Friday, September 30, 2011
The enclosed pool area is delineated from the hotel lobby by a set of four French doors. Cherry wood framed panes of glass stretch for twenty feet, giving anyone interested a view of the interior space. The heavy doors and thick glass keep a tight seal on the warm, contained moist air and the heavy chlorinated smell that is all pervasive, air that seems more tangible and easier to grab.
The indoor pool is enclosed on all sides. Above it is a solid ceiling thirty feet high painted in pastel tones. The ceiling gives way to large squares of glass that taper at a 15 degree angle towards the ground, creating the greenhouse heat and light that pervades the room.
Immediately inside the French doors is a cement walkway that is three feet wide. It leads up to the cement lip of the pool and continues around the hard right angles on all four sides. The cement is wet and cool, an intense contrast from the humidity in the air. Along the walkway, spaced at uneven intervals, are plastic white lawn chairs, some with gray scratches on the legs and back. One of the chairs has a pile of three folded blue and white striped beach towels on the seat, another has a used looking towel draped over its back.
The pool is long, designed for laps and swimming caps. On one end, in the corner, are three steps. On the other end are two metal bars and embedded steps in the underwater wall. There are three lights on in the pool, they illuminate the painted blue sides and bottom, creating the illusion of yellowish-green water. Steam rises from the surface, dancing, twirling gently as it disperses into the thick air of the enclosed space.
Behind the pool are two Jacuzzi. Empty, they gurgle wildly from the mighty force of their underwater jets. Heat leaps from the roaring water, twisting violently into the cooler air it meets above the surface. White and ice-blue colored water bubbles over the smooth cement sides of the hot tubs, spreading out onto the already wet cement floor beyond its walls.
Between the two Jacuzzi is a narrow walkway that slopes upward at a 10 degree angle. Fifteen feet long, it leads to a long narrow room with glass walls on all sides. There is a row of running machines, stair climbers, weight benches, and free weights. Each piece of equipment is lined up, facing the side-street. A lone woman in tight lycra pants and a long red baggy t-shirt is on the stairmaster, moving at a steady rhythm as she reads a magazine spread open before her.
Parallel to the narrower ends of the pool are two tall walls that face each other like mirrors. At their base is a ledge of tropical plants with wide bright shiny green leaves and pungent soil. Behind the plants, stretching five feet up is a checkerboard pattern of pink and blue tiles. They reflect the diffused afternoon light coming through the glass ceiling. Where the tiles end, a mural begins. It is a beach scene painted in pastel colors. There is a bright sun, an ocean in the distance, and three bright pink flamingoes in the foreground. The image is mirrored on both walls.
Posted on several walls beside the pool are signs saying, “NO Diving” and “USE at your own risk.”