While in Vancouver, I of course had to make a pilgrimage to MEC, an equipment mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Shoppers at MEC looked as if they actually used the equipment they were purchasing; they looked fit and muscular. This is in sharp contrast to shoppers at the Nike store in Taipei, many of who look as if they more for form than for function. The last time I was in the Nike shop, I was amazed by a family who must have made close to US$500 in purchases, and who also looked like they rarely even took a walk around the block.
I got the same impressions when I went to the gym at Whistler. Again, those exercising were focused and buff. They weren't lackadasically stepping down on the cross-training machines as they gossiped, but rather getting their heart rates up to their targets, gosh darn it. I was in awe.
I'm not being entirely fair to the Taiwanese, though. At Ting San Iou (dong shan you), a popular outdoor gear store in Taipei, the clientele looks eager to take their gear out and actually use it. The folks that run the climbing gym are organizing a new group for those interested in pursuing outdoor rock climbing, hiking, mountaineering, kayaking, orienteering, and canyoning. This should be fun. At the very least, I'm learning new words in Chinese, like "handhold," "knee," and "flexibility."