Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pool party?

Clean and blue? It's just an illusion!

A friend of a friend went to the ‘International Gymnastic Center Swimming pool’ in Zhongshan park in Shanghai the other day to enjoy a swim. This is a kind of fancy pool. I have been there myself once, so I know the drill:

You pay quite a bit of money (if I remember it correctly it was more than 100 kuai) and get 1,5 hour pool time. This means that within 1.5 hours you have be out of the water, or…. ? Actually, what happens if you are still in the water when your ‘time limit’ has expired is yet unknown as I wasn’t rebellious enough to stay in the water on ‘over time’ when I was there. But I can only assume the girls in the reception get a bit angry. Maybe u have to pay an ‘over due’ fee, like you do when you return your library books too late? (Although don’t ask me how they monitor people? Sure, there were shit loads of Baywatch wannabes but not one for every visitor… or was there?!) I can only assume that they have this rule in order to prevent the pool from getting too crowded, and to make more money.

Anyhoo… when this friend of my friend was there (a young, Chinese guy) he was appalled to notice that a lot of people were spitting in the water (no, not the small ‘I-have-water-in-my-mouth-spit’ but the full-on, ‘I’m-going-to-clear-my-throat’ -spit). He felt a bit disgusted about swimming around in spit and turned to one of the older ladies when she spitted and asked her not to do that. The lady’s reply:

-Are you from another planet?! (你从别的星球来的吗?)

The lady then went on to tell the boy that she had paid this and this much in order to have a 1.5 hour swim in the pool. If she would get up from the pool, walk to the ladies changing room and spit every time she needed to clear her throat, that would take her around 2 minutes. Seeing that she needed to spit at least 5 times/hour that would mean… well, you guys do the math. (For those of you who are lazy: the lady would have lost 15 minutes of pool time beacsue of her getting up to spit during her pool visit!) Unacceptable, according to her.

Once she had finished telling the boy he looked around at all the people spitting and decided to get up. He figured that if all of those people, or at least some of them, were thinking in line with the lady who thought he was from another planet, they sure wouldn’t waste any time on getting out of the pool to go to the bathroom either.

No more pool party for this boy. As for me –I stopped visiting pools that give their visitors time restrictions a long time ago.

7 comments:

zhou said...

better translated as "你从别的星球来的吗?". 行星 is ok, but a bit too professional (as the opposite of "fixed star 恒星"), seldom used in a conversation. 了 is unproper here since it emphasizes on "already", 的 is the right word.

ps: i was such a bit fan of swimming back in china.. Orz...

Jonna Wibelius said...

Thanks Zhou... I've changed it! My Chinese is, as we all know, not quite there yet.

Anonymous said...

100 kuai. Way too expensive. I can go swimming 6 times in any Olympics-standard pool here in Sydney.

Anonymous said...

This is China! Grown-ups spit in the spool? That's totally disgusting! I thought the Chinese government had issued an edict before this past Summer Olympics to ban all public spitting. Certainly there are some Chinese who don't spit. What do they think of those who spit?

Jonna Wibelius said...

anonymous: Old habits die hard. Sure, they tried the whole 'anti spit campaign' for the Olympics but I really don't think China's older generation gives a rat about if it's considered rude or not to spit... Obviously I don't enjoy swimming in a pool full of spit, but well.. I feel more angry when I see people throwing trash on the streets (rather than in the bin) than I do when I see people spit in pools. (Also, I have sort of given up swimming in China... )

Anonymous said...

Why does she NEED to spit so often anyway. I think I have gone at least 4 days since I last spit.

Geoff said...

Hello Jonna,

When I was a boy my father refused to go in public pools. He use to say, "If I put some disinfectant into our bath tub would you get in with strangers?"

Regards,
Geoff