We have a botched Rendez-vous at Kinderdijk and we go to another amusement park in Holland. It’s my turn to be amused as I stick my card into the swimming pool turnstile and the little electronic message pops up and says: ‘Gaat u verder’. What else would I do? I want to pack up at the incongruity of it all and I have to smile and think: I have come a long way! I have to think of the swimming pool blog mentioned previously as I obediently put my battered shoes on the shelf outside the pool, thank goodness I don’t need a swimming cap and there are no specific specs regarding the type of cozzie to be worn! I sidle into the changing booth, which to the unitiated, opens on one end and spits you out on the other so that you’re within reach of a locker. In Holland you mostly get your fifty cents back for the locker, in other places it’s tough tackie if you want to fetch something, you have to insert another coin if you open the locker and close it again. So you find your way to the pool, somewhere it says to wash your feet, I mostly ignore this and sidestep any kind of shower, I am clean and the showers could be freezing. In the pool I do my best to ignore the roof (so that I can fool myself for split seconds at a time that I’m enjoying a swim outdoors) unless it’s a really fancy dome-type affair and I might be excused for believing I’m somewhere tropical, ha ha! Once you’ve had your swim and hoped that you haven’t caught any warts or anything else that thrives in indoor pools, another funny sight greets you: people treat the communal showering area like the bathroom at home, having a thorough shampoo and wash with bathing costumes intact, well mostly. Usually this is something you do at home? I suppose it saves a bob or two and while you are semi-undressed, it’s as good a time as any. On your way out you may be lucky enough to catch a free hair-dryer or one with tokens. THere’s no message on the turnstile as I leave, too sad.
I had to guffaw at the hotel receptionist (I was trying to phone my Kinderdijk Rendez-vous) who asked me ‘Wat kan ik voor u beteken?’ Well you could mean a great deal to me or nothing at all, I had to say ‘excuseer’ twice as I was mostly tempted to unburden my many troubles on her, when I realised that that probably wasn’t the aim of the exercise. This being Holland, I was put through to the room number in question in a friendly helpful manner and I’m sure I could have asked to speak English too. I’m wary of doing this because I invariably switch to very poor Dutch half way through the conversation and then the person on the other end politely asks: ‘Do you want to speak English or not?’
I was also tempted to phone the ‘calamiteiten nummer’ at the camp site and I pictured the conversation going something like this: ‘Oh what a calamity!’ Then of course I couldn’t get any further because I wondered if people still used this word in English and what proportions would an emergency have to take on to be described as a calamity.
In Holland the eclectic decor also tickles my fancy….We’ve visited a pool that had African animals all over the walls and Bahama-style ‘shade’ jobs. Our favourite attraction park has a Western theme and if I wanted to I could stock up on cowboy boots, a Stetson hat, Red Indian type dreamcatchers etc, it’s my dream! Lo and behold, it might be time to phone the ‘calamiteiten nummer’ because what have we here, cowboys? No just people getting their kicks doing the Roller Coasters and stuff in Western gear, probably day-dreaming about taming a mustang or roping a few steers! Our latest visit to Toverland had me marveling once again. I’m sure the designer read Lord of the Rings (there’s a huge stand-alone tower that looks like a tree sporting a water-slide), some Greek myhtology (there’s a Trojan Horse at the entrance to a massive wooden roller coaster), the indoor area has European style (there was a crooked man who lived in a crooked house) houses for murals mixed with Aladin style decor…All wierd and wonderful!
Then while I was queueing (did I pay to queue?) for a ride, I got to wondering what my stone-age ancestor would have thought of what we do for thrills as she ducked the mammoth and possibly her partner who was going to drag her around by her hair later on…. Oh yes, what we do for fun….