At the urging of Craig I decided to book a last minute holiday and give him the house for a fortnight. I used Thomsons travel agent in town and the only criteria I specified was that it must be all-inclusive and have a gym. The lady in Thomsons was very nice and helped me to choose SBH Jandia on Fuerteventura in the Canary islands and so four days later, Saturday 08 Oct I drove down to the airport.
The drive to Stansted was exactly as the same as my life and personality, mundane. Stansted is still Stansted, quick, reasonably efficient, designed to part you from your cash on products it hypes as duty free, which is, so far as the scotch and bourbon was concerned, a load of bollocks. The prices for them were practically the same as Tesco’s, the supermarkets in France had better prices. And still no public drinking fountains, good to see the threat of terrorism profiting the airport authorities and shops.
Factoid – Your own farts on an aeroplane smell different.
Coming in to land at Fuerteventura I noticed the outline of a large whale under the water and after a few seconds thought to myself ‘He’s bloody fast’ and then it occurred to me it was the shadow of our aeroplane. Idiot!
The hotel is nice, and pretty full, most seem to be mainly Germans and then Brits, with a fair sprinkling of Mainland Spanish. A lot of the Brits here look on death’s door and/or are bigger than me, it makes me feel positively young and fit.
Again there is that discrepancy between British men and Continental men, particularly the Mediterranean’s’. The Brits as a whole, wear baggy swimming trunks with bright patterns, the brighter the better. The southern euro’s wear dark and plain speedo type trunks, the tighter the better and the size of the wearer is immaterial, some of the larger men here (bigger than me) must have to pop in to the bathroom regularly and pull their trunks off in order to restore circulation to their nuts.
I remember that speedos once had the nickname of budgie smugglers, it’s very apt, and from what I can, see , discretely, some of them have taken on the challenge and upgraded the size of their bird smuggling.
One of the main reasons I choose this hotel is that the webpage said it had a gym. The gym here is not up to any kind of standard, unless they invent a new standard called seriously crap. To use a gymnasium technical term that most of you won’t recognise, the gym is seriously shit.
There are seven multigym modules, of which:
- 2 are for chest press
- Two are for back
- The triceps/biceps machine cable has unscrewed itself and you take your life in your hands when you use it; and the biceps cable is missing.
For those of you counting that leaves:
- A leg raise machine
- A weird leg press thing you stand in and raise one leg at a time
Two exercise bikes that were modern in the 80’s, and a running machine that looks dodgy as hell. Not dodgy as hell in the sense that its trying to get you to come in to its strip club or sell you drugs, but dodgy as hell in how dirty and rickety it looks.
The eat all you can buffet has a nice choice of food and would delight a veggie or a Piscean, every lunch and evening meal there is a large salad bar, and two hot counters, one usually does a meat dish and the other a fish dish, and there is always a good choice of veggies. From what I gather all the fish is caught locally, and has looked good enough to tempt me to try them. There is a lot of chicken and pork dishes and again the quality is great and varied enough with the different sauces. There seems to be an ongoing issue with trying to find a clean cup for tea or coffee in the morning.
Brekkie runs from 0800 to 1030, and then when it’s finished they put out rolls, different hams, salamis and cheese next to the poolside bar. Lunch runs from 1230 to 1430 and again when it’s finished they put out hot finger food next to the poolside bar. Dinner is from 1830 to 2130 and this time they don’t wait until it’s finished before they put out a selection of cakes and puddings.
The hotel room was a reasonable size and clean and uncluttered, but again this thing with hotels, shit lighting at night. My first night there the aircon was broken and kept rattling, but not in regular way, but in a shitty catch-you-off-guard kind of way, so my first night I was constantly being jolted awake and sweated my nuts off.
As I wandered to breakfast I reported it to reception, and when I finished brekkie I strolled back to my room, and there spread all over the corridor floor was the aircon unit and two engineering types servicing it. So that evening, as I’m not too bright, I did as I did for the first night and went to bed on top of the sheets, but the aircon was set for 15 degrees (59 Fahrenheit) and I woke up apparently nearly freezing to death and with my bladder nearly bursting. The one thing I will say about my genitals is it that they have a superb survival mechanism, they retreat in the face of danger and cold, in this case it felt as if they retreated all the way back to the UK.
When I sit on my balcony and look down at the pool I note that a number of the sun loungers are white and a number of people, I’m going to go with Brits, are so white that if it wasn’t for their sunglasses and swimming trunks or bikinis they would blend right in.
On the beach a couple of hundred yards from my beach facing room is, of all things, a fucking lighthouse. My first night here along with the sweating and rattling, I had to contend with a bright strobe light doing a double flash in to my room five times a minute (I timed it). However, the next day in the bleary eyed sunshine I discovered my room has a pair/set of rubberised plastic curtains that are set behind the nice decorative normal curtains.
The rubber curtains seem to the type that you would find in a slaughterhouse full of sloppy butchers who need to stop stuff flying off in all directions. They work just fine at blocking out the lighthouse and its shenanigans but when I wake up its as black as being in a bunker, and I have to use my mobile (cell phone) to tell me that it’s daytime.
It was about 25 – 30 degrees every day
The hotel is, unlike a Brit hotel, manned exclusively by Spanish and they are one of the main saving grace of this place, they are professional and courteous even when pricks like me mangle their language with sentences like “Dos beer por favor’ (two beers please). I have to order two each time as they come in poofy narrow glasses that hold about 300 mils and one of those is finished in less than five minutes. Some of the blokes here order one beer at a time and the only exercise they seem to get is constantly getting up and queueing for a new beer.
Let’s talk about the one thing that is truly precious to me – Coffee (notice the capitalisation, that’s how important it is). In King’s Lynn there are only three places I will purposely go to drink coffee and they are in order:
- Friends Cafe
- McDonald’s (believe it or not)
Now I’ll be honest, the gym was a massive negative as it caused me to lumber around my room like a sweaty obese hippo trying to do an exercise routine every morning (sit-ups, squats, dips, push-ups; and whilst brushing my teeth, leg raises (I look like an arthritic stormtrooper marching up and down the length of the room)), so from that point of the gym the hotel gets a massive thumbs down.
From the coffee point of view however, the hotel should be bombed back to a construction site. The shit they were pouring that was masquerading as fresh coffee was worse than ten year old, stale mellow birds, and you all know how I feel about mellow birds. You know it’s bad coffee when you desperately need a hit, and you know that when you take a sip your face is going to scrunch up like you are sucking a lemon that’s been used to refresh somebody’s nutsac for half a day.
Let’s be honest, in the next year or so, Russia is coming East in one form or another, the best thing we can do is airdrop the coffee from this hotel (or mellow birds) on the surging forces who are fighting for Putin’s version of righteousness, and poison the bastards. But I suspect some liberal European will invoke the Geneva Convention or the Human Rights Act and try and make them stop as it’s inhumane. That said, if a certain social class of Brit gets wind of this scheme they’ll kick up a fuss and want to know why we are spoiling the enemy by giving them quality coffee.
After a couple of days or so I realised the poolside bar has a proper barista coffee machine, so all will be well in the world. But no. There’s a shock, god’s teasing me by saying look what I’ve placed over here especially for you Jim. A cup of this fresh coffee costs one Euro and the staff are only allowed to use fresh coffee pods, which is perfectly acceptable, but wait, to make it extra special, they’ll leave them in an open container for a couple of weeks in order that they go stale; still, at least my face doesn’t scrunch up too much when I have a cup
What is it about hotels and me, the water in the shower ranges from freezing to scalding and it manages the whole range between them in about five seconds, it makes having a shower a slightly frightening adventure.
There is the constant stench of cigarette smoke, from 0800 to bedtime, whenever that was, some nights hard to tell, it’s like being around before the smoking ban came in to force in UK, the price of fags in town ranges from 8 euros for 200 for the cheapest to 30 euros per 200 for the quality brands.
There is internet in the hotel, and it’s 25 euros per week or 40 euros for a fortnight. I measured the speed using a broadband speed checker and clocked it as between 0.90 – 1.5 megs download and 0.28 – 0.30 upload speed, it was great, it was just like when Ruth and I first got the internet in our first house, a lovely throwback to the late nineties.
I got up one morning and leaned on my balcony to enjoy the fresh bright view and after having ascertained the ocean was still there and looking mighty fine, I glanced down and looked straight in to the eyes of a woman who was in her sixties and sunbathing topless (probably German, because that’s the crazy stuff they do). Life, or some very greedy babies, had ensured her breasts were flattened and down to her navel. Most people, no, cancel that, 99.9 percent of people, should not go naked outside of their own homes, and I’m not being sexist here, this applies equally to men, particularly men my size.
After a week and a half I went for a sports massage and I’ll be honest it was good to have some human contact, he was cheaper than a prostitute and I walked away feeling a lot more relaxed. With a Pro, you’re always waiting for the pimp to put a knife to your throat and ask for a tip for the service you’ve received.
At 1800 each evening the poolside bar closes for an hour, but the main bar which is about 25 yards away opens for the night. Some of these fat bastards moan because they have to trek for a fresh drink, a number of them will relocate to be nearer to the main bar, because, god forbid they spend any calories walking back and forth. Trouble there is that there is always some form of entertainment in the main bar and it gets quite noisy, so once the poolside bar re-opens they come back. But of course, all the chairs and tables are taken, so then we’re in to scowl and mutter city; the Germans seems quite good at that.
My first week was spent reading my Kindle and perv’ing. The second week was spent writing. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the expression perv’ing, let me explain. It comes from the two words, ‘pervert’ and ‘watching’. It’s where you sit there and stare at women half your age, or younger, and think ‘If I had a dungeon, you’d never get out.’ Of course at my age and size/build this would lead me to getting all sweaty and having a heart attack; so all’s well, that end’s well.
When I had arrived at Stansted at the start of the holiday I had parked my car in zone M as directed by the pre-pay email and the ticket it issued me on arrival. After parking in zone M, I wandered over to bus stop 10 and about five minutes later the bus turned up and whisked me to the terminal, all very smooth. Returning however, was a cluster.
After waiting approx. 30 minutes a bus turned up at the terminal to whisk me and the waiting 100-odd passengers back to our cars. This led to the Brits maintaining their decorum and the queue, and some non-Brits trying to push in. They lost and were sent to the back of the queue, it seems that there are few things stroppier than a working class British woman at 1130 at night who is tired and who objects to Eastern Europeans pushing in front of her; she had more bottle than me, I’d have kept quiet.
When the second bus turned up five minutes later the next lot piled on and were taken to the long-stay car park and that’s when the confusion started. All our tickets used the letters of the alphabet to denote where we had parked; mine as I said was M. As we pulled in to the vast car park the driver started talking about colour zones, for example “We are now coming up to the Purple Zone.” This lead to instant confusion as all started clamouring about their alphabet zones.
The driver, nice as he was couldn’t understand our confusion, for example “Yes, purple zone is P, or stop 6”. Then carried on with his colour coding, and for the next few minutes all you could hear was shouting up and down the bus as people from the back asked questions and those in the middle and front relayed the questions and answers back and forward.
Then a voice called out, “I’m in Jet Park.” To this the driver replied that this, for example, was the Yellow Zone. The airport functioned perfectly, but they need to re-look at their zoning and management of the long-term car park.
I mentioned to the lady next to me that I was at Stop 10, to which the bus driver who had overheard me said “We’re not going to Stop 10, I’ll drop you at Stop 9 and you can walk.” Bollocks thought I, I wanted to get home and not spend time wandering around a giant car park, so I asked the driver if he was sure; he was!
He dropped me off at Stop 9, which was directly across the road from Stop 10. In other words, he worried me with the thought that I would have to walk to Stop 10, but they were actually the same stop, just on different sides of the road. He could have just as easily said to me “Yes, I’ll drop you off at Stop 10.” Git!
The write-up seems a bit negative, but look at it positively:
- Smell of farts – if you enjoy your own, then flying is the thing for you, you get your own, but with a different taste.
- No gym – not a problem for anyone who doesn’t want a gym.
- Shower – not a problem for those who want a bit of controlled excitement in their lives, want to wrestle a lion, bollocks, wrestle a shower head, make it more fun by having someone else in there with you and fighting over who gets scalded or their nuts frozen.
- Smell of cigarettes – not a problem for those who smoke.
- Shitty, shitty coffee – less than a problem than you think, I was speaking to a Brit at the poolside bar and bemoaning the quality, and he turned to me in astonishment and said “But the coffee is great, it’s some of the best I have ever tasted.” I realised he was probably common and was glad when he stopped talking to me*.
- Flashing lighthouse in your room every night – If you are in to lighthouses and slow strobe lights, then this place is a wet dream for you.
- Saggy breasts – not a problem if you like something that looks like my scrotum after I’ve shaved it and stuck a couple of nipples on it.
Re-reading this there seems to be an awful lot of references to testicles, this was not done on purpose, but quite possibly says more about me than I intended.
*Tony, if you ever read this, only joking.
- Terrible gym, 2 x chest machines, 2 x upper back machines, 1 x triceps machine (that was broken for a couple of days), 2 x leg machines, 2 x seriously clapped out exercise bikes from the 80’s, 1 x wobbly running machine and that’s it. No free weights or sit-up mats. Does not deserve to be called a gym, but rather a place where some knackered old bits have gone to die.
- Terrible coffee, the stuff they serve is not coffee by any stretch of the imagination; imagine mixing Mellow Birds with Camp Coffee and then using either ditch water or a goats urine instead of water, and you’ll have an idea of how truly awful it was. The quality coffee you have to pay for, and yes, it’s only a euro, but its been left out in an open container for weeks on end and is as stale as a UKIP members’ racism.
- Brilliant staff, nothing was too much for them.
- Plenty of food at practically every hour of the day, good selection of cold food, seafood, local dishes and desserts. When the restaurant closes, they bring a selection out to the pool bar so you can help yourself.
- Every day a Rep went around and tried to get people interested in various activities ranging from paper aeroplane making and flying, archery, shooting, yoga.
- Unlimited free beer, wines, spirits (no high-end stuff, but all adequate) and soft drinks.
- Rooms cleaned and restocked every day
- Beach was a short walk away, and yes it was across a 4-lane road, but there are crossing points so it’s not as dangerous as expected.
If your idea of a holiday is to lay by a pool or beach and eat and drink your way to and early grave, then this is the place for you.