The brand new, rebuilt rink opened today for the first time. The ice looks great. The rink change house is like a long concrete-block shoe-box, divided into smaller concrete block sections. There is a front hallway as you enter the rink, with a caretakersí room leading off one side and an office on the other. At each end of this front hallway there are doors with glass panels in them, so thereís some natural light, and, on the rink side, you can look through the door-glass and see the skaters. Thereís also a large interior window looking into the office. That window is sealed, and has reinforcing mesh in the glass. Depressing. The rink operator, who drives the ice maintenance tractor, was sitting there at a beaten-up metal desk, reading a newspaper.
There is a male change room and a female one, without doors but with an overlapping wall at the entrance, so you canít easily see inside. You canít see outside to the rink from the change rooms either, because although there are windows in these enclosures, they are very high up, a bit like in a prison. The lighting is harsh fluorescent, and the plain concrete block walls are painted gray.
This is how the rink works: the guys (mainly) and some girls come in with their skates and head to their respective change rooms. Sometimes they just change to skates and go out to the rink. Other times they have a strange custom of gender raids, boys running into the girls' change room and the girls screaming. The only thing exposed is socks, but the girls still scream with enthusiasm, and sometimes the boys make the game more exciting by taking a jacket or a hat and running back into the boys' change room with their booty. Then the girls have to do a return invasion and you can hear the sounds of struggle in the boys' change room. The language gets pretty foul.