The Swimming Pool Library
The lap pool at Chai Wan
Like the better part of the world, it’s been really hot here in Hong Kong lately. Fortunately, it’s not the usual kind of smoggy, monsoon-y hot that one would expect this time of year here, but the kind of hot people go traveling to find: clear blue skies, bright sunshine, and dry-ish air. Perfect beach weather. And Hong Kong has lots of nice beaches, just not enough to fit all of the seven million people who live here and all have the same idea. Apparently over the weekend there was a three hour queue just to catch the bus out of Shek-O. Happily for those of us who don’t want to spend half of our day off stuck in a taxi cab, there are lots of pools here too, most of them right in town- and you don’t need to be staying at the Peninsula or the Mandarin to avail yourself of them. Some readers will recall that we typically take Monday off; since on this particular Monday we had some morning and evening appointments, we decided to stay on the north side of the island and try the pools out- both to cool off and to show off some of our spiffy new Moustache swimming costumes. Chai Wan pool, pictured above, is by far the biggest pool in Hong Kong. It’s all the way on the Eastern end of the Island, but is well worth the drive, as it might be more accurately described as a “Water Park” than a public pool. In addition to the olympic sized lap pool, there’s another big pool for overflow, a diving pool, a kiddy pool and probably even some other ones I missed. Inexplicably, or perhaps all too explicably given the local love of nonsensical rules, photography is forbidden. So we had to be sneaky.
All clothes are Moustache.
For the lifeguards, when it rains.
We left Chai Wan around lunchtime when it really is certifiable to sit in the sun. One of the nice things about sticking to the city pools is that rather than the one or two restaurants one has to choose from at the beach, since you’re in town, you’re spoiled for choice. We hopped in a taxi and made for Tai Hang, our favorite Hong Kong neighborhood besides our own and found a very tiny izakaya down a wobbly old lane where we literally had to scrape the ice off our cans of Kirin just to pop them open.
Tai Hang street corner.
Lunch at the izakaya, Tai Hang.
Smoke break between courses.
With the sun a touch less fierce and a little food in our bellies, we walked the few blocks over to Victoria Park to test the waters there. I’ve tried it out once before and met the same fate:
I’m sure it’s a nice pool, and you can’t beat the location, but I can’t exactly say I recommend it. I can, on the other hand, heartily recommend the Morrison Hill pool, a short drive away in Wan Chai. This is another pool complex, with a giant indoor pool for lap swimming and a nice sized outdoor pool for paddling around and sunbathing. Since it’s not so far out, it feels pleasantly urban, with moms and toddlers and bronzed gays in speedos.