Sunday, June 28, 2009

[my ideal holiday] by walter mitty esq.

Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Walter Mitty and I'm your host this evening for the 'Holiday of a Man's Dreams' [actually, the holiday of MY dreams].

Let's say you've scraped up the requisite dosh over a three year period and unfortunately, that's all there is. You're going to have to be pretty careful, aren't you? If I were going on this holiday [had to work this in somewhere], there'd be a masterplan, to make sure things would never go wrong, hee hee.

1. The very first and most vital decision is to set your sights on a woman who's just right for the journey, say your wife, girlfriend or if you lack one of those, some lady further afield.

Whoa, not so fast! You might like the lady in the photo below but do remember your financial position.

I always find a good rule of thumb is that you'll know her by her flat footwear, well cut jeans and elegant floral blouse [the rest probably follows too], a lady who insists on paying her half but then accedes to your calm insistence that it's your treat, that you'll pay and there are no strings attached whatsoever.

2. Good, that's done. You now have to steer the itinerary reasonably carefully while not appearing to do so. Obviously you can only put up with flying cattle-class one way, which frees up a bit of capital for the other direction. The Orient Express above might be a little out of your league but there are many lovely trains, even going the steam route could be quite romantic, which is where your choice of lady comes in - you will have made sure she is minus just the right number of complexes and has no environmental qualms about steam.

Now - which way for the train? Out or in? If you take the train out, you will have played one of your semi-luxurious trump cards early and when you get to the canoe part later, she might feel let down. Also, at the end of the holiday, tired, happy but irritable, which would you rather face - the train or cattle-class?

3. Let's say you both opted for cattle-class out and you've sold this part of the trip as an "adventure holiday". The next stage is the canoe trip, being very careful that there are no riverboats or ferries in the vicinity - for goodness sake, do your planning! Disguise your tightfistedness by hiring a whole load of local lads to also paddle their canoes along with you, providing that much needed "atmosphere".

Yes, of course you're going to point out to me that, at the end of a long-haul flight, the last thing a real lady is going to want to do is jump into a canoe, even one with a solid bottom and paddle 10 km.

Well, of course, I forgot to mention - you actually stayed one night in a four star in the capital and went window shopping, which a number of times threatened to break into Real Shopping but you pointed out that these items were hardly fit for carrying in a canoe.

On the way downriver, make sure there is adequate scenery - Obama's country retreat or similar and perhaps the occasional crocodile, for that sense of adventure.

4. You haven't exactly reached the lowest point of your trip yet - that comes later - but she and you will be pretty knackered by now, so you need to up the romance level. From your landing stage, it's up the giant tree's spiral stairway, under that magnificent leafy canopy in the rain - up, up, up - your guides carrying all the baggage and you carrying your lady in a fireman's lift.

At the top, it's out with the waterbottles and a cunningly mixed cocktail will give that burst of energy for the final triumphant stage in the gloaming - the treetop skyway! Yes, through all that mist and rain, one hundred metres above the forest floor, on a swaying walkway, this is your final triumphant approach to your accommodation.

5. The Accommodation. Stressing the Adventure Holiday aspect once again [and more frequently now], you finally arrive at your luxury treehut in its exclusive location, far from any other tourists [who wouldn't have dreamed of coming here], naturally airconditioned, close to a source of water [when the stream flows], authentic building materials ... er ... um ... lovely view ..........

Anyway, the point is that you're now here and here's where you drop your first big surprise - you actually packed, among your clothes, a dresser mirror, which now sits proudly on the "dresser" you construct from bamboo or tea-tree, showing off your scouting skills to best advantage. Don't forget, you'll need those skills when you start the fire later for supper [having caught the fish en route on the river].

6. So there you have it - seven idyllic days, far from the madding crowd and all you have to do is keep her happy and offer to take her anywhere she likes [except home].

That sad, fateful day must now, alas, arrive and you ready yourself for the return journey.

But what's this?!!! Your lady thought she was going to have to paddle back to civilization but instead, you cunning old devil, you ordered an armed military helicopter [necessary to be armed, to fight off indigenous ground to air missiles as you fly over foreign territory, the missiles launched as a result of your being armed and failing to respond by radio].

7. You've kept this bit of excitement to the end and as she and you are winched out of your treehut, as she shouts, "Can't you leave that bloody mirror here?#*!" and you, in a magnificent gesture, fling it to the four winds and hear it smash to smithereens below on the forest floor, as the copter lowers you, with two loud thuds, onto the roof of the already moving Orient Express, as you unattach yourselves and race along the roof to the ladder between the third and fourth carriages, you can rest assured that cocktails are now the order of the day and you have two days of relaxing and duty free shopping before you.

Did my ideal holiday pass muster?


  1. It sounds a bit gymnastic [and I don't mean in the bedroom!] to me, James.

  2. If I say nothing else I'll say that it's a nice picture of the trains!

  3. But think of the romance, Welshcakes and how hunky he'd have to be to light all those fires and fight off the wild animals!

    The steam ones, JPT?

  4. I think perhaps I would pass on that adventure. I can think of much nicer options for a secluded weekend away ;-)

  5. The man cooking dinner and the romantic rolling rhythm of a train, ummm...
    ...and, I like the treetop escape, too. Any rappel or Tyrolean traverse set up? ;D

  6. Cherie - you romantic, you.

    HGF - oh yes. There's a sheer cliff not far from that hut and a Tyrolean, using carabiner and prusik, is needed to get across to a rock, at the foot of which is the burrow of the rare lesser hairless meerkat. Very few humans have viewed this beastie and lived to tell the tale.

  7. haha, but my only questions then are 1. what kind of wine would be in the rucksack with the fruit, cheese and crackers? 2. After all these adventures, will there be a private hot tub to retire to in the evenings; maybe with a little bubbly to go with the bubbles, not forgetting the strawberries, of course... ;)

  8. The strawberries need airlifting in [wrong environment] and the tub is the river until you reach the train; I imagined a chianti might be nice and definitely bubbly in the evening.

  9. The external shot of the train is of the Eastern Orient Express, isn't it?

  10. It is, William.

    I did enjoy writing this though. It came in a fit of peak over about forty minutes. :)


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