Posted by: Megan | July 17, 2007

Laps of Luxury …

Nowadays it is no problem for me to pay the 50 Yuan to go for a swim in 5 star luxuries, but when you are living on a tours leader’s allowance of 120 Yuan a day, this is a significant outlay… Nowadays I could just write it off as a blogging expense (just joking Darrell and Manch), but you know what? I don’t. Somewhere along the line of tour leading I got addicted to scamming my way into five star swimming pools where the adrenaline rush of success would fuel my Australian crawl/ breaststroke combination laps that would send me into a deep aquatic bliss. Yes, I know there is an edge of dishonesty here but let me take you back to Hong Kong and paint you the picture, and then judge for yourself. Would you be any different in my circumstances….?


In an absent minded manner, fellow tour leader Bruce and I would grace ourselves with one of the fluffy white towels that aligned one of the most sublime outdoor swimming pools and spas in the world – poised at a floor level that enabled endless gazing at utter breathtaking views of Hong Kong Harbour! Clearly, after long-adventure-ridden-journeys across mainland China – could you argue why Bruce and I added this little ‘extra curricula’ activity as one outside the realms of those in our leader’s notes – noting it as a ‘must do’ activity – during time off? With our self righteous bravado, the staff at the Hotel Intercontinental hardly blinked an eye with regards to our status as real guests over merely lookie-like versions – as were we. If truth be known, minus our fallen into a state of disrepute backpacks, Bruce and I scrubbed up OK! Intermittent tropical cocktails on the landscaped sun terrace not only perfectly complemented our alter egos but too helped with our guise as guests!


Carefree strokes were not always as easy as those that caressed the waters of Hong Kong. When I transferred to Borneo to lead, Bruce came and visited me. Not only did he have the challenge of planning his strategy as a member of the group instead of a tour leader – ‘laid back and A-social’ – ‘allusive and aloof’ – ‘pensive yet passionate’ or ‘reserved but also relaxed’ – he had the challenge of taking on the persona of another ‘guest’ – at the Kota Kinabalu Hyatt Hotel! Only 2 laps down and already the pool Nazi began to scrutinise our status of real guests. Exactly – absent minded mannerisms and self righteous Brava dory somehow failed us!



I am not sure which ‘style’ Bruce adopted in his measure to ‘save’ us but I am thinking it was the ‘reserved but also relaxed’ manner that won the pool Nazi over! Thankfully, the early morning fog in Bruce’s brain – from jetlag – spat out a convincing tale of how our Intrepid boss *Celia Chung would be checking into a reserved suite at 9am – informing us to meet her at the poolside and just swim to bide time. And then how – that somehow – her name had failed to appear on the reservation list when we checked. With the addition of Bruce’s business card handed over, it laminated the fact that we worked for … an adventure travel company! Our story was accepted, we were allowed to keep on swimming, and managed to survive the incident without any serious loss of face. Buying breakfast seemed only fair on the premises thereafter!

With Shanghai as my first port of call back into China as a ‘blogger come leader’ … I must look up and see whether or not the JC Mandarin still exists …

* Names of co scamming swimmers have been changed to protect their identities and their reputations. Some of them are now in very high up positions in the Intrepid management chain!

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