A weekly ode to the joys of moaning about your holiday, by Tim Roxborogh.
I've snuck into my fair share of hotels over the years. Never to stay at — goodness no! My parents would be too ashamed and I'd feel way too guilty. But I'd be lying if I said there wasn't an extended period during my 20s where I'd waltz into nice hotels with my togs in my bag and use their swimming pools free of charge. If I was doing some on-foot sightseeing in a hot place like Hanoi or Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, I'd have the swimming gear all packed and would pick the fancy hotel with the fanciest pool and stride on in when I needed cooling off. Confidence was the key and, more often than not, staff would just assume I was a guest.
I mention this braggadocious tomfoolery of youth for two reasons: who am I kidding? I'm proud I used to be this game! What's become of me? I'm way too boring and sensible now to even attempt a Free Hotel Pool Manoeuvre (FHPM) — but wow, wind the clock back a decade and this was my stock in trade in the tropics.
But there's a second reason and it's one that almost brings moisture to the eyes: hotel swipe cards have largely made the FHPM a thing of the past. Improved hotel security has meant many of the pools I used to sneak into are now accessed only by swipe cards.
How distressing! It's sad to think that this entirely harmless outlet for people who are otherwise goody-goods has left us.
I was never someone who wagged school, I never once shoplifted and despite jokes to the contrary, I wouldn't in a million years do a runner from a restaurant. But sunbathe and do some rambunctious breaststroke at a 5-star hotel I wasn't staying in? That was my one outlet for feeling like a rebel. RIP the FHPM, I'll never forget you.
Aussies who say "neck-lace" as two words
This travel bug has been brewing for a little while. I love Australia and some of my best friends (not always a great start to a sentence) are Australian. And I'm not saying all Australians do this, but by jingoes it's got to stop. Necklace. The word is "necklace". To help in case there's any confusion, the "necklace" around your neck should rhyme with "reckless", as in my penchant for spicy bhuja from street vendors in India.
I was recently in Fiji and as I did my lengths — in a hotel I was actually staying at — I heard an Aussie teenage girl say to another guest: "Oh my God I loooove your neck lace." I was tempted to splash water in her face.
Like so many of her countrymen and women, she's under the misconception that the "lace" part of "necklace" is so breathtakingly vital that it needs to be said as a separate word. Sure, the origin of the singular word (that's right, it's just one word, people!) dates back to the late 1500s and is from the Old French word "laz", meaning a string or cord. So yes, the "lace" part of "necklace" does refer to what we understand to be lace.
All of which is vaguely interesting, but no amount of historical knowledge or Wikipedi-ing gives licence to butcher this beautifully conjoined word by saying it as two clumsy ones.
Right! Now that's settled, let's get started on how some of our cousins across the ditch say "haytch" when they see the letter "H". You know it!
Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's Weekend Collective and blogs at RoxboroghReport.com