HOLIDAY SPECIAL: WHAT I DONE IN MAJORCA – PART FOUR: ANECDOTES VOL 1
So far, you’ve read somewhere in the region of six thousand words on my Majorcan family holiday.
I hope you’re proud of yourself.
Since you’ve stuck around for the careful build up work in episodes one, two and three – well, you might as well enjoy some hard earned payoff here. Sit back, slip off your shoes, recline your seat, loosen up to three of your belts… And relax: It’s time for a series of holiday anecdotes!
WHERE WE STAYED
Our hotel was one of a series of hotels that operate under the banner of ‘Inturotel’. The main one was this big old bastard on the seafront – the Esmeralda Park. It’s an all singing, all dancing, all European affair, with the grounds full of interesting shaped swimming pools, water features, mini golf courses, and some sort of fucking stage for performances. It’s full to the brim with sunburnt, sunbed thieves and a kind of Foreign Legion version of Butlin’s Redcoats.
When my wife initially booked up, this was the place she thought we’d be staying in. It wasn’t. We were staying in a slightly less expensive sister hotel, 5 minutes away – the Esmeralda Garden.
…It was alright, as it happens. The place was definitely quieter, which was no bad thing. Granted, the pool was just a rectangle, but you could arrive at it confident on the assumption that you’d get a seat. Also, there were no Germanic children’s entertainers walking around dressed up as dogs, pestering you to high five them. So, there’s two things going for it.
Our apartment was on the top floor – the third – and slightly out of reach of the lift, which ended on the second. That too was alright, as the one flight of stairs offered some mild exercise. I only fell up them once, but that was whilst slightly drunk; carrying inflatables, and wearing sunglasses indoors.
The room had a bathroom with one of those bath / shower switch tap things – ours was jammed. Didn’t matter though – the toilet worked, the place was well lit, and the tiles were in a good state of repair. In terms of sleeping arrangements, the boys took the bedroom, with the wife and I converting a couple of shit settees into a bed every night – Transformers style.
In the day, during the odd moments of “down time”, the boys would gather on our bedding to watch a 22″ Grundig television, which was affixed to the wall. It took an unusually long time to switch on, and would default to a Inturotel information screen, offering details about beach zumba sessions you could sign up for. In terms of kids channels, the boys watched disproportionate amount of CITV – which never gets a look in at home. Beyond showing episodes of ‘Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated’, the channel’s only other output seemed to be episodes of some sort of Asian American teen comedy-drama, ‘Make it Pop’.
The balcony, you’ll be glad to hear, offered unbeatable views of one of those ‘Happy Parks’, and a Karaoke Bar (which I’ll discuss in full later). It also provided a small drying rack, which sadly fell well short of the space required to meet our drying needs.
WHAT WE ATE AND WHERE
No sir, we didn’t stay at the big, flashy hotel… But we certainly ate there. Twice a day. All we had to do was wander over – eventually employing a short cut and sneaky side door that our room key worked on – then present our room number to a nice Dutch woman stood at a plinth, walk in and park our arses.
It was a massive great dining room, full of identikit, tired looking families with small children in various stages of meltdown. This applied to both morning and evening meals. At peak times, when at maximum capacity, the place had an air of enjoyable danger – people falling over themselves trying to get to food, tripping over baby seats, walking into each other accidentally, and of course, loudly dropping things. Nothing adds excitement to your meal like pointing out either a spillage or a bit of broken glass to a member of staff. Nothing.
Whilst my other half dined on bits of fruit, and the boys ate nothing but bread, or slightly odd Coco Pops, I adopted a different approach. Every single day for 10 days, I ate a breakfast of the following:
- Yesterday’s Tapas style sausages, with green peppers
- Around 4 rashers of weird, caramelised streaky bacon
- Occasional hash browns
- Eggs – either fried and circular, or in tiny omelette form
- Slightly too sweet beans
- Up to four croissants, and / or Pan au Chocolates
- A sugary foreign biscuit
This was not necessarily all on the same plate – which, incidentally, if you left behind on your table, would be swiftly cleared away along with your cutlery. My daily feast would all be washed down with up to two cups of surprisingly good Cafe Au Lait (out of a machine).
The idea behind this overly large morning meal? Simple: Half board. It was already paid for, and we wouldn’t be eating again until the evening meal.
…Apart from when we did. This normally took the form of a post swim afternoon pizza, or a whole fuckload of ice cream.
The main difference between the morning and night-time feeding sessions was that the hotel stashed away the drinks machines of an evening. If your kids wanted juice, well, you had to pay the piper. And by pay the piper, I mean we gave the nice waiter 12 Euros and 30 cents for the exact same order every night:
- 1 x San Miguel for the Gentleman
- 1 x Bottled water for the Lady
- Swei Appelsap für die Kinder
In the evening, I mainly ate a bunch of fish. As did Son 2, who ate a a bucket load of fried squid in – what I imagine was – blissful ignorance.
INADEQUATE TOILET FACILITIES
I spent fully 65% of my holiday in the downstairs Esmeralda Park toilet. Given the volume of diners shoveling food into their faces upstairs, you’d think this luxury establishment would lay on a decent sized set of bogs to deal with the resulting waste.
Instead, a over a hundred Dads and their small, piddle pants sons – and, more often than not, very small daughters – had to fight it out over two piss soaked cubicles, and two urinals that were marginally too tall for children to pee into. At peak times, this left a lot of men and boys touching cloth outside of the occupied cubicles; doing a waggle dance, whilst inside, small Ukrainian children busied himself in be-fowling the back walls with their effluent.
That wasn’t even the worst thing. That was the sinks.
Poorly designed and, again, slightly too high up for kids, the entire surface area – a kind of faux marble, I think – would quickly become drenched in water and spilled soap. This in turn would fill up with tissue paper, left by well meaning Dads in an attempt to stem the flow… Which would eventually reach the floor, leaving blackened dirty pools that mingled with piss.
The whole two weeks, I kept thinking:
“There must be another toilet upstairs?? This is just me being stupid… Why would there only be two cubicles?”
But there wasn’t, and I wasn’t. The Ladies, I imagine, must’ve been just about normal.
THE DIFFICULT TRANSITION OF CHILDREN’S BEDTIMES
In the evenings – post meal, etc. – the whole bed time thing was a bit of a thorny issue. My wife and I are sticklers – arseholes even – for a regular bedtime routine: 19:15 for Son 2; 21:00 for Son 1.
Majorca shafted that.
From the second day onward, we didn’t manage to dump the youngest in bed until 22:30, with the eldest following on about half an hour later. The trade off of that, thankfully, was a bit of a lie in until about oh-nine hundred.
All that late bedtime business left about an hour of “me and the wife time” of an evening, which we certainly didn’t spend fornicating. Or going out for that matter, as neither of us are Gerry or Kate McCann. Nope – instead we both sat on our little balcony, getting pissed up on either white rum and flat coke, or inexpensive whiskey, whilst listening to the god awful Karaoke bar over the road.
What’s your vision of paradise?
Does it involve a 65 year old woman from Manchester in a glittery mini-dress pretending to be Tina Turner?
How do you envision the Garden of Eden, as depicted in the Book of Genesis?
Does it look like a pub that’s slowly going out of business, with a stage surrounded by wicker chairs, where pissed up young ladies can attempted to sing the hits of Ed Sheeran (only slightly out of time, and chasing the lyrics)?
Well… That was my nightly entertainment. That, and watching the occasional go-kart crash at the Happy Park, whilst sneering at drunk people pushing buggies around at midnight… And smoking, which I briefly took up as a fun and cool hobby. It’s like vaping, only more cancerous.
Eden Paradise had a weekly carousel of acts – the type I mentioned in the last episode – with each night belonging to a different “turn”. By far my favourite performer was an Italian Freddie Mercury act, who I formed a special bond with (from my perspective), as he was the singer on the first night we got there.
As I polished off probably eight cans of some knock off San Miguel on the balcony, this fella serenaded me from afar with heavily – heavily – accented renditions of Queen songs. Act one: Greatest Hits volume one. This was followed, after a brief intermission, by a full ‘Live Aid’ costume change and selected classics from Greatest Hits volume two. By the end, I was singing along with him as he practically ‘Allo Allo’d the theme from Highlander.
It remains a beautiful memory to this day, and I never set foot in the stupid place once.
COMING THIS FRIDAY: YET MORE ANECDOTES! DIARRHEA! SOME STUFF ABOUT BEACH POLITICS! AN UNDERSEA ADVENTURE!! THE SWIMMING POOL GANG!! POSSIBLY THE TRIP HOME, BUT PROBABLY NOT!!!
* Confused flapping of arms.