By BRUCE DENNILL
“Guests come here for the peace and tranquillity of nature. We therefore request everyone to be considerate towards one another and assist us in providing the very best that a tranquil, relaxing resort can provide.”
And later: “Music taste differs. We therefore request that music should not be played loudly or cause a disturbance to others.”
These are quotes from the guest handbook provided by the hosts at a share-block resort called Dikhololo, north of Brits. They’re wonderful for a couple of reasons – because “tranquillity” is mentioned twice (what you realise when you escape the perpetual white noise created by a city is how important silence is) and because “we therefore request” sounds awfully formal, and there’s no way any civic-minded citizen could possibly ignore such authoritative directives.
It’s surprising, then, that when setting out a late morning tea on the patio table – it’s winter, and it’s taken that long to warm up enough – there is the unmistakeable thud of bass coming through very large speakers, soon overlaid by vocals turned up loud enough that we can hear the wor…
“OOOOOOO SOOOOOOOOLE MIIIIIIIIOOOOOO…”
O sol indeed (read it phonetically). What manner of madman is flaunting the regulations so clearly stated in the handbook and, more to the point, disregarding any reasonable sense of community that would allow for recognition of the desire of others to enjoy the “peace and tranquillity” they so desperately wanted?
Fortunately, it took nothing more than a simple phone call to reception to sort it all out.
“Oh, that’s the entertainment here at the main lodge. It’ll be going on for a couple of hours.”
Yes, but your policy states that noise is a no-no, a sentiment we happen to strongly agree with. It’s the sort of thing that makes us book a unit for a holiday.
“But there are lots of other people here enjoying it.”
Ah. That makes it okay then. So you won’t mind if we invite the rest of the coven over later for a dassie impaling? We promise we’ll all enjoy it.
“It’ll be over soon.”
It’s not over soon. Another call to reception, to inform them of this fact.
“Just one more hour. Then it’s over until tomorrow; same time, same place.”
Good. That’s great. Send someone to the chalet. Your reading between the lines is not as fluid as we need it to be.
Enter young man on quad bike, walkie-talkie strapped to his hip. Come on in, sir. Let’s hear it from the experts. Let’s dialogue.
“We advertised it. This singing is in the programme.”
You advertised it? This was on the website when we booked this week a year ago?
“No. It’s in the programme you received at the gate when you arrived yesterday.”
So we couldn’t have known this would be the case ahead of time, you agree?
“No, the programme changes. We don’t plan it a year in advance.”
Right. We should have known. And what of your printed statements – in all your marketing material – underlining the importance of awareness of the needs of others particularly in the area of noise pollution?
“This is what the people like.”
“NEEEESSSUUUN DOOOOOOORRRRMAAAAA. NEEEESSSUUUN DOOOOOOORRRRMAAAAA”
“You can come and join everyone if you like.”
If irony is a cliff, you’ve just stepped off it, pal. We don’t like the fact that we’re the better part of a kilometre away from the main lodge and can very clearly hear the music being played there. The fact that your resort’s regulations forbid the very action you’re endorsing is just the coarse salt in a gaping wound.
“We don’t have as much music in the programme out of season.”
Brilliant. Good to know. We’ll home-school the kids so that our collective schedule is more convenient for you. Is there anyone else we can speak to?
“My boss is in on Monday.”
Fine. We’ll chat to her.
“But she’ll tell you the same thing. It’s in the programme.”
If you absolutely must go to Dikhololo on holiday, please visit www.dihhololo.co.za to check for details of their “entertainment” programme. Forewarned is forearmed. And elbowed.