The Tikal Inn had blue floors and it rambled and its stucco walls echoed and the place was not of the modern world at all -- it seemed to have been eaten by the rain forest and I wondered if we would disappear while we slept.
There was a pool that nobody swam in. It was enormous and inhabited by anole lizards and it gave the impression that monkeys drank from it at night under the moon.
But I swam in it. I had to. I needed to dive into its green waters and wash the dust and the fear of the Western Highway from my brow -- I felt like Esther Williams in a B-movie, the one in which Esther is kidnapped by Tyrone Power and taken by jeep into the jungle. She demands to swim. Tyrone won’t untie her. Esther screams -- she can see the jungle pool filled with lotus flowers, she simply must swim. Tyrone says he can’t trust her, he is certain she will escape, or worse, she will be devoured by the great river anaconda. Esther reasons with him, “And where exactly will I escape to? The border must be a thousand miles from here! You cad! Let me swim!” Power releases Esther and she makes a magnificent dive into the tannin waters. Suddenly Bob Hope appears! I told you it was a B movie.
As I swam, I watched Rockbottom stroll through the court yard. She paused, put her meaty hands on her hips and called to me, “Wolfy! Miss Wolfy!”
I continued my wobbly breaststroke and ignored her, “Miss Wolfy! I wouldn’t swim in that pool. Its filthy.” I dove down, and kicked and kicked, I touched the bottom and wished I could stay there for tea with Esther.