Government operated pool in Shanghai, China circa 1990: The changing room floor was made up of uneven brown cement dotted with little pools of stagnant water. The walls are filled with water damaged wood lockers. The showers only ran cold water. There was NO privacy whatsoever, you saw everyone naked whether you wished to or not. But the most disgusting thing was that before you entered the pool, you had to wade through this grey water that was waist deep. There was no other way to enter the pool. Hubby remembers the same grey water. There is no way you can forget that if you have waded through it. And then you reach the packed pool. It was not so bad in the deep end, but the shallow side was packed with throngs of people.
Not quite as bad as this picture, but halfway there. You can see why it would be hard to learn swimming under these circumstances. Even though I went to the pool almost everyday that summer, I never learned. But my dad did not give up on forcing me to learn how to swim. He was a champion swimmer in his youth and swam non-stop for 3 hours in the Yangtze River at one point.
So another summer, he paid for my membership at a family friend’s apartment complex’s pool. The added bonus was my friend Cindy(daughter of family friend) and I would be swimming buddies. I do not recall us swimming much, but to our credit we were swimming short distances in the deep end, though we were much more comfortable in shallow water. What I remember most about that summer was eating instant noodles and drinking Arizona Iced Teas afterwards.
Enter Hong Kong. I was adamant about finding a building with a pool when we were looking for apartments to rent. When I saw the pool below, I knew we had to live in the building.
My apartment complex’s pool is pretty much empty all the time! Living in city center Hong Kong, the pool is an oasis for me, more so than my apartment at times. I began spending more and more time swimming in the pool. I am happy to say that as of Friday 6/8/2012, I was able to swim for 35 minutes without taking a break. My next goal is to swim for an hour without taking a break. I still do not like to swim, but I love the immense satisfaction I get from completing my swim.
EDIT: 6/14/2012, I swam for 63 minutes today! A word of warning though, you might get very bloated from swimming for such a long period of time. Here I am still bloated 5 hours after I finished my swim.