I dived in headfirst. Climbed out and like a child jumped back into the water again. Then the coach blew her whistle for the end of our class. “Just one more time?” She nods and I’m back in the pool the next second, swimming one last length to the other side, mind you – I left my flip-flops there, of course I have to swim, no other way. Hehehe.
Yesterday I joined a swimming class. Not a big deal, right? Yeah, but in Saudi it can be a bit difficult to find the right kind of recreation for yourself if you’re a woman. Example: they only have separate gyms according to gender and luck would have it, ladies gyms are a bit more expensive. Then there’s a dilemma what you might wear, if you decide to work out outside.
That’s why I was really happy, when my Egyptian friend referred me to a sports society, which also organizes swimming classes, women only swimming classes. Wonderful.
What followed was a challenge, titled: “a search for regular sporty swimsuit, because the genius, writing this letter, forgot hers back in Ljubljana (Slovenia).”
Three days. We were running around Jeddah for three days, looking for a simple one piece swimsuit. We went to every store the ladies on Jeddah FB forum recommended me. Some shops didn’t even have women’s swimsuits. Others only had the “modest” type with long sleeves and possibly a skirt. “Ah, come on. I’m going to a women-only class, I really don’t need to wear a burkini there.”
Finally we found an athletic store with the so called western equipment and with that the well known western brands. That also meant a significant difference in prices. To top it off their fitting rooms were closed due to corona (btw fitting rooms in KSA deserve a separate letter sometime soon), and despite of that they did not offer any return policy, in case the swimsuit wasn’t the right fit. After a dramatic exit from the shop in question we had to try one more location, which was my last shot to find something suitable. We went to out favorite mall, where you can in fact get whatever you need/want.
We’ve been to the “space mall in China town” countless times for many necessities and trinkets, but this time I didn’t think I would get so lucky. But I found it. The regular one piece swimsuit, and in my size too. I also got a sleeveless top made from the same material, which I was planning to pair up with my over the knee gym leggings, in case I wouldn’t have found the swimsuits after all.
In the end I packed both options with me to the swim class and chose to wear the latter one. My choice proved to be a reasonable one at the pool side, since the majority of women were wearing something similar. “Perhaps,” I thought to myself, “perhaps they didn’t feel like shaving either, just like me.”