Fly me to the swooning pools
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.