Alert and dedicated reader(s) to this blog know that I swim in our embassy pool here in Moscow. Among its idiosyncracies is its length: 15-odd meters per length. Actually, to get very specific, 50 feet 8 inches. That’s 101 feet 4 inches per lap. Or 302 feet per 3 laps. Or 100.67 yards per 3 laps.
Long time readers know that another particularity of the pool is that it closes for a month or so every year. Well, it used to. In 2010 it was scheduled to close all of August, but the peat bog fires in Russia, that covered Moscow in a lovely carcinogenic-fog, delayed that until October. (Doctors here advised we stay in as much as possible, so the embassy decided not to take the pool away during such a time.) I managed to work with the embassy community and the pool management, and teach them the proper cleaning regime.
(I remember fondly lifeguarding as a kid in the early ’80s, and when some kids just would not stop running, we’d make them sit in one corner of the surrounding pavement that never seemed to get wet, and thus got terribly hot. We’d make them sit with their legs out straight. And if more than one kid needed the treatment, we’d sit one out and put the other in the pool with a scrub brush to scrub tiles. It was fun to see the politics that occured between the kids. “Hey, you’re cleaning slow so I have to sit out longer. Just wait ’til I get in there!” Nowadays, of course, we lifeguards would probably be fined or jailed for treating the kids that way. But, you know what? Few ever got caught running again!)
Anyway, another unique function of my pool is the water. There is something weird in the water. I don’t know what it is, but it’s only in the embassy water. My forays to Russian pools never resulted in what I’m about to tell you. Prepare for grossness: The water turns my ear wax blue. Yeah. Gross.
Beyond that, it turns the fair hairs between my eyebrows blue, as well. I’ve had one doctor here interested in getting some used q-tips from me. (Gross, again.) But that’s not really necessary as I have photographed proof of what it does.
These are the same goggles, basically. The ‘blue’ ones were the same color as the non-blue ones in the picture only a few months ago. I don’t know what the hell is in my pool water, and, frankly, I’m not going to ask.
I am so looking forward to getting back to the states.