The overview: What I did with my last week.
March 20, 2008

I'm going to put an end to all the holiday questions that almost everyone had flooded me with. Almost everyone because Veems is only capable of talking about herself, Boo seems to have saved a week's worth of maths nerdery to dump on me upon my return and all Jason has said thus far is "You're back? Get back to work!" and made whipping noises.

The holiday was not that great. It was a last minute thing that I decided to do because I was all kinds of burnt out. England was about to get hit with huge winds and whipping rain, so I figured why not?

Me and a friend decided to go to Mallorca and we did this based purely on what we were sold in the package. 50 bought us an all-inclusive deal which means an open bar and as much food as we can eat. When food is free, I eat a lot of it.

But you would never know I was in Spain from the food served daily. We never expected anything but mass-produced fried breakfast, but there's something very off-putting about trying to select a fried egg from a tray of sixty. These would come with a shot of juice, a tasteless tube they called a sausage and toast from a machine set to char. There was this pink lump that had a sign saying "Bacon" above it, but it was a lie.

But this was expected. What came as a bit of a shock were the main meals which consisted of nothing but chips. You could have chips and something like pizza or a hot dog or a burger or you could have a salad. There was also always some kind of fish up for grabs, so I usually went for that. But it was food I could have eaten here without any fuss, which I felt was pretty pointless.

The bar was a huge scam, too. I was limited to what I drunk, so all I could drink were house spirits, local lager and soft drinks. Oh, and chocolate milk for some reason.

But the lager was tampered with! Usually resorts just water the lager down, and I can live with that, as could anyone when the bar is free anyway. They know this so they thought about it and decided to add more gas. The lager was fizzy to the point where if you drunk more than one in an hour, you bloated like mad.

This made me pretty spiteful, but after a few days of forcing myself to keep drinking this gassy lager, I retired on account of my health. Instead, I decided to drink my bodyweight in coke. And even here they tried to foil me. While the bar menu advertises pints, what they give you is either a thick class beaker or a small plastic cup, fill half of it with two huge ice-cubes and give you a splash of coke. I decided the best thing to do was to sit at the bar, down the drink, and ask for another. Over and over again.

This didn't make me any friends with the bar staff who would routinely ignore me when they could get away with it. And as they could just pretend to not understand English, this was a lot.

A bigger annoyance was that all the stuff I wanted to do was closed until the day after I went home.

I was told they did jetski hires fifteen minutes away from the hotel. The do, but it was closed. I was promised paragliding. Closed. Hell, the guy I went with was all excited about this big marine centre nearby because you can get a photo taken with a sea lion that's been trained to hug you. I didn't mind going because I could make tasteless Crocodile Hunter jokes by the stingray tank, but, though the marine centre was open, the sea lion was, get this, on holiday. So we didn't do that either.

I'll cut the list short. The only thing on the island open was a crazy gold course. I played one hundred and eight holes of crazy golf. There was nothing else to do!

Then there were the Germans.

We were at this nice little bar watching the football. Liverpool vs. Milan, I believe. We went a few times for want of something to do and drink minus less gas than the sun. Feeling particularly British, we decided to drink pints of yummy John Smith's ale and worked in ye olde round system. The match was drawing to a close, and it was my round. I was hurried, but there was a queue and I politely waited in it, waiting a respectable distance from the person in front. No big deal, I could still see the TV and could chat with the locals about the good result coming Liverpool's way.

With this, a middle-aged German woman barged into the small gap between me and the guy getting served and waved an empty half pint glass under the barmen's nose.

I raised an eyebrow, but did nothing. I could wait another minute and the match was more interesting then some sour faced Germen. The bartender, a short, tubby but likeable Spaniard who could list every Manchester United player since the dawn of time, wasn't as forgiving. He brushed the empty glass out of his face and went to take mine. This did not go over well, and lots of ranting in German ensued.

"It's fine", I said, probably thinking that the Germen would not understand English. "I can wait a few more seconds. Unlike some at this bar, it doesn't look like I might fall foul of senility anytime soon."

If looks could kill. I was sat outside the bar and jumped no less than twice when I happened to avert my gaze inside and discover said woman had still got me locked in a death glare some twenty minutes later.

There's a few more tales, like how I was attacked repeatedly by a finch, how the easyjet plane nearly decapitated me and the joys of trying to play table tennis on a table set at a 25 degree slant to the left. But I'll fast forward to the end, past the Spanish airport food stall that kept trying to tell me they were out of coffee when I'd asked for a bottle of water and past the small child who tried to snatch my GBA. Once back in Heathrow, we discovered we were one suitcase short.

Amazingly, it wasn't mine, predictably, it would still be me that suffered. My bag came out early, but of my friend's there was no sign. Understandably annoyed, he stomped off to the baggage office to enquire and I stood guard in case his was burped out late. It wasn't, but security did wonder why someone with their case already in hand was so interested in other people's luggage. It was decided I was a luggage thief! Security apprehended me, took me aside and questioned my thoroughly as if being asked the same question over and over again would get me to admit to wanting to steal people's dirty clothes or that my passport would suddenly have the words "Child Molester" where my name should be if they kept looking at it.

I explained the situation and was marched to the baggage claims office where I had to be verified. When I was, not so much as a sorry. Just a Hmph! and off they went.

In a nutshell, that was my holiday. Aren't you all jealous?

Most recent blog posts from Gary Hartley...

goldenvortex goldenvortex - March 20, 2008 (05:39 PM)
At least you got away in the sun. I'm stuck in Dundee, which is rainy and infested with Neds. In fact, I'm 100% sure that without the huge student population here, they'd have nothing but neds.:(

You can't even walk through town without being confronted with humourous sob stories about abusive husbands and inexpensive bus journeys.
pup pup - March 20, 2008 (05:49 PM)
Uhmm... did you get some time in the sun at least?
honestgamer honestgamer - March 20, 2008 (05:53 PM)
My whip is a bull whip.

I didn't ask how your trip went because it was pretty clear that it went poorly from your blog entries during your absence. Of course, your stories NOW were quite interesting, so thanks for sharing them.

Tourist season starts soon worldwide. At least by going early, you missed out on the crowds of scantily-clad college girls on vacation!
pup pup - March 20, 2008 (07:40 PM)
Whew. Tragedy avoided, for the girls.
wolfqueen001 wolfqueen001 - March 20, 2008 (09:27 PM)
Yeah, really. Those girls would've been all over him. =O

Seriously, though. Wow, EmP. That sounds like it really sucked. Are you sure it did you any good? You tell me it did, but I dunno. I always seem to find something a bit more illuminating here.

Like, you said you weren't "all kinds of burnt out" earlier today when I was worrying about you with it; I knew you were exhausted before the break, but not that bad...

Anyway, least you got out of the rain, I suppose. Wish I could've done that a month ago when it was windy, snowy, sleety, gross out. Really gay.

And I want to hear about how the jet almost decapatitated you! That's kind of important, I would think. Jesus. Nothing ever seems to go right for you, does it? -_-;

Also, concerning the luggage thing, I think they thought you were a terrorist. I dunno. That's the way I saw it. Unless they specifically said "Are you trying to steal people's stuff? lololol"

And another thing - always assume foreignrs know some English. Seriously. That's seriouly embarrassing when you think they can't understand you when they really do (as you suredly figured out).'ll really need to watch out for that if you ever came here. >_> Not that you would, of course. Knowing your luck, you'll probably get mugged as soon as you got off the plane or something.

Anyway, back to the important question. So... did this help you out at all? I mean, you took the damn break to get... a damn break for Christ's sake, and it seems like you didn't get much of that, even.
sashanan sashanan - March 21, 2008 (08:50 AM)
Sounds like you had a great holiday. Bars I've never been the type for, and my preferred style of holiday is to visit friends abroad so as to avoid all the usual pains of holiday resorts and breakfasts made out of profession rather than love; but I do fly a lot and I'm happy to say I've never run afoul of the security anywhere.

For my US holidays specifically, I credit my Johnny Cash T-shirt. Scary guys with guns go all "ohmygosh you're a Cash fan!" on you when you wear one of those.
MartinG MartinG - March 21, 2008 (02:38 PM)
I'm telling you, go to real Spain next time!
WilltheGreat WilltheGreat - March 21, 2008 (03:31 PM)
Or come to Canada.

It's nice and warm out here on Vancouver Island.
TheBadger TheBadger - April 26, 2008 (04:17 AM)
At least I got my luggage back ?

Howdy Fella thought I would take this opportunity from your constant nagging to join the fray.
EmP EmP - April 26, 2008 (05:18 AM)
You caved and bought No More Hereos? Good man. It's the best thing on the Wii bar none.

Your luggage aside, 108 holes of crazy golf is too much. Even more so when, after it was all said and done, it was a bloody draw!

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