The ABC of a bloody good holiday

Mon 7 – Mon 14 Jan 2019

Stunning half naked man - how could you not smile?
Not me on holiday

Reflections on why I had such a good holiday last week in Gran Canaria

Alcohol

I got my drinking more under control than when we first arrived. Basically the initial adrenaline rush meant I overdid it the previous weekend. I settled into a good holiday pattern, enjoying a glass of wine or a cocktail at various times during the day or in the evening but without getting too whacked.

Books

See H for Hardcastle and S for Sanderson

Cosmopolitan

The Canaries are a wonderful European melting pot. Nearly every European nation is represented. There are a few national stereotypes though we generally get on. It’s great to hear the different languages mingling together.

shot from space of gran canaria

Compare this to the little England mentality going on back in Britain around Brexit. People from elsewhere in Europe genuinely do think we are nuts (along the same lines as Trump’s America). Whatever happens, it is going to take a long-time to rescue our international reputation.

#IamEuropean

Dave

All fine between me and my boyf with some stuff together but also giving each other space. The only really annoying thing was his announcement earlier in the week that he was a bit bored. Some people are never satisfied and I treated it with the contempt it deserved. Interesting to see Dave’s new obsession with Twitter whereas once upon a time, he hated it.

Espresso Martini

One of my favourite new pre-dinner cocktail drinks. Not too heavy and a nice energy boost.

Film

Watched a couple of Spanish films I’ve been meaning to catch up on for ages. ‘Solas’ is a lovely film from the late 90s about the relationship between a mother and daughter. ‘Open your eyes – Abre los ojos’ is the story of a man facing various things in his life and trying to work out what is real and what isn’t. Remade for the American market as ‘Vanilla Sky’ featuring Tom Cruise. The Spanish version is better.

Gym

Went to the hotel gym a few more times. And even to the hotel pool a bit. But the really exciting thing is the Facebook message from my London gym saying they will finally be reopening by the end of Jan. 🙂

freestyle

Hardcastle

Two books read and completed on holiday (only 2 🙁 ), one was ‘The Seven Deaths of Eveyln Hardcastle’ by Stuart Turton. What a great book and highly recommended. It’s quite Agatha Christie with a murder mystery to be solved in a country house. But it is done by someone living their life afresh each day in the body of someone else in the house. Plus various strange spiritual presences thrown in. A bit complex but very good with tons of twists and turns.

Italian

Holidays are about striking up conversations with people and hearing their stories. Like Mauro, the tattoed Italian man working in the excellent ‘Nuevo Rokoko’ coffee shop who was once a music journalist and lived in Glasgow. Or the guy from Munich who told me about the heavy snow there and the man from Oslo who spoke perfect English.

Journal

The blog I have kept to record what I have been doing. 🙂

Kilos lost

Weight scales

NOT! Why is it that a good holiday makes you realise you need to lose weight but you actually put weight on as a result of it? Lots of obese people in Gran Can and we all seemed to be over-indulging.

Legs

Lots of legs around on a good holiday – my ones getting brown plus lots of other legs (some sexy) with all the shorts and swimming costumes. 🙂

Mum and son

A holiday is often about identifying characters your are suddenly and unexpectedly spending your life with. Most fascinating for us were a mother and son combination who we never spoke to as they kept themselves firmly to themselves. He was a good-looking but sullen young guy (late teens/early twenties?) with his mother fussing around him and seeing to his every whim.

Not the only character in our hotel by a long shot. Pretty fascinating also was the lady who looked like Jimmy Savile…

Neptuno

The wonderful hotel we stayed in. If I could afford it then I would move in permanently.

Oranges

Plenty of fruit and veg to eat though I didn’t always go for the healthy option i.e. cooked breakfast each day (see Kilos Lost). Dave particularly loved the sliced oranges available at breakfast. I really like papaya which I never normally eat.

Plane home 🙁

Monday was all about going home. Ride from the hotel at 10 and flight left at 12.35. All decent but a bit sad. Back at Dave’s place by 6.45 in the evening and unpacked my bag. Getting back to normal makes you realise when you’ve had a good holiday.

Queer

LGBT rainbow flag

Gran Can is a wonderfully gay/queer place. With Las Dunas to cruise around, the big gay beach, the crazy Yumbo centre, and the assortment of bars from drag at Sparkles, Ricky’s or Funny Boys onto the ‘heavier’ stuff of Reds, Zoo, Box and Cruise up to the dance places like Mykonos. It’s a bit like gay paradise.

Routine

Exactly what a good holiday should be about – having its own routine but one that is totally different to the normal working week back home. And it’s not always about going crazy, couple of nights we just went to bed after dinner without going to party.

Sanderson

For my second holiday book read, I finally got round to something by Brandon Sanderson, the much acclaimed fantasy writer. I read ‘Elantris’ mainly because it is a self-contained novel with most of his other stuff being trilogies and sagas.

I do have a bit of a problem with fantasy. It feels very stuck in a rut with stories of royalty, religion, warriors, magic, and good overcoming evil. TBH I found Elantris hard to get into initially which surprised me as so many people have told me what a good novel it is and he a great writer.

But I stuck with it and it was worth it. A good, well-written book with some interesting story angles and plot turns. But not as brilliant as I expected with lots of American stereotypes – the dashing young Prince / President, the straight love element, the inherent goodness of people, and the evil ideological empire with an individual torn by their faith.

Tanning

Retirement

Usual routine was to tan by the pool from after breakfast till about 3pm. I’m quite white and don’t really go brown at all. Compared to some of the beautifully bronzed people around the pool it was sad. 🙁

Underwear

The Yumbo is full of shops and stalls selling holiday crap. As Maspalomas in Gran Canaria is a very gay-friendly resort so there are lots of gay lifestyle shops selling pants.

Veganism

Very trendy at the moment (and I welcome that) but Gran Can is not the place for veganism. There is meat on the menu everywhere – beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, duck. None of it local me thinks. Indeed this is an island so fish should abound. But it doesn’t really and when it does then it’s non-local stuff such as cod, tuna, and swordfish.

Weather

It was still winter so low sun in the sky for a relatively short amount of time. Plus outbreaks of cloud on a few days. We all sat round the pool wrapped up waiting for the break to come. One of those things and it gave my skin a break. Generally, temperature in the early 20s and I was out sunbathing like a beached white whale.

eXcitement

A good holiday is about excitement and I could not wait to get to Gran Can. Hopefully all the things that excite me can stay with me a bit as I get back to normal life i.e. being more chilled and letting things wash over me more.

Yumbo

I wrote in my previous week’s blog about this entertainment centre next to our hotel that I love. We regularly went in the evening to the Eiffel bar where the owner regaled us with stories of his holidays in Asia. And there is a great little coffee shop now tucked away on the second floor – Venexia (though with intermittent opening hours). Our new favourite place for pre-dinner drinks is Sky Bar run by Yannick and Frank. Previously they have run a restaurant in Cannes and a bar in Ibiza.

Zzzz

Particularly worth noting the beautiful sleeps we had at the Neptuno. Lovely to leave the balcony door open and hear the background sounds of people enjoying themselves in the Yumbo. The only problem is Deep Clean Friday when the whole pool area is deep-cleaned (including the loungers) by an aggressive lady with a hose pipe from about 4am onwards.

The Week Ahead

I am not really looking forward to going back to work next week but it has to be done. The purpose of a good holiday is to refresh your batteries. And I am planning ahead to my sabbatical in April. The first time I will not have been in work or study since I left school. Plus it is nice to see and catch up with mum, the rest of the family, my friends, and my work colleagues.

Rugby league player in skimpy trunks
Again, not me on holiday (I wish)

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