Sunday, 2 August 2009

Sundays at Casa de Campo

A tiny creature - not a leech - we met near the pool in the cool green grass
My new swimming pool is next to the metro at Lago and I love it! It is actually three pools but I stick to the big pool with terraces designed for adults. The pool is two metres sixty centimetres of deep blue water and surrounded by mature trees. Floating in the centre on my back with the sun on my face is bliss! There are leafy glades around the pools where families spend the best part of the day and where we find tiny insects amongst the blades of grass. It is a municipal pool so the changing facilities are basic and the showers are cold - and there are no lockers! The "peg bag clothes" hanger is filled and handed in to the cloakroom and valuables are left at home. There is a cafeteria here and also an open air public lending library!

The swimming pool is a great place to meet people. They are soon drawn to my English voice and I chat as I float and kick. I have met a Guatamalean head hunter and an Argentinian actress in this way! I swim until the sun goes down and they have to chase me out. The pool closes at 9 and after dressing, it's picnic-time.

Here we have the lakeside where the empty cafes and restaurants are desperate for trade in this crisis-hit summer. I love the lake and watching the people who go by. This is a busy area for couple-dom! There are gay guys cruising, young people are entwined on the grass, transvestite prostitutes patrol the avenue from the metro, families take supper and waiters serve ice-clinking drinks.

The first time we were here, we tucked into our homemade tortilla, fresh salads, fruit and bread and never had food tasted so good. As we ate, fireworks exploded overhead and across the city like a scene in a movie.

Later, there was a commotion at the metro. The police were out in force and there was broken beer bottle glass on the ground. We had missed the weekly sparring of people from Ecquador who come here to drink and fight. Now they are standing in family groups and it is quiet. Nearby I saw the gay man with the tartan shopping trolley who services the park people at night with I know not what. Possibily condoms or illegal booze. We talk to a young woman who works as a security guard at the station and she tells us about what happens here. She is frank with us, describing how she can use her baton to contain violence and which parts of the body she is allowed to hit - no bones and no head! She is matter of fact in that way of people who have seen it all before. I wonder if she goes home to a nice partner who hugs her. I hope so.

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