I usually hit the pool downstairs from my apartment a few mornings a week before going to work.
This was the first time I went in the afternoon and the pool was getting crowded. There are three 25-metre lanes and a partial lane which is more of the kiddie section that is on the shallow side.
One of the lanes was occupied by two people who were just standing in it, not really swimming and when they were it was obvious they weren't seasoned swimmers.
It was annoying they didn't have the common courtesy to just move into the kiddie lane so others could freely do their laps.
Nevertheless, I was doing my workout when a female staff member flagged me down.
"Excuse me, you have to wear a swimming cap."
"You have to wear a swimming cap. It's on the rules," she said, pointing to a red sign on the wall.
"I don't read Chinese characters," I said in Chinese, but in retrospect I should have just said in English and continued swimming.
At the end of the pool she stopped me again.
"Here, wear this," she said, trying to pass me a used bathing cap.
I said, "I have been swimming here all the time and no one told me to wear this," I said. "I'm from North America where I have never had to wear a bathing cap."
"Well, you have to wear it here," she tried to insist, as others swimmers in my lane gave me a strange look.
I said that I washed my hair everyday so what's the problem?
She replied that it was to prevent the pool from being clogged with loose hair. Short hair can clog the pool?
Either I had to swim with my head above water or get out of the pool, she said. Meanwhile those lame people were still standing around in the lane, not really swimming -- why couldn't she bother them than me about my swimming cap? Couldn't she stop the swimming lanes from being clogged instead?
In the end she let me continue swimming but NEXT time I had to have a swimming cap...
Only in China.