Sunday, 6 September 2009

A once-in-a-lifetime experience!

When we announced to Djangolina that this year's holiday would be in Indonesia (again), we offered her by way of consolation the chance to propose one holiday visit or activity of her own choosing. She had been hinting for ages that she really wanted to swim with dolphins, so we were unsurprised to hear that as her choice. And so we duly booked a long weekend in Bali (the next island over from where we were going anyway) at a hotel and wildlife park which has its own dolphin pools and, indeed, offers swimming with dolphins as its main draw.

For some reason, swimming with dolphins is one of those things that keeps cropping up on various lists of "things to do before you die". It is, as they say, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. When you think about it, the phrase "a once-in-a-lifetime experience" implies something that you wouldn't want to do for a second time. And this is pretty much what swimming with dolphins is.

The hotel's brochure chooses its words carefully, always referring to "the dolphins playing with you". And within seconds of entering the pool, it became clear why. The dolphins do play with you. They use you as the ball. Furthermore, the two dolphins involved are young male rescue dolphins previously abused by a cruel circus owner (allegedly). An honest description would be "swimming with psychologically disturbed teenaged boy dolphins", but for PR reasons they keep these facts as part of the small print.

The nearest I can get to describing it in words is this: Imagine donning a lifejacket, climbing into a swimming-pool full of salt water and then being batted about with giant rubbery sausages the size of pillar-boxes. That's what swimming with dolphins is like. Glad I did it once, wouldn't want to go there again.

And that set me to thinking of a few things I've done once in my life which I wouldn't want to repeat ever:

1) Having bacillary dysentery
2) Having a full-blown unmedicated asthma attack
3) Spraining my finger
4) Waiting on Sheffield station for 4 hours
5) Being hit from behind while stationary by a Ford Sierra driven by a total plonker who failed to notice the red light because they were on a mobile phone at the time
6) Sitting an O-level German exam
7) Being trapped in a corner of a pub by an obsessive New-Age nutter who "recognised me" as a fellow Atlantean
8) Going down the 'Boa Constrictor' waterslide at Coral Reef pool the wrong way up
9) Falling off a cliff
10) Watching a really piss-poor B movie called "Drug Smugglers" on video at full volume on an Indonesian overnight bus

In the interests of starting another blogosphere meme, I hereby tag Boyo, Gadjo, Scarlet, Inkspot and Daphne to produce their own similar lists.


Gadjo Dilo said...

Thanks for the tag, Gyp. I'd also heard (via comedian Bill Bailey, and it doesn't get any more authoritative than that) that swimming with dolphins is not quite the Disney experience.

Scarlet-Blue said...

Imagine donning a lifejacket, climbing into a swimming-pool full of salt water and then being batted about with giant rubbery sausages the size of pillar-boxes.
This made me laugh out loud [or quietly titter] - either way, it's not something I usually do when reading.
Thank you for the tag, I will endeavour to spread it far and wide.

No Good Boyo said...

Mrs Boyo assures me that dolphins are not big fish but some sort of animal. The thought of swimming with them has always worried me. I'm a fine figure of a man and appeal to both men and women. Could these squeaking mermaids resist me?

Gyppo Byard said...

Gadjo bor - I had heard Bill Bailey on the subject before going out, but try explaining to a 10-year old that "nah, that's a rubbish holiday activity because a middle-aged comedian says so". Djangolina's comment afterwards was "Those dolphins are assassins with flippers!"

Scarlet - we endeavour to please.

Boyo - I think you missed the adverb "plaintively" after "appeal". In any case, you are instructed to keep your legs firmly closed to forestall the dolphins taking a close, personal and sharply-toothed interest in your nadgers. And the dolphins clearly enjoy frotting people and get quite visibly and alarmingly turned on by it. Yet another thing one really wouldn't want to have to explain to a 10-year old girl...

The Jules said...

A lot of fish swim with dolphins, and that tends to turn into a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Ha, Jules, that is top, if it's an original joke you should try to sell it to e.g. Bill Bailey!

Gyppo Byard said...

Indeed Gadjo - falls into my "I wish I'd said that, but now I've heard it I doubtless will at some point in the future" category.

Thanks Jules!

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Gyppo, you have nailed the secret to making in-laws bearable: pick a partner whose parents live next door to Bali. That's where I've been going wrong. My past partners' parents lived in (1) Algeria and (2) the arse end of Staffordshire. The next best thing to that is picking an orphan as a partner.

I don't usually do tags but I have done so many things in my life which I wouldn't want to repeat I could make a whole blog post out of it.

WV: balis - really!

Gyppo Byard said...

Dapphers - which arse end of Staffordshire? Speaking as one who grew up in Worcestershire literally 5 minutes walk from the county boundary, but aware of what North Staffs is like two, it strikes me that Staffs is genuinely a county with two arses and no head.

Scarlet-Blue said...

You got a bit excited about your two arses, didn't you Mr Gyppo?

Gyppo Byard said...

Wouldn't anyone?

BTW, I met Mrs Pouncer in person last night and was able to ask her 2 categorical questions -

1) Is Scarlet female?
2) Is Scarlet ginger?

Had to be done, sorry. But at least I'm enough of a gentleman not to reveal the answers... :oD

Ghanshyam Nair said...

Someone told me that dolphins are the only creatures apart from humans who kill for non-culinary purposes. Cuddly!

Gyppo Byard said...

Mr Nair - I'm glad you told me that *after* I climbed into a pool with them!

Scarlet-Blue said...

Ha!!! I've just popped back here because I'm going to write my 'Once in a Lifetime' list....
So now you know that I'm NOT GINGER... and I am female.
Cheeky buggers.