Fly me to the swoon­ing pools

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

SO I send a Face­book mes­sage to a Bali friend about rent­ing a hol­i­day villa and thanks to a com­bi­na­tion of hasty typing and that work of the devil known as au­to­cor­rect, in­stead of swim­ming, I in­quire about a swoon­ing pool

And now, in our small cir­cle of friends who like to get to­gether for house par­ties and birth­day cel­e­bra­tions, the phrase swoon­ing pool has caught on and the word swim­ming has sunk with­out trace.

Some­times such mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tions can be for­tu­itous as the sight of a pool al­ways makes me swoon and sigh, and never more so than in Southeast Asia or on a South Pa­cific isle when the air is warm and the wa­ter silky and tepid.

Pool vil­las have be­come all the rage and at cer­tain price lev­els are de rigueur at top re­sorts. Bali and south­ern Thai­land are plunge pool cen­tral and if you rent a party-pad villa there’s noth­ing more en­joy­able than a gath­er­ing with friends, dive-bomb­ing and en­gag­ing in wa­ter fights and splash­ing about like hip­pos.

Speak­ing of African an­i­mals, in north­ern Tan­za­nia, at Sin­gita Sasakwa Lodge, I stayed in a de­light­ful cottage with an in­fin­ity-edge pool some years ago and could hang over the edge and look way down at the plains and the thun­der­ing wilde­beest like some sort of re­born Karen Blixen hop­ing Denys Finch Hat­ton would ride past and tip his bush hat my way.

At desert re­sorts in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the height of sum­mer, sand-sur­rounded plunge pools have been so warm I’ve ended up lightly poached, de­spite the wa­ter sup­pos­edly be­ing tem­pered to a bear­able tem­per­a­ture.

In Mau­ri­tius once I had to stay seven days as there was but one weekly flight be­tween Australia and Port Louis, and soon I made the ac­quain­tance of a perky, yel­low­beaked bird that hopped about my villa’s pool at the Oberoi each break­fast-time and waited for my toast crumbs and gave me as bale­ful an ex­pres­sion as an In­dian my­nah could con­ceiv­ably man­age when he saw my packed bags on the last morn­ing.

In this week’s Des­ti­na­tion Afloat is­sue, Lisa Grainger takes us to the Zam­bia side of Vic­to­ria Falls where guests at the splen­did Tongabezi lodg­ings can go with guides, when the Zam­bezi River is at its low­est lev­els, to Devil’s Pool and plunge right in. This nat­u­ral pool is at the edge of the top of the cur­tain of wa­ter tip­ping over the African con­ti­nent’s might­i­est falls.

As Lisa ex­plains, “Hav­ing jumped into the swirling river, swim­mers are gen­tly swept to­wards the rock ledge, on to which they can hold and peer over the edge — or sit and look back­wards at the great tor­rents of wa­ter shoot­ing down around them, while a guide holds on to their feet.”

Can you imag­ine? At least we now know what’s truly meant by that ex­pres­sion swoon­ing pool.


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