Just When I Thought It Was Safe to Get Back in the Water…I Was Wrong


After living in a country for a certain number of months, you get your routine down (thankfully) and have fewer of those “expat moments” where you suddenly plunge into the cultural deep end, having no idea what the f#@k is happening around you.

We had one such “exapt moment” today when we finally decided to use the swimming pool at our new gym.

Before diving in, so to speak, we made sure we had our gym cards, knew how to enter and leave the facility, were familiar with the layout of the gym, and had used the weight and cardio area quite a bit. All systems were a go to give the pool a try.

So, today was the day. We split up at the locker rooms. Of course, my first expat moment occurred with the lockers. I needed a peso coin to use them, which I didn’t have. But, they did have a guardarropa, basically coat check for your stuff. So I used that.

Then, I tromped out the door from the locker room to the pool and was immediately stumped by the Alice in Wonderland labyrinth of doors, none of which could I open into the pool. While I was trying to figure out the door situation, a lifeguard started yelling at me in Spanish from across the way, and unfortunately I couldn’t see him because I didn’t have my glasses on (I was all goggled up, ready to swim). I scurried to place my glasses on my face, peered over at him, and after a lot of mystification, I finally figured out that he wanted me to go to the door marked medico.

I complied and was greeted by a nurse, who told me that she needed to examine me every 2 weeks in order for me to be able to swim, and she would give me a voucher with her permission to enter the pool for that length of time.

I had some trepidation about about an “exam” at the pool, but happily, it turned out that I only had to spread my toes (I’m assuming looking for fungi), flash my armpits (not sure why) and she wanted to look in my mouth as well (happy to report that I don’t have toe fungus on my tongue).

When I was finished, I inquired if she had gone through this regimen with a tall American male who didn’t speak Spanish. She said no and I went in search of my husband, who had actually managed to penetrate into the inner sanctum of the pool and was at that very moment being accosted by a lifeguard asking for his medical exam…so I rescued him!

6 Responses to “Just When I Thought It Was Safe to Get Back in the Water…I Was Wrong”

  1. melissa s.

    i was relieved to find that this wasn’t a photo of michele’s armpits after almost a year of travel.

  2. Michele

    But imagine the toned arms I would have, it might almost be worth the trade off!

  3. Futbol

    i’m having gym class flashbacks. every year, this stuff. traditionally, about half the class would fail the first inspection thanks to rampant athlete’s foot (which is probably one of the greatest euphemisms in the english language).

  4. Michele

    *laugh* I believe any sort of gym class flashback is generally not a good thing! (I agree athlete’s foot is a great euphemism, although it is sad to eliminate the alliteration of “foot fungus” don’t you think?)

  5. Futbol

    intra-toe rot.

  6. Michele


    “Friendly Fire” A great illustration of both the power of alliteration and why euphemisms can be dangerous.

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