A bizarre brush with Korea

The whole thing was so utterly ungainly.

There I sat, legs splayed and groaning in agony as the 19-year-old boy opposite me chuckled softly to himself.

Perhaps I should explain.

Today was only my second day on the Galapagos island of San Cristobal and already I appear to be a treasured member of the Tae Kwondo club.

I have no idea why this Korean martial art is the only organised sporting activity on an island of 8,000 people – but apparently it is.

Pippa and I, with Joss and Camilo in tow, wandered past the island’s only indoor sports’ hall on our way back from the beach that first afternoon.

We both have the same problem. We both love cake, coffee, sweets, treats and cocktails and had discussed the problem of weight gain in Ecuador.

And that was how we both ended up, legs akimbo, in front of a lithe young fighter with a sadistic grin on his face.

Good. Lord.

I’ve done some sport in my time.

For goodness sake, I’ve represented my country (if that counts) but this kid was pulling stretches I’ve never even seen.

When we arrived, we were assigned to Jonathan (and later another lad) to learn the moves.

We kicked and kicked, for about 45 minutes or so, until my legs were shaking and my new Blue Footed Booby t-shirt was soaked in sweat.

Then we were called into a circle.

“You do realise,” Pippa muttered breathlessly.

“That was only the warm up.”

And there the exhaustion continued.

I don’t even need to describe it.

I don’t need to bemoan the fact my Spanish is good enough to say “I’m not elegant” but totally fails at “I really can’t kick that high.”

I don’t need to describe how we jerked and flailed through another hour-and-a-half.

Nor do I need to describe our faces when one of our new ‘friends’ invited us to stay for the ab’ work out.

I wish I could tell you we walked home.

We didn’t. We crawled.

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