Friday, June 25, 2004

Water World for Adults

Besides the absence of natural thermal springs, I can’t think of any reason why Minnesota can’t have a water park like the one at Zalakoros. Sure, part of the appeal, especially for old, sick people is the healing properties of the hot springs, but they reek of sulpher and the water isn’t quite hot enough for me, and I still found plenty to do there. We started at the hot springs (which, according to my guide book are 92 degrees Fahrenheit, amazing for natural hot springs, but not so hot for a soak), surrounded by silent, soaking, old German couples. I’m spoiled by my mom’s hot tub which is kept at 106, so I couldn’t take much of the tepid water – or the surly, sickly Germans.

Things got better when we left that scene for the wave pool. The wave pool is heated, but not thermal, and at 15 minute intervals, at the sound of the bell, someone turns on a machine that throws the water into big waves, bobbing the occupants of the pool up and down and against walls and each other. The waves didn’t last very long, so we moved on.

Next came the river pool, which has powerful jets that simulate a current and sweep you along around the artificial river’s path. At 15 minute intervals with more bells, the river changed into different kinds of underwater massaging jets and waterfalls. We stayed long enough to learn the pattern of the bells, allowing ourselves to be trained like Pavlov’s dogs, so we could beat the Germans and the Hungarians to the Next Good Thing. Then we had to go – for we were very busy – to the sauna.

All of this fun, warmth, and laughter, appeals to children, certainly, but mostly it’s used by adults. You could look over as the river current swept you along and see someone twice your age, laughing and enjoying the same sensations. It’s Water World for adults, and we’d all be happier if we’d build one in Minnesota.

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