x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Try walking for a change

I guess why my waistline's girth has perpetuated throughout the years is that I'm not averse to stretching my legs and partaking in a good walk.

There's a reason why I am, give or take a kilogram here or there, pretty much the same weight now as I was when I finished school, almost two decades ago.

It's nothing to do with my diet - I'm on first-name terms with the proprietor of my local curry house, while the fellas who earn their keep by ferrying fast food around the city regularly cast their shadow on my doorstep.

No, I'm guessing why my waistline's girth has perpetuated throughout the years is that I'm not averse to stretching my legs and partaking in a good, old fashioned walk.

Such is my fondness for strolling that a few years back myself and a couple of pals traversed the whole breadth of England from west to east, hauling vastly oversized backpacks with us as we went.

As for less blister-inducing feats, The National's headquarters are in proximity to my apartment, so I'm happy to use my lower limbs to traverse from home to office before undertaking the daily grind at my desk.

My attitude is of marked contrast to many of my acquaintances here in Abu Dhabi, who seem to possess outright terror about placing one foot in front of the other, hence go to extreme lengths to avoid perambulation of any kind.

One friend in particular, whenever we're out on a shopping excursion, will invariably refuse to park his car anywhere, unless it's mere millimetres away from the store or mall entrance.

"Look, over there, a spot," I helpfully offer while driving, pointing to a vehicle-sized opening in one of any given car park. "No, much too far away," he'll mutter, before spending another 20 minutes aimlessly circling the area.

Hence, I feel it is my duty to point out that it would have taken us a fraction of this time to walk from the original space than it did to continue our fruitless search, which, somewhat surprisingly, doesn't always enact a cheery response.

Of course, I am aware that a comprehensive life insurance cover is essential for any keen rambler in the capital. For example, during the summer months, only those with an ardent death wish would attempt a protracted journey on foot during a 50°C-plus heat wave. While, such is motorists' disdain for zebra crossings, one careless misstep could lead to being vaporised by a speeding bus.

But nevertheless, wherever possible I'll persist with walking, content in the knowledge that trekking keeps me relatively slim, meaning I can avoid the exorbitant costs of purchasing new trousers every few years.

And although Abu Dhabi is a vast place, and many times too hot, the adage still frequently holds true: everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.

hberger@thenational.ae

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