Since the beginning of this week, I visit the UN guest house on a daily basis. It’s almost impossible to get some physical exercise in Kabul, driving to and from work, driving to and from events, wherever they occur in the city, and only very limited sports facilities being available in the city.
The UN guest house has a squash court, a fitness room AND a swimming pool. For only 40 bucks per month, you can get as fit as you like, visiting the place as often as you like, except on Fridays, I think.
What’s so remarkable about the pool is that, only meters away, across the wall of the compound, women of all ages almost don’t dare to be seen without a nice blue burka. Inside the walls, enjoying the sun on the edge of the pool, expat women wear nothing but a bikini, minding their own business. The contrast, as you can imagine, is significant.
There are more pools in Kabul, but not many. The Intercontinental hotel has one, but when they built it, they forgot to install a water purifier system, meaning the pool has been empty for a very, very long time. L’Atmosphere, the French restaurant, also has a pool, but it’s tiny. Still, so I’ve heard, it doesn’t stop the clientele to sunbath, near-naked, around the edge of that one either.
Meanwhile, Kabul is heating up nicely. Noon temperatures average between 35 and 40 degrees.