This afternoon I went swimming for the first time in absolutely ages, I could tell it had been a long time because my arms were aching during the warm up. Anyway, the pool looked amazing, on an aesthetic level, the water was a warm blue colour, the tiles around the pool were a dark brown colour and there were even strange but stylish sun loungers inside, which worked well.
The changing rooms had one section with lockers that were operated by an electronic wristband you get when you sign in. There were lockers on each side, with nice big mirrors on the outside. There was also a section with huge mirrors and complete with a set of scales*, a water dispenser, hairdryers and some slightly odder things: body moisturiser, bobby pins, hair bands and cotton buds. The showers had curtains and free shampoo/shower gel and the shower heads were massive. The showers weren’t the ones that you have to press and only come on for 30 seconds either. So it looked really great, and smelled great too, did they have incense burning somewhere?
I went to poolside, using the complementary flip flops then got in the pool. It was nice having it to myself, but the temperature was a bit too warm for me, so I swam in the middle, away from the hot air/water vents.
But then I realised the perfect pool wasn’t so great after all. Besides the temperature, there weren’t any lines on the floor, making it hard to know when to turn as the pool floor tiles were all the same colours, so I couldn’t judge when to flip. There also weren’t any lane ropes and without the lines on the floor, I found it quite hard to swim in a straight line, especially when doing pull. There weren’t any flag poles either, making it hard to know when to turn for backstroke, but I’m going to stop nitpicking now. Overall I had a great swim, I did a RAF 3km set, with an added 100m IM, just to show off to the other amateur swimmers that joined me later in the pool, haha.
But then the main problem came with the beautiful changing rooms. My shower was fine, but getting dressed was just a nightmare. When they give you locker keys, they do it in order, so even though there were 40 or so lockers, the four of us were right next to each other, using lockers 1, 3, 5 and 7 (odd numbers on top). There was one small narrow bench, where four of us were trying to get changed. I like to spread out my stuff and take up a lot of space, but couldn’t here. As there were no hooks, I had nowhere to hang my wet costume to dry it.
Then back to those mirrors – great for brushing my hair in, but not so great when there’s three naked senior Chinese ladies and reflection upon reflection of their bodies is going back and forth. Anywhere I looked I could see them, and they could see me. Of course, me being the only foreigner in the room, they all wanted to get a good look at me…slightly creepy, but what else can you do in public changing rooms?
*The set of scales in the gym told me I was 3kg lighter, so I know which one I’m believing.
Image source: http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafswimming/Administration/trainingset3000m.cfm