When David had suggested a walk up to The Peak I had leapt at the idea as I had never made it up there on my previous visit to Hong Kong. What I had failed to grasp was that The Peak was called 'The Peak' because it is 'the top of something', and being 'the top of something' this would involve enduring one of my least favourite things in the world - walking uphill. I suppose I had envisaged a gentle road winding its way to the top and David said nothing to suggest otherwise - I was misled.
The one redeeming factor was that the weather was cool. Having said that I had broken into a sweat after the first set of steps before we had even reached the road leading to the trail to take us to The Peak. Being alone for the past couple of months David has had plenty of time to fill and has clearly kept himself occupied by hiking up the many hills of Hong Kong. So while he pounded up the steep path with relative ease, I plodded behind trying not to listen to my breathing getting heavier and heavier. Feeling plump and self-conscious I attempted to gulp for air quietly as a steady stream of fitness fanatics jogged smugly past my lumbering carcass. And I kept my head bowed, hiding the salty sweat streaming down my face, as the slender Asian's snaked back down the trail without so much as a bead of sweat between them.
To add to the humiliation I had David jogging on the spot beside me and 'cattle-prodding' me up the hill, as I heaved myself up the slope. Every now and then I would stop to point out that the wooden signposts indicated that we were still too many thousands of metres from the top. And just as I was on the verge of physically abusing my husband for making me endure this torture, the path evened out and we were walking along a flat road and the high-pitched wail of Chinese music could be heard drifting along from The Peak.
As the pheromones engulfed me and I could breathe normally again, I forgot about the hell of scaling The Peak and was overcome by a satisfying sense of achievement. I rewarded myself with some fish shao mai from Seven Eleven.
I've decided that walking up steep hills must be a bit like child birth because when David leapt out of bed the following morning and suggested that we walk to Pinewood Battery - I happily agreed. Thirty minutes later as I was scaling endless flights of stone steps, my thighs were burning and sweat had plastered my hair to my head, I wondered how I could have possibly forgotten how excruciating this uphill exercise is. However the thought of the fat melting from my elephantine thighs and my bum becoming pert kept me going, and once again I was rewarded with an overwhelming semblance of accomplishment.
So today, as David set-off for work, I put on my gym kit for the third day in a row and headed for the trail to The Peak. For the moment, while I am in temporary early retirement and have no excuses, I intend to do exercise every day - so while it is cool and the humidity is low, I plan to trudge up the trail to The Peak every day. And I hope that each day it will become a little easier and each day my thighs will get a bit slimmer.