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.