I've not long returned from a much needed break away to an idyllic island getaway, with horizon stretching sea views and passing pods of dolphins, stocked mini bars and bubbling jacuzzis, bling bowling alleys and all you can eat 5 star cuisine, secluded private beaches with glass elevator entrances, pool side cocktails and lazy loungers...
The classic 'country cliches' were funny to watch unfold over the lazy 7 days, much of it were spent mooching around the pool and beach, a place where people still play out their idiosyncrasies, even when half naked.
The Germans lived up to their classic towel-bandit behaviour round the poolside. They love getting dibs on the loungers and god forbid you move a towel, all scheisse breaks loose. My girlfriend and I had the pleasure of watching some middle aged lady go sicko at some dude who obviously didn't speak a common language.
She appeared outa nowhere and I hadnt seen her all day, yet someone had moved her towel. Call the Gestapo, its not like theres at least 12 other empty loungers around! Figures out, she had miscued it altogether, wasn't even 'her' lounger, it was 5m away to the right. Take a chill pill lady and use it to park your fat ass, cos the sooner you take it outa the way of my sunlight here, the better!
An observation that annoyed me came from an overly demanding young Indian couple. They annoyed the shit outa me with their constant pestering and bickering of the waiting staff. Hounding them with orders of freshly made dishes, (there were over 40 options to eat from as it were, all cooked fresh) requests that appeared out of thin air, no menus in sight, clicky fingers, and having worked in hospo for many years, nothing gets me more wound up than clicky fingers.
But their attitudes to people and the world in general annoyed me. They left rubbish strewn wherever they parked up, expecting others to pick it up after them, when a bin was ever only metres away. The way the dude wore his jocks around the pool also had me in stitches, but sick stitches. They looked like he wore them all day and all night, day in day out, and the dude was flapping about in my pool? Sicko. Get some swimmers on, I dont care if you wanna crank out the budgie smugglers, the board shorts or the in-betweeners, but dont roll round in your bloody sweaty ass jocks and then go dip your bollocks in the stagnant water we all share. Come on man, take your head outa your ass.
I hate going somewhere and at least not being to say a couple of words of the spoken dialect. The standard pleasantries is usually the bare minimum, however rubbish it sounds rolling off the tongue, its an effort to relate. The week had me thinking on the dynamics of the European Union and how there were so many languages and cultures, so many mannerisms and ways of dealing with situations, that observing several countries all trying to enjoy themselves, was entertainment in itself.
The English were reserved, polite and did their things without too much bother. They thoroughly enjoyed the selection of 'full english' accompaniments at breakfast times. Although, if I were to make an observation slightly more interesting than the normal cliches, the only women to roll out the fake plastic racks of boob were three independent English females... what does that say, someone please enlighten me.
A group of young Scottish girls were loud and boisterous and were an entertaining conversation to overhear in their booming scottish accents....
'oh, aye, looks like I rolled in at 3am lassies, ive got a txt here saying 'im langered goin home', youse hussies must of stayed til morn'
They were backpackers in a 5 star. Partypackers giving it the large one every night. Had obviously scored the same sweet deal we did on Groupon ;) Although, we arrived on the Flashpackers ticket. Preferring to swap the hungover slept-in mornings with an ocean swim and a 4 course breakfast by the pool to start our days.
The only North American accent I heard all week echoed out from the bar, a solitary guy, sitting there talking to anyone that would listen. He was out buying property. I switched off after that.
The funniest episode came when an Eastern European man, of about 55yrs, waltzed into the pool arena and started entertaining three big boned women, who all seemed to know him. I had them down as Romanians but it was only a guess. Anyways, this old dude is strutting it in a pair of saggy speedos and his 'package' just seems to be abnormally big, it was seriously the first thing you noticed when he spun round, spose it didnt help that he was flapping his arms around like a bird, and squatting with his arms out like a 'im a little teapot' dance.
He broke into a aerobo class and started punching the air, Jackie Chan styles, followed with the grunts and sharp yelps. He had everyone quietly laughing, but it seemed like he was in his own little world, we weren't even there, him and his harem of 3 big elderly companions just cackled away, squealing and hollering with old mate taking running jumps to land himself in between 2 of them on the loungers. He was hilarious. Whoever and where ever he came from. He was my poolside hero of the week.
So obviously I had too much time on my hands to poke fun at country cliches whilst indulging in the sweet sensation of 5 star treatment on an island getaway.
To everyone else, we probably looked like a pair of smuggy bastards, talking a mish mash of english, spanish and portuguese, always munching on food and drink, making strange noises to each other, the couple that made sandwiches at breakfast to eat for lunch, who were always on the verge of laughing in the elevators, who always thanked in Greek, who farted in an elevator as they jumped out to waiting dinner guests, who bought beers at the local shop across the road and drank on their balcony, who played music in their room, who played pool at the run down local taverna down the road. But to that I say................. nada. Cos we cleaned as we went, we acknowledged as we went, we tipped as rolled and smiled as it all unfolded.
But I see how that can be perceived as smuggy. But as long as its done humbly and with conviction, its cool.
And that is what traveling has taught me. Be humble, and if you do something, do it with conviction.
Efharisto Greece for another lesson in travel.