Tonight I was invited to go swimming with Yaya and her friend at a hotel on the west end of town. I was told that it was more than a pool, but I didn’t really know anything about it. Turns out it’s on the 5th floor of the California Hotel, a towering structure that I couldn’t even see the top of when I was standing in front of the building. When I arrive on the 5th floor I spend 15 minutes walking aimlessly through a seemingly never-ending labrynth of hallways lined with art galleries which I could see through glass walls. When I find the swimming area, it opens into a gigantic area which holds a number of indoor and outdoor pools, spas, saunas, and fountains. The ceiling, which is a glass skylight, is 50 feet over my head which ocassionally makes me forget that I’m inside a glass structure. The ambience of the area is tremendous and not like anything I’ve ever seen before, even at country clubs crowded with millionaires wearing polo shirts with crests on them. I think they spend their money on sand traps or whatever, though.

I spent a few hours hanging out in and around the giant pool, and then traversed the pool courtyard to another area with a few smaller pools. These were like jacuzzis; the outside of the pools were lined with jets, but each pool was a different temperature. One was very warm, one really hot, and one really cold. What they do is first get into the warm pool, then the hot pool, and finally sit in the freezing cold water for a few minutes. They all insisted to me that it’s good for your skin as soon as I started to ask questions about why anyone would do that. I wasn’t very anxious to try until Yaya did it before me. I’m not joking about the water, either – you could serve it in a glass on a hot day as ice water. Yaya yelped as she eased into the cold water as quickly as she could, so I jumped in all at once, under the surface. I popped back up and sat in the pool with her for a few minutes before I started feeling dizzy and lightheaded. I sat there for a moment wondering what was going on until I got out and sort of crawled back into the warm water (my feet were numb) where I couldn’t feel my legs at all. It was fun!

Afterwards I sat in the sauna, which wasn’t actually very sauna-like, but had great music. They seemed to call it “Chinese Night Music”. It easily beats their daytime music.