Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Another day in paradise (of a kind, well, not really, too many f*cking tourists) in which I manage the impossible: go around in circles in squares – read on, read on! – and am obliged to be fatherly and strict with my daughter

Eix Hotel Alcudia, Port d’Alcudia, Mallorca – Day six? Seven?

In some ways yesterday was a bit of a washout, although no rain was involved (or hardly, but by then I was back in the car returning to my hotel here in Port d’Alcudia). I was keen to see more of the island and less of the tourists, tat shops, cheap booze shops (see piccy) and the rest of the detritus which makes most low and middle market seaside towns the world over such a delight for
some. So as I was assured a few days ago by one of the ladies on the desk that there are hardly any tourists in the centre of the island, I looked at a map of Mallorca for the smallest community I could find in the centre of the island and decided to head off there, reasoning that I would surely pass through and by several other sights worth investigating on the way.

The town/village/community – you can’t really tell from the map – I chose was Sant Joan. Well, I didn’t really. I’ve discovered that not only is Port d’Alcudia bigger than Port de Pollencia down the road, but it is rather bigger than I thought. I was admittedly driving down the coast and the built-up area is something of a conurbation and is not all Port d’Alcudia, but it took about 15 minutes before I got away from the villas, supermarket, even more tat shops, restaurants, pizza parlours and, for God’s sake, even a bloody Lidl (‘No country safe from our planned world domination’, they are vying with Starbucks for being the most intrusive retail outfit on the planet. Guess what you will find when you take your first steps through the Peraly Gates? But at least you’ll be able to get Black Forest smoked ham and all number of the cheap and practical gadgets which make a trip to Lidl’s, Bodmin, a must every Thursday).

After that and following my satnav I was able to head inland in search of Sant Joan. The countryside is undoubtedly Spanish (well, generic Mediterranean) and you wouldn’t mistake it for Northamptonshire, but it was equally as bland and uninteresting, and what I saw of Mallorca on my trip into the hills was far more satisfying. At one point the satnav, as satnavs often do, took me through a small town of that boring grid pattern sort where all the streets are at right angles and look identical and you soon lose your bearings, and having just once taken a wrong turning and deviating from the route Mr Satnav insisted I should take, I then spent at least ten minutes driving around – is ‘around’ the right word if all you can do is keep turning sharp right or sharp left? – trying to get back on track. I did eventually and after another few miles reached Sant Joan.

It was, in the event, sadly one of the world’s more boring settlements, with no sight of a café terrace where I might, wifi access permitting, have settled down and generally wiled away several hours with lager and cigars and posting all kinds of inconsequential shite on Facebook. (If you’re interested take a look, but don’t hold your breath). So the decision to abandon Sant Joan to the attention of other, probably lost, tourists was easily made and I took another look at the map to see where to go to next.

A nearby town called Petra attracted me, so after inputting the name I my satnav I took off. As satnavs demand an street name and number, and I didn’t know any, I simply plumped for ‘Aires’ from the list I was offered. Ten minutes and about six miles later I discovered that ‘Aires’ is Spanish for ‘motorway service station’ and that is where I was taken, still three miles from Petra proper. So off I went again, across country, one what seemed an interminable three miles, but only because the road was so winding, until I arrived at Petra. And that’s when I discovered the name of the town where earlier I had spent ten ever-more frustrating minutes going round in the equivalent of square circles: Petra. I had gone in full circles.

Quite apart from being boringly symmetrical – well, that what it seemed like – Petra is another staging post for the hordes of cyclists who descend on Mallorca in the cooler months, and there must have been about 50 in the town square I came across, that served by about nine café/restaurant/bars. I settled into one – with wifi access, no modern man or woman can do without wifi access, if folk all start to realise that neither Heaven nor Hell has wifi access, they will all refuse to die until the situation has improved.

. . .

This is when I was contacted by my daughter (courtesy of wifi access) for help to fill out a form confirming that she wanted to change her course. I did my bit, but the solution wasn’t quite what she had hoped for then demonstrated an aspect of her character which I have tried to pretend doesn’t exist but which, in truth, does irritate me. She can sometimes be markedly offhand and, though I hate to say this, I have sometimes suspected that she might occasionally be the sort who is only interested in you if you can be of use to her.

These things are rarely, if ever, apparent when our children are young or in their early teens and when they are in their late teens they might well be put down to adolescent solipsism. And that, I hope, is what it is in my daughter – she’s still only 18, 19 at the beginning of August. But given the time I have put in over these past few weeks when she has contacted me down I the dumps and dithering about this, that and t’other, I did rather lose patience and in two long texts read her the riot act (fairly, I think I can say, or at least I hope I can say). And don’t anyone reading this think that I am wholly the genial sort for whom you would eagerly and gladly like to buy a drink or three and chat for hours: I have my rabid side, which, in conjunction with a overly sharp tongue, I am now at pains to rein in for fear the damage I might do. So my texts to my daugher, dear reader, were considered and restrained, but I didn’t pull any punches.

While all this was going on, an overcast day with not a hint of sun, became a markedly windy, not to say chilly, day, and there were even spits of rain. So overall yesterday gets a 2/10 Today is also overcast, but I shall head out again. I shall, in a minute and once I have posted this entry, consult the internet about ‘castle ruins in Mallorca’ and seek some out.

. . .

Tonight, if I can be bothered it’s Arsenal against Sunderland on Sky Sports, but even if I don’t watch the game, I shall lay a bet: Sunderland, who might well be safe from relegation if they beat Arsenal tonight, are only 10/1 to win, so that makes a five – or even a tenner – worthwhile, especially as it is only money I have previously won, so I shan’t be out of pocket if, as I imagine, Arsenal take them. But then they might not. Who knows? There are still several mysteries left, you know, though most aren’t quite as mundane as that one. Pip, pip!

There’s no sun! Who do we sue!

There’s no sun! Who do we sue!

[For those born before 1960]

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