Saturday, August 31, 2013

Having fun at the public fun bath

Today, and for the first time since I came to Australia three years ago, I went to a public indoor swimming pool, or perhaps one should rather say an aquatic family fun centre if that is a valid term. This was one of those occasions where I cannot help reflecting on cultural differences between Germany and Australia.

Here, one gets a strong feeling of being on Ferenginar because one has to pay for everything extra on top of paying an entrance fee. Want to use the water slide? Pay extra. Want to have a box to lock away your clothes and valuables? Pay extra. In Germany, these things are included. On the downside, in Germany one has to pay for use of the facility per hour while here it is the same entrance fee regardless of how long you stay.

Strangely, it is considered normal for people to walk around the entire pool area in their street clothes and, crucially, their dirty street shoes. This would be completely unacceptable in Germany.

In what is surely a complete coincidence and without any connection to the previous item, the pool area as well as the changing rooms here are significantly dirtier than any swimming hall I have seen in my home country. You can actually feel sand and sometimes even small pebbles under your feet in parts of the pools, and the floors of some of the male showers were beyond description.

Interestingly, there is only one common changing area for each gender, no one-person changing rooms, which might be difficult for more bashful people.

There are signs at the entrance indicating that taking photographs is forbidden but a at any given moment a good number of people is walking around the pool area with clearly photograph-capable smartphones or even tablets. Why anybody would want to take their tablets with them when they go swimming is another good question.

Well, at any rate we enjoyed ourselves. Should do that more often.

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