Splashing Around

The swimming pools in Irbid reiterate the omnipresent gender segregation theme in Jordan: there are separate female and male pools, and the female pool is entirely enclosed to ward off any males who may try to catch a peek at girls in their swimsuits. After hearing that the female pool is divided into lap lanes and an open area with a diving board, I anxiously went on a stifling July day, only to discover that the stadium-high concrete walls didn't allow any sun to penetrate, there were no lap lanes, swim caps were required, and the diving board wasn't even tall enough to give me a thrill. As I was leaving the facilities and grumbling with fellow American friends about wasting three dinars for the entrance fee, I caught a glimpse of the male pool: an open, Olympic-sized pool graced by sun rays un-deflected by high concrete walls, three diving boards, and three lap lanes. They probably had a better locker room with heated showers, too.

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