Measures are taken all over Beijing to ensure security -- even in the swimming pool.
Yesterday late morning I went to my gym to beat the heat and do some laps in the pool.
It wasn't too crowded, but almost half the space length-wise was taken up by two boys playing with a ball. They passed it to each other and at times they wouldn't be able to catch it, disrupting other swimmers in the other half of the pool.
I decided to risk it and swim next to these two boys. I even purposely swam slowly in case they rushed into me trying to catch the ball. Scenarios of twisted arms and dislocated shoulders leapt into my mind, but at the same time I was determined to finish my workout.
And as expected, at one point the ball did hit me on the head -- thankfully lightly.
I stared at the two boys who said nothing -- and even the older sister watching poolside said nothing.
They kept playing for a long time until finally they left the pool and hung out in the jacuzzi -- still playing with the ball.
When I finished my swim I took my goggles off and on the back wall there were two new signs in white with red lettering in Chinese and English.
The first was no diving. The other said: "No playing water polo".
Meanwhile the gym staff did nothing. They periodically watched the boys playing, but didn't say to them, "Hey guys, did you see the sign? No playing water polo".
That was annoying.
What is the point of having rules if you don't enforce them?
However, everywhere else outside of the pool, the rules seem to be enforced to the extreme.
Back in the pool, the two boys were throwing the ball to each other on opposite ends of the pool width-wise, risking hitting the plants and pool furniture.
And no one seemed to notice.