Jump for joy to the land of dreams
THE hotel bed stands vast and virginal, its creamy doona folded back to reveal uncreased hectares of Egyptian cotton and pillows as plump and vulnerable as beached whales, albeit ones with chocolates on them. The whole ensemble looks as if it has just been breathed into being; my small children, Daisy and Leo, unaccustomed to such displays of tidiness, are mesmerised.
It’s the same expression I saw on the faces of a group of snowboarders as they gazed at a pristine, powdery slope, awe and glee jostling madly for space in their eyes.
‘‘ I think,’’ Daisy finally says in a respectful whisper, ‘‘ that it wants to be jumped on.’’
We’ve been on the road in Southeast Asia for a couple of weeks, only for our sense of fiscal rectitude to implode in Bangkok at the end of our trip. We splash out on a room for our final four hours in the glittering new Novotel at the city’s equally glittering new airport (but only after allowing a horrified taxi driver to take us on brief inspection tours of some ‘‘ nice, much cheaper’’ hotels). After a fortnight in Laos, where we struggled to spend more than $20 a day, we’re feeling a little devil-may-care.
These four precious hours, we figure, give us enough time to throw the kids in the bath, jump in the shower, plunder the minibar, order room service and, most important, get Daisy and Leo so worn out that by the time we’re buckling up on the plane at midnight, they’ll instantly pass out.
With a swipe of the credit card we’re on our way up to the fourth floor. As the door swings open before us, I remember Irish drinker-thinker Dylan Moran’s observation that nothing corrupts like a hotel room; judging by their squeals of joy, Daisy and Leo are having the same thought. This room is just begging to be defiled.
In no time at all, clothes have been flung off and the kids are whooping it up in the bath with my wife, Bel, scented water splashing and bubbles flying, landing on the petals of a cut lily. Soaps have been torn from their wrappers and bath gels forcefully liberated from their bottles. After much guffawing and singing, thick, shaggy towels are wrapped around little pink bodies, then cast aside for the traditional post-ablution nudie run.
This last endeavour coincides with the arrival of room service; the waiter heroically manages to set the portable table while the birthday suit brigade zooms and hollers around him.
They get busy trying out ottomans and light switches and the bedside phone (a big hit with Leo, who uses it to say ‘‘ Aga-boooo’’ to reception) and the bathrobes that, despite being twice her length, strike Daisy as suitably princess-like.
But among all these fairground attractions, nothing compares with that bed. As big as an aircraft carrier and as white as a Siberian Christmas, it’s given what can only be described as an industrial-strength workout. With Leo gurgling and Daisy singing her own carefully amended version of the Hallelujah chorus, they clamber aboard and bounce and dance and boing their way through nearly three hours.
Every now and then I glance over at the sound of a particularly merry shriek and am greeted by the vision of two dimpled, airborne bottoms.
The devious parental plan, of course, works a treat. We board our flight at midnight, barely any time after the final bounce; Daisy and Leo are asleep before the emergency exits have been pointed out and don’t stir again until Sydney.