A Chinese Pool Party


A large part Ochsner Family summer is usually spent in the water, but because of our move we did not set up our pool or get many opportunities for swimming before we left. The weather here in Beijing is equivalent to the heat of Kansas City, but much more humid. Almost every day it has been in the upper 80s to mid 90s, but it always “feels like” about 100 degrees because of the humidity. The summer weather in Oklahoma is usually that warm, or even warmer, but in Oklahoma we don’t spend as much time outside in heat. Yesterday, we had finally reached our breaking point and decided we just had to jump in the pool, no matter how far we had to go to find one. And so another adventure began… 

The closest bus station to our house is about a twenty minutes walk away (we are convinced we live the farther away from any bus stops than anywhere else in Beijing, but that’s beside the point). After walking to the bus station we divvied out backpacks and bus cards and set scouts looking for the bus that supposedly comes every 10 minutes.

Thirty minutes later there was still no bus. There was no explanation and no replacement.

Keep in mind that because of the humidity the air felt like a swimming pool itself. Because of this, the boys decided to roll their shirts up to their chest to form a type of tube top which is the popular fashion among old men on the streets. To preserve your eyes I refrained from attaching a picture of this fashion statement.

Finally, the bus did come, and we shoved our way on (we are getting better at shoving) and all found a seat. Besides the man throwing up in the seat in front of us, the ride there was pretty uneventful. (We learned that the bus was delayed because of traffic) Luckily, we got off at the right stop and began the trek to the pool.

It was surprisingly clean for a pool in China, and around the size (maybe slightly bigger) of our city pool in Oklahoma. (I was surprised to find that there was no “seating” areas around the pool, apposed to in the US where mothers everywhere would revolt if the found there was not a place for them to read and tan while their kiddies splashed around.) Because we decided to go on a Thursday instead the weekend, there were fewer people there. We did observe some interesting fashion trends among the Chinese who were there though. The women preferred dress-type swim suits along with cardigans to keep the sun off their skin, contrasting the bikinis, sunglasses, and tanning lotion which will be found at any American pool. In place of the swimming trunks, the men wore speedos and spandex, and also seemed to have a thing for swim caps. After two and a half to three hours, we had gotten in enough swimming in and prepared to head home for a Chinese lesson. After experiencing the…memorable…procedures of the Chinese locker rooms we escaped to the bus station. The paparazzi met us there, and Annelise was the particular star. The bus came right on time, and the ride home was much less eventful than the ride there.

By the time we walked home, we were ready to jump back in the pool but instead were met by an air conditioned apartment, which was just as nice. I would call this adventure a success, and I can’t wait to see what the next one holds.

We miss you all and wish you were adventuring with us! Thanks for reading!






8 thoughts on “A Chinese Pool Party

  1. I wish we were adventuring with you, as well! Thanks for sparing us the visual of the fashion statement – I remember that one well. Quite peculiar, but very popular!


    1. We though it was a very strange idea when we first saw it, but because of the heat, we can now see the reasoning behind it. (Although I’m glad they do not seem to follow the same fashion in the U.S.!)


  2. I suppose maybe I should google said fashion statement as my mind is boggling over what this looks like?! I love reading your stories Audrey! Please keep them coming!


    1. Imagine a crop-top on a elderly Chinese man with a large belly and you will have a good visual of what this style is like. (And now you’ll know why I didn’t include a picture 😉 ) Glad you are enjoying the stories!


  3. So glad I finally found your blog! I think about you guys all the time but couldn’t find a way to even know if you had made it to China 🙂 Looking forward to keeping with with your adventures! Please tell your mom hello for me!!


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