Hot toothpaste and moonlight dips


I don’t know about the rest of you but things like hot runny toothpaste squirting out, sizzling, characterized my week. Jumping on my bike only to bounce right back off of it – why didn’t I park in the shade? Sweat pimples – great! Stomach bloat from drinking way too much iced water. I should note here that I don’t have air con at home or at work. So after six consecutive days where the mercury boiled above 40 degrees (!) I thought I would do a little review on the town’s swimming venues and other tactical attempts to cool down.
Unfortunately during the day the town pool is pretty much in the full sun, so the other morning I broke the Swimming Guild Code of lap swimming and swam my laps (in both directions) pressed up to one side in the only sliver of shade.
There are some places that have got the air con really pumping, places like the supermarkets. There’s nothing like a spot of shell-shocked meandering down aisles packed to overwhelming with stuff. There’s also the cinema, a great way to cool off no matter what the critics say. Great timing on behalf of the Travelling Sydney Film Festival with hours spent inside the chilled cavern of Araluen theatre.
My favourite though is the library – ooh lordy, it sure is cool in there! Instead of overwhelming aisles of stuff, glorious aisles of books and inspiration and information, all for free and free of perspiration!
When it’s too far to go to Two Mile or Ellery and it’s too late to get my five bucks’ worth at the town pool, one of my favourite swelter belter pastimes is visiting the various hotel pools. Sunset, a cold drink and, depending on the venue, maybe a banana lounge and a pool of cold clear water to get into when the going gets hot. This is by no means a comprehensive review. These are just the ones that are near enough not to ruin the whole experience by working up too much of a sweat on the bike ride home.
The Oasis Hotel has a fine pool characterized by its donut shape and the huge cabbage palms that stand around it. This pool has to be the coldest pool in Alice Springs! I don’t know if it’s the shade of those palms or the amount of chlorine; the more you add the colder it gets …
I often go the extra couple of hundred meters to The Gap View Hotel, which is a heavenly little haven from the heat.  A choice of two pools, one a beach style entry with built-in bar (it’s all about lounging in the shallows) or the nice and deep plunge pool (no diving though for obvious safety reasons).  Also in The Gap’s favour are their $7 wedges and the sporadic loud tune that will belt every now and then across the grassy, palm-shady poolsides.
Then there’s The Chifley. Now The Chifley in theory has a great pool facility, tables and chairs all around, it looks clean and is pretty shady. The weird thing is that I’ve never actually seen anybody swimming in there. Maybe I’m odd but I just don’t want to be the only one splashing around with all the other patrons staring at me. Not that they would have paid me any attention of course, but every time I have gone there, I’ve ended up heading off to one of my other favourites.
Now this one is on the quiet side so just quietly: the Crown Plaza Hotel. I’m not sure what the official policy is regarding the casual visitor and a beverage by the poolside accompanied by a swim. What I do know is that in the evening it is like slipping into cool blue silk, it’s unusually silent with very few punters moon bathing in the banana chairs all in a row. With a couple playing cards in a foreign language over in the shadows and bats swooping above this is a great spot for a night swim.
The verdict according to my itchy feet: The Gap View Hotel for a social swim and The Crown Plaza Hotel for after dark dipping.


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