Thursday, April 16, 2009

Italian Swimming Pools.

So last summer in Arezzo, we'd have these long, blissful stretches of unbearably hot afternoon to waste away.

That's why the local swimming pool, aptly titled Piscina Florida, was the best discovery ever.

We'd walk there with stolen convent towels over our shoulders and pay our entry fee to the surly, befuddled elderly couple who ran the place wearing bifocals and pajamas - the most unlikely, unapt job for a guy who literally looked like he'd rather kill himself than let you in.

The place was always packed and we'd spend a good chunk of time locating vacant reclining pool chairs and dragging them into a consecutive line for the pefect people watching vantage point.

Death defying stunt dives off the high board by macho Italian teenagers in Speedos caused us to cover our eyes every single time, always surprised brain and blood weren't splattered across the concrete afterwards. The stuff they did was insane.

And the lifeguard would blow his whistle, sometimes stand up for a second in mock consternation...but he knew as well as everyone there that he had absolutely no authority. It's Italy.

And everyone wearing nothing. The tiniest of swimsuits on every shape, size, sex and age group. Just letting it all hang out without a care in the world. Totally embarrassing. But definitely emphasized how body conscious and prudish Americans are. Something to think hard about.

And we'd get huge slices of watermelon and cold cans of beer and potato chips from the snack bar and eat them while sitting on the side of the pool with our legs dangling in the water. Against the rules. But again, there was nothing to stop us.

And every local we encountered would give us a look of whole hearted perplexity as to why American college students were spending their summer at the public swimming pool in tiny Arezzo.   

We'd trek home after five or six hours in the sun - worn out, burnt, buzzed and completely content. 
Perfectly summer.