Saturday, 22 January 2011

Adventures in finding a swimming pool…

The first day is for jet-lag recovery and nada mas. Next day, I go in search of a swimming pool. Sadly Buenos Aires does not have any beaches as the sea is not clean enough to swim in near the city, but luckily there are enough gyms in BA to satisfy anyone. I find one near my hostel, a huge complex with seven or eight floors and pay the entry fee for one day. The swimming pool is on the top floor so I walk the many flights to the top, find somewhere to get changed and head towel-clad to the pool. I am immediately accosted by the attendant who launches a sea of Spanish at me. After some sign language, spanglish and more than a little time, I ascertain that I need to go the ‘medico’. I take the lift back to the first floor, the lift attendant also talking at me about ‘medico’, ‘examen’ etc. In the sparse medical room I get sudden flashbacks of primary school, half expecting to have a hearing test or be told to say ‘ahh’. Disappointingly, the doctor only asks to look between my toes and under my armpits. Thankfully I seem to pass the thorough examination with flying colours and am handed a certificate confirming this. When I say a certificate, it is more like a receipt the size of two postage stamps….most importantly I can finally have my long-awaited swim.

A few days later I have a look at another gym having decided I want to get a months membership while I rent a room in the city. This gym is much nicer and cleaner than the first so bracing myself for another ‘examen’ I decide to join. To my surprise, the second medico test is a little more thorough than the first. Not only does she take my pulse and my blood pressure but puts some kind of electro-cardio sensors on my body; on my legs, my arms, my chest and stomach. As I lie there I wonder if this is a special treatment for gringos who don’t know any better….ho hum.

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