Saturday, August 22, 2009

Beijing's Biggest........... Outdoor Swimming Pool

We had sauna-like weather in Beijing for several weeks recently so it was a great relief when I went to Liulang swimming pool. The complex consists of 3 large pools plus an area for serious swimmers to do laps. Tall trees enclose the whole area, and there is ample poolside paving to lie out on and relax. Can you recognise me among the sunbathers? Even on a hot sticky Saturday afternoon, the pool did not feel crowded (by Chinese standards).

Of course, the Chinese have their own way to enjoy the sun. Most of them don't like to get a tan - black is not beautiful here - so they sit in the shade or paddle by the pool holding an umbrella. You will see serious cardplayers as well as much more energetic volleyball players. Most people, though, young and old alike, enjoy themselves in the cool water, with water pistols, watermelons, inflatable ducks and the latest in swimwear fashion (nothing to get too excited about!).

It's an interesting place to see how local Beijingers 'chill out'. And if the water is not refreshing enough for you, there's always the cold-water-only showers afterwards for the real men. Is that you? If so, then let me guide you to this place, and/or to other parts of the 'real' Beijing. You have to hurry though since Autumn officially started early August according to the Chinese calendar.

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