The Gym Debacle

Updated: Mar 16

Prior to coming to the island, I found the best local gym on the island and prepaid a membership. Well, simply prepaying a membership was not a guarantee that I would actually be able to make it to the gym in the first place.


The island only has two roads on each coast connecting the French and Dutch sides; there is no way to cut through the island. On Monday, my plan was to go to the gym in the morning and be back well before noon. I noticed traffic on G Maps during my drive but thought nothing of it. Little did I know, it would impact the rest of my week.


The road had been closed by the gendarmes, and no one knew why. So I needed to turn around and head back home. The gym was written off for the day. The following day, I tried again, assuming no issues as there was no traffic listed on G Maps. Upon arriving, the gendarmes had closed the only access road again. The only other way to the gym was to drive all the way around the island, in heavy morning traffic through two major towns.


With nothing else planned for the day, I decided to do it. The drive was an excruciating hour and ten minutes in heavy traffic to drive around the entire island. I got my first workout in, in a fairly nice facility, only to have to drive all the way around to return home, an hour and twenty minutes under the midday sun.


A couple days later, my friend on the French side called me to let me know that the road was still closed. Not wanting to face another two and a half hours of driving, I decided to find a local gym with a day pass. The joke of the matter was that now I was paying for two memberships at two different gyms on the same island because one simple road was closed. Few knew why either.


Finally, after a week of road closure, the gendarmes reopened the route. The reason behind the closure was a local land dispute. Apparently, locals on the road claim to have inherited a tract of land from their relative, while the local government does not recognize the inheritance and is selling the land for development. So these locals, since September 2021, have been taking yellow-iron equipment and blockading the road every so often. The issue was big enough to make French news as far as Tahiti. Unfortunately, though, it means that I am at the mercy of the locals until I move to the French side later next season.


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