During the holy month of Ramadan here in Riyadh, I and the people in my circle opt to just stay at the accommodations and busy ourselves with the boobtube. Summer has already reached its peak and–generally–this keeps people from leaving their air-conditioned rooms. As a result, excursions are like pawikan in the Philippines—extinct. Swimming is no exception. Ironically, we don’t care about the piercing rays of the sun if there’s a chance for us to swim even in a pool. We all crave the water element at this point. So when we were invited by some, for lack of better term, angels to go with them for a weekend swim, saying yes was totally easy. Yahoo! Another grant–in-aid for this travel blog.
Last Friday, 11 July 2014, ten instant weekend warriors headed straight to one of A Company’s top depots in Al Kharj to get a dose of the metaphysical benefits of swimming via the ten-foot deep diving pool in it—free of charge! That’s us. It’s been a decade since I and the rest of us did a twist to our workout routines.
A two–hour drive from the capital city brought us to the diving pool. As soon as we’re there, we couldn’t stop drooling at the sparkling azure water that seemed to tease our hot bodies in our birthday suits (pun really intended). We couldn’t contain our excitement either so after resting for a few minutes, we showered then dipped into the fetching water right away. Our adult bodies, minds, and hearts somehow turned into that of a tyke’s. I must say it’s really so much fun to flounder around in the water with a bubbly crowd.
Soon, I stayed in one corner and pondered upon what’s happening around me. In the middle of the chortles I hear and the frolic I see at the pool is a sanctuary. I saw it as a good place for relaxation. The kind of silence the pool provides, especially when I was floating and both of my ears were submerged, allowed me to just step away from this frantic world momentarily. I’m sure the rest of us discerned the same.
The metrical strokes through the water are very soothing and therapeutic because they collectively provide a great cardiovascular exercise. That’s a fact. The pool, despite its chlorine, emits a unique form of therapy that is explained by the meditative quality of swimming. In our accommodations’ gym, where I get to work out on a regular basis, everyone can see me. In this pool, there is less pressure for I became virtually invisible thereby making me not self–conscious. There’s just me and my mind moving through the water—which is very cathartic, invigorating, and liberating. I felt like I was doing my mastered yoga stances in water but with less effort. And when I got out from there, I felt like I’ve done hours of meditation.
What struck me most though with all these hooplas is the kind of happiness that radiated from us while frolicking in the water. The happiness that vivified the quiet place. By digging the modern dossier, Google, I learned that all of that happiness was most likely due to the release of feel–good chemicals known as endorphins—one of swimming’s most pleasant side effects.
Later, I joined the crowd that seemed to be the happiest mortals in the happiest mood again until we’re up for the next activity (i.e., visit to A Company’s Bakery Gallery) on our itinerary.
With all the snaps and realizations that emerged from this experience, I could say that a weekend swim is indeed the perfect disport before the work week ramps up.
(Note: Credits for the original copies of photos go to my budding photographer friends, Leonel Mark Tuscano and Jerome Eguia respectively, except for the first one.)
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