Welcome to my blog which focuses on my life in Taiwan.
(Photo: Cheng Ching Lake (澄清湖), Kaohsiung)
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Spot the Difference
Can you notice any differences between these two swimsuits?
See if you can spot the difference(s) between these two swimsuits, and think before you read on. Well, the colors are different. However, that is all that is different. I bought these two swimsuits on the same day in the middle of May for the same price at the same store and they were both exactly the same size. So why is one pair bigger than the other, and significantly bigger?
As with anything I buy new, I tend to put it in a drawer and continue to use something old first. I don't recall using the blue/black swimsuit until at least the beginning of June. That means I have used it at the most two months, and that would mean about 200,000 meters of swimming at the most. But this blue/black pair is completely shot, and I feel if anything a little betrayed.
When I bought the trunks, I thought that I would do TYR a favor by buying their product since most of the elite swimmers have switched to the Speedo LZR. When I read the labels that came with the garment, I noted how they claimed that the material helped the water flow by smoothly, somewhat like water off a duck's back. That might have been the case the first day I used them, but certainly after a couple of weeks, they were no better than any of the other old pairs that I had been wearing.
I notice nowadays that a brand name does not mean a lot. For instance, a company like Nikon will make a whole range of cameras from something that gets really bad reviews to something else that is at the top of the line. When I grew up, a Rolls Royce was a Rolls Royce and there was no cheap model for sale at Wal-Mart. One of the reasons I hesitated about buying a Speedo, was that for a long time swimming garments with the Speedo logo were frequently sold in bargain discount stores in Taiwan. Maybe they were fake, I don't know. In any case, I had the impression they were cheap and of poor quality. The problem nowadays is that one might end up buying something high-priced because it has a fancy name, only to find out within a week that it has stretched to three times the size. I think I need to learn how to feel material in a store and to tell from touch what will actually last and what won't. To get value for money I have a 10:1 rule: 10 kilometers of swimming for US$1 of expenditure on swimsuits. Maybe I will need to buy the bare minimum to keep costs down. I certainly don't intend to pay $65 for something with my own design on it. If I buy one of those, I will need to swim 650 kilometers, which at the current rate would mean it would have to last at least six months. I doubt if it would last that long.
As I continue to soldier on with my swimming (I have now been at this lark for a little over four months now), I managed to swim a total of 4,000 meters yesterday (Tuesday) and 4,650 meters today (Wednesday). I included about 1,500 of broken sets (meaning with some rest in between different shortish swims). On Tuesday I felt fairly tired, in spite of having Monday off (maybe too busy working or whatever), but today I felt a little better. In the 200m race at the end of the workout on Tuesday I went 3m 16s, but I went 3m 10s for that same distance in a race shortly before getting out of the water today. I might add today I wore a different (old) swimsuit. I think it helped me feel better able to rotate my hips. So today's time was two seconds faster than my previous best. I want to break 3 mins on this distance, and I guess it will happen bit by bit. No time to try to give up now.
I was born and grew up in the south-east of England, and as a child was a keen golfer. During my first year at university as an economics student, I became very drawn to Asian students and their respective countries. This led to further studies in the economics of developing countries and later the study of the Chinese language in Taiwan. In 1985 I married Hsiu-chin, and while we made Taiwan our home, we also lived for several years in Hawaii. It was there that I took up triathlon, completed the Hawaii Ironman in 2004 and took part in many smaller races. While I have gained much experience as a translator of Chinese, over the years I have developed a passion for other East Asian languages and cultures, including, but not limited to, Thai and Japanese, as well as other Chinese dialects. We currently reside in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, where I continue with language learning and triathlon training.