all of the fish and rice I was eating and feared that I would turn into a Butterbean.  Around this same time an opportunity arose to go see a hotel. Anthony, an Australian Pilot/Mechanic whom I befriended just got back to base after a hitch out at sea and he had a strong inclination to get a hotel and a good meal. I had 28 USD in my account at the time and was hopelessly waiting for my tax refund to come in because my first week's allowance was still four days away. So I helped Anthony all day with his 100 hour inspection of his D model 500 and explained my plight of finding a gym.

"Well Mate what hotel did you have in mind?"  I knew just the place! A place that some crazy Irishman had recommended to me. A place of a fond memory of the Tuna Helicopter Legend Moggy!  "Alright mate."   So we were off. This day happened to be that commercialized holiday of love. The annoying one with little cherubs running around naked shooting people with arrows! Yes, Valentine's day it was. I made sure my broke ass sent some nice memes to my Girl.
We sat down for a meal at the King Soloman Hotel and there is a table full of ladies gesturing to us. They started talking to us, they worked at the King Soloman Hotel. Aw yes, a chance to inquire about 'le gymnasium.' We befriended these ladies and they joined us for dinner. So I had inquired about the gym and whether or not we could use it when we're non-guests at the hotel. This young lady, said yes with a smile… 'But you have to be with an employee with a smile'   'Ok, cool, can I use your gym, I need to stay sexy for my GIRLFRIEND.'

Hotel Gym..

So the plan was set. I had a gym to go to!   This young lady was rather accommodating and being a good friend to let me get my swell on at the King Sols gym… Until, One day it seemed like a magical carrot was dangled when I would workout with this local young lady. There always seemed to be other guys in the gym at the same time. They would ask her questions etc. Which actually preferred so I could just workout -focus on a deep swell-. However, this was not the case, she seemed to keep conversing with me and these other visitors would seem to get irritated. After weeks three a change was sensed, as in, my spidy sense was tingling and unwanted drama was headed my way from this young lady. Which apparently she is very popular on the Island, as in, her family owns about three city blocks surrounding the most popular weekend spot on the Island.

Community Gym

A change, a place where I could get my swell on in peace and grunt like a man-bear-pig with other fellow brethren of the gym! I had heard from a local about the Metroplex center that was like a local multi-purpose gym that had weights. I had also heard about this same place from a rather large man that obviously worked out. He mentioned it when I ran into him on the street one day. The first time I met this guy at Cowboys he was trying to sell me his girlfriend. I managed to generously decline and be best of friends in passing.
He stated it was six Soloman dollars a day (.80 usd) at the Metroplex center, which is at the most traveled bus stop!   So I was going to head to this gym soon!

Change Needed


My female friend had motioned for me to come to the gym. So I went, and she was saying she was fat etc. etc. that she needed to workout! "Well, workout instead of talk!"  I was headed by bus to the King Sol with mi amigo. Jhezuz, a kid, a studying mechanic and a hell of a hard worker! I was hoping to have this amigo with me on my boat! Every batman needs a Robin, although this El Salvadorian would argue that the pilot is actually Robin because pilots fly like birds and Robins are a bird. A pretty valid argument.

Anyhow, Jhezus was awfully tired of eating food at the camp and wanted something different. So he was tagging along to get some food to "Polo Loco" an affordable version of fast food with Korean BBQ which is on the way to the King Sol. This particular night, it was closed for some odd reason, so I mentioned Indian food at the Taj Mahal which was just around the corner and even closer to the king Sol.  I text this to the hotel workout patron that I would be late because of the detour to Taj Mahal.

Two reasons Indian food sounded good. Reason one: I like spicy food and it is different from what we eat every day. Reason two: I do not care who you are: big, small, old, young, women, or man…Every human being needs a nice explosive cleansing of the bowel system from time to time. So Indian food for me, accomplishes both of these reasons.  As Jhezus and I are sitting down a man I had seen a man from the Hotel Gym enter. A little Fijian that was rather angry the last time I saw him in the gym, as he was not the center of attention benching 115 lb rep which I destroyed 235lbs while being annoyed by the girl he was begging for attention from. This man saw me at the restaurant, looked at me in anger and left… I thought well this is rather odd.  A restaurant that I have never been too and this guy walks in I thought was odd and he was in gym clothes.

I remembered a comment that I had said the previous gym session the night before. I was pushing out reps, sweating, and getting my swell on while my female friend was deeply explained her policy on dating. She explained she never dates guests at the hotel..etc..etc.  I stated without resolve "Oh good! I stayed here one night, so if my amazing girlfriend every leaves me. We cannot date!"  I did this to continue a distance. However, she stopped her happy chatting and here facial expression changed completely. The facial expression I knew, it looked a lot like the angry baby meme that is shown all over the inter-webs. Maybe I should not have said that…but hey, I had a few minutes of silence during the  workout.
Five minutes later two Marines walk in that I had met previously and the one was trying for the same young ladies attention as well. These guys were American Marines and men. So they nodded their heads towards me and sat. They were in Gym clothes, walking into a nice more formal Indian restaurant.  "hhhmmm that is odd?"  Then some random guy text my phone asking for Wasina. This was all odd and seemed like it would probably make trouble if I actually cared.  So I texted Wasina and said I had the exploding shits and could not come to the gym that evening… I shook the hands of the Marines and said "Brothas let us avoid drama" they laughed and agreed as yet another male walked in that I had seen at the King Sol.  So this was the last time I was going to work out at the King Sol. I just want to get my SWELL on, no drama!!!

The Local Swellness Center!


The very next day I changed my number to avoid random drama.  But I was in need of a sacred place of Swellness.  This morning I was tasked with a favor from my Australian friend to ship his things to Bisbane. So I was accommodated with Ben. A local, a man that I asked about the Metroplex center I had heard about from the guy that tried to pimp his wife to me. "There is a full gym, a good gym, two block from here in Renadi!"  Ben conveyed.  "What! No shit!? Lets go my friend!?
Ben is one of those guys that is unique, and you can tell he has a good soul about him. He is about 5ft 5in and has dreads tied in an upper poni-tail with an ear to ear beard with a rather stalky build and now my new best friend!  I like to think of him as an Island Ninja.
After work at about 5:30 Ben takes me down the back roads to place that is in the industrial area near our home base in Renadi. We get let into the gym. DEAR MOTHER OF GOD! "Bro they have a heavy bag, FREE weights, a bench press, squat rack, and pull up bars.  This is island swellness gold my friend!"  I felt like crying and hugging Ben!   First thing I did was punch the bag with some boxing skilz and immediately an Island Mayweather looking fellow says "Ooooh my friend you know how to box?"   "Yeah well I have dibbled and dabbled a little bit in the Martial Arts ;)"    "Teach us!" he asked.  

The gym manager shows up to this all exclusive and local gym. I politely shake his hand. A man named Steven that is definitely familiar with the art of getting one's 'Swell on.'   I proposition to ask how much per day. "My friend you be the coach for the boyz and no problem."  So there you have it. I finally found my gym and it is free for my instruction. I search for a gym I inadvertently became the boxing coach for the BEST boxing club in the Island of Honia

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