In an old book warehouse, there’s a gymnasium with an open area upstairs for aerobic exercise, and the entire downstairs is full of weightlifting machines.
The gym was the idea of some locals. They got permission from municipal authorities to create it and to charge admission. They also got a license under self-employment regulations. Men pay 100 pesos for monthly membership, women pay 60 pesos, retirees and people with special needs pay nothing.
What wasn’t immediately apparent to my eye is that all the weight machines are home made. The proprietors looked at equipment in weight training magazines and decided they could make their own. So they collected scrap metal and other materials piece by piece and started welding. The result is a facility with dozens of machines with red painted steel frames that allow for every kind of exercise that I could imagine.
I first visited in 2000. My notes remind me that the founder, a retired merchant mariner named Ignacio, told me then that he runs special programs for women. Most gyms in