Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Jolly Hols...

Hello everybody and welcome to 2013! You miss me? No, well tough, am back!

I’m sure some of you will have joined a gym by now or alternatively given up on your New Year resolutions already. I did neither. 2013 is just a continuation thus far. That whole notion of a new year and a new start is lost on me, like the ticking over on midnight will suddenly improve everything around you – I can tell you now, that isn’t the case. Anyway, that’s the pleasantries out the way…

The beginning of the year is one for sales, bargains and cheap buys. Although I feel sorry for the sap who buys a sofa when a sale isn’t on – I mean has anyone actually bought a sofa full price?? And if Primark had a sale surely they would be giving the clothes away? Everyone, like vultures, are looking for that store that goes into administration so they can pick something up for next to nothing! And the other bargain everyone looks for at this time of year is the holiday bargain!

The January blues hit most people. It’s normally the month you are the skintest and yet all you can think about is spending more money to get away from it all. I guess it gives people something to look forward to. The fact that I am skint all year round means I pretty much am guaranteed a "stay-cation" this year. I will take a week off, sleep in everyday and then watch mind numbing, spirit crushing day time TV and chastise myself for wasting annual leave.

However some people get to spend a few weeks in the sun, whether that’s at the beginning of the year or later in the year, something they can look forward to.

I have had my holiday experiences abroad in the sun, although avid readers will know I ain’t a massive fan of the beach holiday – in fact I think I still have some sand in my arse crack from a 1994 family holiday to Menorca!

Menorca was my first holiday abroad, when I was round 13 years old. I think I whinged for most of it as it was too hot, but I do remember my Dad letting me drink sangria and playing cards on the balcony whilst an amorous couple banged away for what seemed like hours in the apartment next door! I also remember my mum having one too many dodgy prawns and for our first family holiday abroad she spent half of it in hospital with food poisoning!

Why is it that you can travel hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles and yet your Dad will still bump into someone he knows?!?!

Two weeks after returning from Menorca, me and r kid went to Fuengirola in Spain with the grandparents, who also wanted to take us away. We were a bit spoilt that year really, as for the previous 10 years I‘d only ever visited Devon twice a year – I knew Brixham better than I did Bradford at one point!

The one lasting memory of that second holiday, would be my Grandma getting a bit, lets say, pissed and realising the word for ‘enough’ in Spanish is ‘basta!’ So she delightfully spent the last hour of one evening shouting "Basta! Basta!" In between fits of laughter! I have never seen her drunk since… Shame really.

I have had plenty of other experiences abroad that range from holiday’s with partners, to my little family holidays with the kids, to trips away with the lads. Obviously I cannot discuss everything that went on during these trips as what goes on abroad stays abroad.

One of the issues that bug me when abroad is the people trying to flog something or beg for something. If I wanted that kind of attention I’d have saved my money and spent 2 weeks wandering the city centre of Bradford!

On a family holiday I was approached by people brandishing scratch cards and, surprise surprise, I won a two week holiday for the following year – ‘No one had ever won before’, so stated the rep – and so we were whisked to a massive, state of the art hotel, given a tour, the kids were allowed to play in the water park bit, and we were even given a refreshing drink. Then 3 hours later was told I’d wasted their time and day as I wouldn’t buy a time share and was basically shown the exit! I know, I know, I can be a little gullible sometimes, but hey don’t we all want something for free and a bargain to boot!

Whilst on holiday in Nerja, Spain, I was constantly approached by blokes who had backwards legs or got around on skateboards. I have to be honest, I feel sorry for these people, but they freak me out a lot! AND why should I give them money when they made the best of what they were born with and got around the town better then I did!! I mean these guys should enter the Olympics; they were much quicker and far more nimble than me. Meanwhile I had sun stroke and sun burn and was hobbling due to a friction burn caused by sand up my arse – I should have been asking them for help and support!

And a lads holiday in Spain just turns into a nightmare when approached by every bar rep going and your mate just getting increasingly wound up with each intrusion. I didn’t mind so much as they were providing free shots with every entry, but it does get too much at some point!

The one thing I have been lucky with when holidaying is that no baggage has gone missing or I’ve never missed a flight (touch wood). I’ve had delays, but not even massive delays! I was once delayed in Singapore airport for 6 hours, but let me tell you, if you’re going to spend hours in an airport you can’t go wrong at Singapore airport!

I have had some tricky moments though. I went to Paris and jumped into an unmarked taxi and showed the guy where I was going. He didn’t speak much English (yeah right!!) and took me down some very winding routes and then kept ringing someone on the mobile – it turned out to be the hotel to get directions - but at the time I thought I was going to be left in a shallow French grave. If I am going to get murdered I don’t want it to be at the hands of Frenchman!! Give me an English serial killer every day of the week!

I also went to Corfu, at the time I wore glasses, and went to a foam party one night – it was awesome up until the point I lost my glasses in the madness and spent the last 4 days of the holiday not being able to see at all – I should have gone to Specsavers!

I went to Cyprus one year, have been twice actually, both times involved a wedding I might add – neither of which was mine! The first time was a mate’s sister’s wedding. We stayed in Pathos and had a ball.

We played football all day by the pool, took the piss out of his brother in law for recreating George Michael and Club Tropicana, got drunk every night, ate a lot of spare ribs and generally had one massive laugh.

Although it wasn’t all funny…

One morning with a hangover I asked him to fetch me up some breakfast, an hour later he returned and informed me that there was nothing left. Later when I went down I was greeted to the breakfast buffet just finishing and seeing the mountains of food left, untouched!

On another occasion, after a night out in Pathos town, he and a few others left me and got in a taxi thinking I was with them. Not being able to find a taxi I walked back to the hotel, but stopped at an all night shop, bought some vodka, a bottle of water and a carton of fresh orange. I tipped the water out, filled up the bottle with fresh orange and added the vodka only to discover that I had bought grapefruit juice instead and I can’t stand grapefruit juice!

Eventually I made it back to the hotel – only then was it they realised I’d not been in the taxi with them!! Charmed I was!!

I very much doubt I will go abroad with him again – he knows who he is (hint: he is one of the three amigos discussed in a previous post!).

So as you can see I am so worldly travelled, and whenever I can I’ve dipped my toe in the culture pool. Granted, most places I’ve been to are Europe based, but I have looked at further afield places in brochures and on a world map! That makes me somewhat of a mini Alan Wicker I reckon!

So in the next month or so people will be scouring the internet for holiday bargains to give them something to look forward to. I think I will just avoid the whole thing though. You can guarantee it will be next time I go abroad that I lose my baggage, get delayed, end up in the wrong country or get killed by a Frenchman.

And no one wants to go out that way now do they?!?!