Well, that sucks. Doesn’t look like I’ll be swimming here in Kyrgyzstan. There are pools, they do exist in this country. There are indoor ones. Also, beautiful outdoor pools. But none can be used for laps.
So during my investigations yesterday, I went to three of the fairly “near” pools to my work and home. One is literally a few steps from my house, perhaps a quarter mile. They have an indoor “sport pool” (спортивный бассейн in Russian), with two whole lanes, about 25m each. $10 to swim more than an hour. I asked about reserving my own lane for a couple hours a couple times a week. Sadly, I have to wait until the manager comes back. When we got there, the indoor part of the aqua-complex was being repaired. In true FSU fashion, the first person I spoke to said the pool would be repaired by the 10th. The second I spoke with said the 15th. By the look of things, they won’t be ready until closer to the 1st of October.
There was a pool with 5 sport lanes, and if I can get there between 11 and 3 during the work week, I’ll have a free lane. Only $10 for 45 minutes. And 30-40 minutes to get there before or after work. Not ideal. Plus, they wouldn’t let me see the pool without paying, you guessed it, $10.
The first pool I went into with my daughter, we were allowed to go walk on the deck to see the pool. After we put little blue plastic slippers over our shoes. Yes, like Russia, you’re not allowed to go into a locker room or pool deck in outside shoes. Even if it’s not snowing outside. They took us to the sport pool, and there I saw some lanes painted on the bottom of the pool, and adults and kids swimming hither and thither. Because there were no lane lines.
Now my Russian is not half bad. I’m told that often by Russian speakers. (Практика, практика, практика.) For what I lack in vocabulary or grammar (G-d damn those verbs of motion), I make up for in my ability to explain with my simple word-stock what I’m trying to say. So I asked about lane lines and lap swim hours. The very nice Kyrgyz woman looked at me, pointed at the pool, and said, “Right now is lap time.”
Oh. Dear. God. Lap time had two old folks noodling (only w/o the noodles) through the lap pool, and a passel of bratty kids swimming wherever the hell they wanted throughout the pool. Pure chaos. Absolute. Oh, and it cost $80 per month for the luxury of twelve 45-minute visits. Sadly, that’s the best price-wise. But the worst, pool-wise.
Fortunately, every one of these pools would be great for the kiddos. They all had indoor “aqua-park” areas, with huge slides, water falls, even a wave pool. So we’ll have a place to go during the cold winter to get the kids some fun. Alas, for dad, not so much.
We’re building a new embassy here, and I’ve heard tell of a pool (a la Embassy Moscow, 15m long) in the new building. I haven’t seen any plans and I doubt something like that would be built in this day and (fiscal) age, but who knows. I’ll hold out hope. But for now, I think I’m going to have to find another physical hobby, and pick marathon swimming back up in the states when we return.