‚We’re nearly at the South Pacific!‘
Excited, Janet points towards the small patch of high ground. I gaze around me in amazement. To our right is a peacock. He’s not fanning out his tail, not looking at us, not making a sound. To the left a woman is lying on a plastic sun lounger. She’s very broad, with a colourful tattoo on her shoulder. A boy is sitting next to her almost lifeless-looking body, staring at us with empty eyes. He must be her kid, I think – the resemblance is uncanny.
We climb a few steps up the slope and walk past the lagoon glittering in the sunlight. Beneath a waterfall people are splashing around. They’re not naked, although I’m firmly of the opinion that you need to be sans clothes in order to lounge about under a waterfall. At the same instant I discard the thought; no, it wouldn’t be a good idea. Nobody wants to see that lot strip off. In other cultures people swim fully clothed, and that might be better than these tiny swimsuits. A clear point in favour of Hindu-ising the West.
Above the waterfall are three cabins. ‚Those are Junior Suits on the edge of the rainforest, with a view over the lagoon!‘ explains the woman guiding us, enthusiastically.
‚Spending the night here is a real adventure!‘
Nearly at the South Pacific? Bit of an exaggeration, lady, I think. That’s just the rainforest! But the woman knows what she’s doing. There’s a tunnel, a hidden path: a shortcut directly to the South Pacific.
I let the words dissolve over and over on my tongue:
I’ve dreamed about it for years, ever since I read a gripping adventure story in a comic book as a boy …
‚… on a boat trip in the South Pacific, Micky and Goofy drop anchor in a lagoon on a small island, where they discover the remains of an extinct culture. Among the ruins they find an enormous ruby. At that moment, Peg-Leg Pete appears on his sailboat, having brought useless bric-a-brac to sell to the sailors and islanders. Pete immediately senses that Micky and Goofy have made a valuable discovery, and spies on them with a bug. Wanting to steal the ruby from Goofy, Pete exploits his weakness for mermaids by dressing up as Mermaid Clarissa, who tries to charm Goofy into surrendering the precious stone.‘
‚Just as the ruse is about to work, an approaching hurricane reaches the three of them, whirling them away along with all sorts of flotsam and jetsam. A pelican is drawn into the hunt for the ruby, rescuing Micky and Goofy from the storm. The ruby, however, falls deep down to the ocean floor …‘
Even today, my hair stands on end (in excitement) when I remember the pictures of palm trees and mermaids. Real ones, of course – not Pete as Clarissa. I would never have fallen for that one.
At the South Pacific
The South Pacific is a bitter disappointment.
What a terrible disappointment, children.
We’re standing in front of the South Pacific and there’s a hole in the sky.
Trap sprung! You fell for it, didn’t you? South Pacific – ha!
Ok, all jokes aside.
It’s time for the truth.
* * *