Friday 30 September 2011

Holiday observations from behind the beard part 2

Arrived safely in Majorca and due to my clever folding skills and bulging pockets, I side stepped baggage reclaim and was delivered via a courtesy bus to the car rental place. 

Oh behave!  - I packed everything but my brain

It was with a surprising lack of fuss and bother that I collected my car and was soon whizzing towards Pollensa, arriving as the sun went down over the mountain.  I should say this was easier than for the British couple that were next to me at the car rental, who apparently hadn’t realised that they would need their driving licences. (the equation, hot country + holiday = total abandonment of sense) was duly noted and would form part of my later research.

As I know Pollensa well and was staying very conveniently in the old town, it took no time at all to find myself enveloped by the hot steamy night, sitting at a table in an ancient but familiar square, armed with a cold cerveza and a note book ready to begin my study.

Now I think it is worth noting here that some of the following research could be contaminated by the romance of the Mediterranean environment.

A Spanish jazz singer serenaded a cocktail of confused holidaymakers,  breathless with the sweltering heat they so craved and chatty locals, acclimatised and animated.

One of the things I noticed in my small study group was the difference between the generations of both the British and Spanish.

I was often passed by old Spanish couples that resembled happy six legged creatures, still arm in arm, walking sticks balancing their gait but seemingly pushing them even closer together, surrounded by their extended families matching their measured pace.

Happy six legged creatures, which on closer observation were actually old Spanish couples, still arm in arm with walking sticks balancing their gait but seemingly pushing them even closer together, often passed me, their extended families around with them matching their pace.

This contrasted with some of the study group who resembled a lame centipede that stretched over the generations, with the older members being dragged along at the back, struggling with the effort of their holiday.

Now obviously the Spanish are used to the heat, which does influence the results, but it was more the reverence they paid to their more mature members including rather than excluding them that was interesting.

So unusually for the Med the weather on my first morning was overcast with a shy sun playing hide and seek with the clouds, however, this mattered not a jot to some of the British males who stripped down to their trunks and could be seen foraging in the town square.

Now there is nothing wrong with making the most of your holiday and the weather but there is not an edifice or situation that deters these creatures from exposing their reddening flesh that has been lovingly exercised with beer and chips.

Not a restaurant nor supermarket or church bars the British belly.

Another moment that made me grateful my beardy weirdy disguise was working, occurred in a little restaurant overlooking the sea. A group of holiday makers, obviously relatively fresh to the island indicated by the red striping, were having a conversation about foot swelling and so took to comparing their bare feet on the cafe table while others tried to drink in the view and enjoy their tortillas. If this wasn’t bad enough the conversation turned to nail fungus, which amazingly acted like a magnet to some other Brits in the vicinity who enthusiastically joined in.

One evening we were treated to a marvellous Mediterranean storm, a sudden downpour, surreal to one schooled in dreary UK drizzle but beautiful and powerful something to savour.

The town square which has a raised central area, surrounded by bustling eateries that are fed by tiny streets and watched over by an ancient church, became a scene of delight and mayhem. The rain as hot as your morning shower, bounced like a million gunshots off the flagstones, running like water falls from the roof tops.

Children not yet weighed down with vanity, kept pace with the torrents, sliding and spinning, enjoying this warm watery event that punctuated the heat of the night.

Spanish people sat under the plentiful cover provided by the large restaurant umbrellas and awnings, hardly breaking off from their nightly socialising to smile at the scene.

In contrast, some of the Brits behaved like a startled herd, in a state of panic they broke cover, blundering into tables, each other and anything else that got in the way of their soggy stampede. This slapstick behaviour by people from a country that sees it's fair share of rain, only made the scene more delightful proving you can't argue with mathematics 
( hot country + holiday = total abandonment of sense)

Tomorrow: Language


  1. I must admit we are an ugly, cringe-making lot en masse.

  2. Ha ha, the Brits abroad. Plenty of material for your study there.

  3. @pear tree - Probably just confused by the sun

    @choclette - Oh yes!