Tuesday, April 14, 2009

a week way too fast: la piscina

Barichara was wonderful. Getting there was a haul but once in the town, we fell into the rhythm of Barichara. Calm early mornings, restful afternoons, quiet evenings. I managed to run, read, and write. Sonia and I cooked. We wandered an old town and stood in centuries old churches.

La Piscina

On Monday we went swimming, walking up the cobbled hill to a pool surrounded by white concrete walls topped with shards of broken bottles. The pool itself was a rectangle ringed by terracotta tile and a staked yellow nylon rope. Twenty-five hundred pesos to get on the other side of the rope.

It was busy with teenage boys. They raced around the perimeter of the pool and up a hill near the back of the lot. They hurled themselves at the water, gold and tan bodies splayed in air, smacking water. They raced each other the short and long lengths of the pool with flailing, graceless strokes as though their will alone might win them the race. They yelped and laughed and shouted. They crowded the diving board - two wooden planks lined with black sandpaper, bolted to a painted blue metal frame with slippery round rungs - five boys huddled at the ladder end, nudging each other forward. They jumped off the board on each other's backs; they leaped far into the air; they attempted scissor legged dives.

Two girls stood in a corner at the shallow end, dressed in short denim shorts and wet tops, the cups of their bras outlined. They chatted with each other, dipped under the surface once in awhile, shook their hair, and largely pretended to ignore the boys.

Under the Aguila tent, mothers and fathers sat in white plastic chairs drinking beers, the only really cold beverage you could buy. After swimming, paddling Claire through the waves, I sat at the edge of the pool, the sun hot on my shoulders, drinking a warm Coke. I watched the boys race the perimeter, never tiring of that same race and rarely varying the route. I expected a boy to smash his head open or crack his teeth but they had more grace than that. They jumped to splash.

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