Monday, August 28, 2006


Yesterday, I got to the pool for the first time since I left Bklyn. Breichat Yerushalayim - The J'lem Pool, is a huge place but as most things in Israel, it's crowded into a small space. There's the main pool, a 50 meter pool with lap lanes in the middle and splashing areas on either side. Then, there's the side pool with a big, curvy slide and billions of kids splashing into the water with screams of joy and fear. There's a smaller, kiddie pool as well. Along the sides of the pool, on a sparse but vaguely grassy area, parents sit dispensing bamba (the nat'l snack, a sort of peanut butter flavored cheese doodle), pretzels, called beigelach here, money for ice creams and arteeks (ices) and drinks.
The crowd is mixed - the pool is located in Emek Refaim, along a busy street with shops, restaurants and cafes of all sorts. It's an upscale neighborhood, but the pool caters to Jerusalemites of all sorts.
Pool etiquette is limited. Kids cross the lap lanes at all times and you have to swim with an eye towards who might in your lane at any time. There are many novice swimmers in the pool who get into the lap lanes and rather creatively maneuver their way around. It's the "backstrokers" who are the most unusual in their choice of stroking style. I spend most of my time swimming around them and hoping that I won't crash into them. There are also the swimmers who get tired and just stop midlane to chat with someone in the next lane or just to walk for a few steps.
Tonight I went swimming with Jessica. It was ladies night and that meant the pool was filled with religous women and girls in lots of layers - although many swam in standard suits - and they really swam all over the place. It was a big slumber pool party. I managed 24 laps today and figure that's about 50. Pretty much what I used to do at the Y in Brooklyn.

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