Lost in Translation

Online blog of life in Barcelona for a English guy making a life for himself out here and trying desperately to have a good time, become fluent in Spanish, and most of all - not be constantly mistaken for a tourist!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Come to Magaluf - it's HORRIFIC!


Thanks to the recent double Spanish public holiday last Thursday and Friday, I decided to tag on an extra few days of my own holidays and head off to Mallorca. It’s been planned for ages, as a friend back in Manchester has an apartment in Santa Ponsa which I’d arranged to rent. I set off on Monday on the “gruelling” 25 minute flight from Barcelona to Palma. I don’t know how I managed to control the jetlag from such a mammoth trip but I made it in one piece without even having had 40 winks on the plane (obviously the seasoned traveller these days). I’d arranged to meet another friend at the airport, as he was coming in from Manchester. His flight sounded far more comical than mine, as it was full of British sun-goers on their last minute cheap package trips before the resorts switch over to pensioner-mode for the winter. The highlight of the flight, (I have to mention this or he won’t be happy!), was the inflight entertainment. Basically, the hostie was doing her “Welcome aboard this Monarch flight to Palma” speech, and she then added (without so much as a hint of sarcasm) that “Monarch are proud to inform our passengers that today’s inflight entertainment will be a selection of silent TV”, to which a fellow sunseeker a few rows back shouted out loudly (in her OTT common accent) “Silent TV????!!! What the f**k’s Silent TV??!!” It turned out that Silent television was the only possible option on this particular aircraft for the simple reason that it hadn’t been fitted with earphone jacks in the seats. I guess the TV’s had apparently only been bolted to the roof as an afterthought at the last minute to save the cabin crew the bother of doing the safety demo themselves (and presumably give them a few minutes extra to have a crafty gossip in the galley before takeoff). So, Silent TV it was, which of course was a selection of clips from Mr Bean. (Enough to make you pray for a lightening strike to knock the plane’s electrics out!!). There was no time for such high quality entertainment on my ultra-short flight of course. I even missed the drinks trolley on account of the fact that I blinked!

The weather was fantastic when we arrived and we jumped into a taxi and headed off to Santa Ponsa. We’d seen pictures of the apartment and the complex before coming out but they’d been taken in winter and they didn’t do them any justice at all, as it really was absolutely beautiful. Perfect location set back just a couple of minutes from the town, with a huge pool and about 14 sunbeds for every person! (so no cheeky towel-reserving going on by the other guests!) The sun was shining so we did a quick change and flaked out by the pool for the rest of the afternoon. Fab!

Nightlife in Santa Ponsa in October isn’t going to trouble the noise police, and we also seemed to have arrived during the big change-over when the old-folk start arriving with their zimmer frames and aching joints, as the bars were all either pretty empty, or had just a few families and old dears (all British of course) sitting staring at eachother in silence with nothing to talk about except all those old favourite conversation starters that old-people seem to like when they’re on their hols…

“Oooh, it’s warm ‘int it”
“Oooh, it’s our last meal tonight. I think I’ll push t’boat out and have chicken in a basket wi’chips.”
“I can’t abide that foreign muck, gives me terrible wind.”
And so on….

I’d never been to Mallorca before but I’ve been to other British resorts in the Med and knew roughly what to expect. I think the trick is to not take any of it remotely seriously, take the piss as much as you like, and join in the fun so you become part of the whole experience and then other people can laugh at you too and therefore keep the whole horrific spectacle going. Yes, it’s full of Brits who think that saying “por favor” when they ask for their copy of the News of the World will be more than enough to endear them to the locals, and yes, the food is totally geared towards, well… “grease” I suppose. But I’m definitely not knocking it, and I reckon Franco knew what he was doing when he carved-up the island back in the 70’s and decided which resorts would be marketed in Britain, and so they’re just giving people what they want, and with over 30 years experience, they seem to be doing something very right. And before anyone thinks I spent the 4 days looking like I was permanently sniffing shit, I’m pleased to say that I was more than happy to tuck into my full English breakfast every day (not before lunchtime of course) and I thoroughly enjoyed it! (But I have to say, Ooooh, you can’t get decent bacon on the continent like you can back home!! Hehe)

When it came to evening meals though, we tried to swim against the tide a little bit by seeking out the restaurants that didn’t look like their entire kitchen consisted of just the one giant frying pan closely watched over by “Betty” from Huddersfield. We had a couple of great meals in some (fairly) authentic Spanish restaurants that we came across and I made sure I practiced my Spanish with the waiters etc as I was worried that a week spent without any Spanish practice at all would set me back even more on my quests to learn the language, and you could easily spend your entire life here not speaking a word of Spanish and it wouldn’t be a problem.

After our first evening’s gentle introduction to the nightlife of the island, we decided to head off to Magaluf on the second night and really see what the fuss was about. The second we arrived, we got out of the taxi and was immediately pounced on by the PR people from the nearest bar. Given that it was end-of-season and even the bars here were relatively quiet, trying to walk down the street without being hassled by EVERY SINGLE prop outside EVERY SINGLE bar was totally impossible. I imagine that, during the peak season, the large crowds in the street make it possible to slip through unnoticed most of the time, but there was no such luck for us. The bars are all much the same though, so we took advantage of the free shots they were offering and the cheap drinks, two-for-ones etc and soon got merrily wasted! Magaluf isn’t remotely gay and has no cheesy gay bars at all, so after a few drinks my friend decided this was a situation he couldn’t allow to continue, and stormed (well, I say stormed, but it was more of a mince really) over to the DJ to “have a quiet word”. It turned out that the DJ’s entire Dolly Parton and Sheena Easton (joke!) record collection had been mislaid (where, we don’t know, but 1983 was a likely suspect), so we had to make do with a bit of Scissor Sisters (which is pretty camp I suppose, so my friend quite rightly considered it a Mission Accomplished for one bar). We headed for the dancefloor and we seemed to be a bit of a crowd-pleaser as we were soon joined by plenty of others. The night continued like this, and after single-handedly setting Magaluf on it’s way to becoming the new San Francisco of the Med, we then…..

… well, the truth is, I can’t honestly say, as we haven’t got a clue! The huge number of shots we’d had, plus the ridiculous amount of gin and tonic too, suddenly reached its unavoidable conclusion and we haven’t got the foggiest idea what the hell happened next. Maybe I should write letters to all the bars and include our mugshots for identification purposes requesting that they fill in the gaps, as the next thing I knew, I was woken up back in the apartment by the washing machine doing its spin cycle. “I haven’t put a wash on today” I thought as I came round - on the sofa, (although my friend had done one better and made it to his bed). I slowly realised that the spin cycle was actually the towels I’d put in the machine just before we left the apartment the previous night at about 8pm. It was now almost midday the following day, and it was still going!!! More worrying was that, it isn’t the quietest machine in the world, but I’d somehow managed to sleep just a few feet away from it, spinning away at top note, for the past x number of hours without being remotely disturbed! It turns out that the machine seems to be faulty and gets stuck on its spin, so we calculated that it had probably been going for about 15 hours! I manually stopped it, and when I took the towels out, they were red hot!!! It’s not a washer-dryer, but the friction must’ve been pretty intense to have heated them up like that. Thank God we’d only put towels in there and not our delicate Alan Whickers!! Hehe And I must remember to tell my friend (the owner of the apartment) about this!

The final night, we decided we’d try Magaluf again (clearly, it’s too much to take in on one night). We took it easy this time though, avoided the shots, and went steady with the gin. This did wonders for our alcoholic well-being, but didn’t really help to give us the best overall impression of our fellow holidaymakers, as it meant we were sober enough to actually see the freak-show that was unfolding before our eyes (yes, and that we’d probably been a part of the previous night). Girls wearing, well not much really, with every available inch of dimpled orange-peel on full show. Guys with their highly imaginative shaved heads, still in their beach shorts, with tattooed legs and vacant stares, looking like their only source of calories on the holiday had been their Marlboro Lights and countless cans of San Miguel.

The flights home were fine. My friend’s departed well before mine, but they were the closest together we could get so it just meant I had to hang around the terminal for a couple of hours extra. The flight wasn’t delayed though, so it wasn’t so bad. And luckily for me, I was in the domestic section of the terminal so it was nice and quiet. The airport designers cleverly segregate all the Brits away from the rest of the travelling public once you’ve been through security, and when I’d waved goodbye to my friend at his section, they were all going through to the same terminal as my friend. I’ve not spoken to him yet, but I’m sure he’ll have enjoyed the screaming kids and rowdy teenagers! Most of all though, I wonder if he enjoyed his Silent TV on the way home???!!!

Overall, despite all the piss-taking (and quite possibly because of it!), we had a fantastic time. The apartment was truly excellent, Santa Ponsa itself was lovely (Thank God we were there and not in Magaluf), the weather was perfect, and nice food is there if you’re prepared to look for it. We’re definitely glad we went, and would go again without a doubt.

Finally, I’ll finish by saying that, if the local council of Magaluf is looking for a new slogan to market the town under, here’s a perfect one – “Come to Magaluf – it’s HORRIFIC!” hehehe.

3 Comments:

At December 20, 2006 5:50 PM, Blogger Gary said...

My undying memory of Santa Ponsa wil be three elderly German ladies that plonked down close to us on the beach. One of them had the vocal tone of a wartime Junkers bomber and grated on incessantly through the whole morning until, finally, I broke and upped and went for a walk.
If they had sent the women in 1945 we wouldnt have stood a chance!!

In Benalmadena two years ago I joined my 'kids' (21 and 24) in Bar Square for a late one. I was gob smacked to find that they had brushed aside the flyer touts and were paying 3 euros a 'pint'.

As we left I beckoned the touts towards us (the kids were aghast) and proceeded to run a dutch auction, allowing the desperate flyer brigade to bid for our custom.

Nothing impresses ones children more than negotiating cheap beer and free shots in a foreign language ... its even better whern you overhear the tale being recounted by daughter after returning to England and friend replying...

"Wow, How cool is your dad!?"

Ice cool, thats how cool, I smiled for days....

 
At August 26, 2010 3:20 PM, Anonymous Magaluf Hotels said...

I went to magaluf last year it was epic!, definetly the best place for partying.

 
At August 02, 2011 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Magaluf is a total dump, full of fat ugly girls and thicko skinheads.

 

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