Excuse Me??

This time last year I had such a good holiday in Ibiza, on my own, that I decided to do it again and because I’d left it last minute to book I was pretty limited on what was available, so I ended up staying in the same hotel as last year and as usual that meant my single room was overlooking the bins/car park. Not really a problem as I didn’t intend to spend much time in it apart from sleeping, just annoying as this seems to happen every time I go anywhere on my own. Of course there were different people on holiday this time, thankfully no stalker, but there is one thing that stands out on this holiday that I won’t forget.

It wasn’t the group of four lads who had come away on a lads holiday and obviously some time after the holiday had been booked one of them had got himself a girlfriend and she’d ended up tagging along.

It wasn’t watching the hotel cat run off with one of the parrots halfway through the parrot show.

It wasn’t listening to a group of women over 40 who were absolutely slagging off one of their group, whilst giving me pitying looks that I had come on holiday alone.

It wasn’t the man who was leaning across my table for one while he talked to someone he knew, knowing that he was totally blocking my view until I had to ask him to move, which he wasn’t happy about.

It wasn’t the 25 older Spanish women who arrived on my last day who were a breath of fresh air as they insisted on line dancing to most of the songs being played by the pool.

It wasn’t even overhearing a woman telling a group of people  ” I couldn’t eat my salad tonight it had too many alopecia.”  That must be a new name for jalapenos.

No it wasn’t any of those things, it was when I was out one evening, sat alone on the terrace of a bar when a young woman came out for a cigarette and noticing I was alone she asked could she sit at my table while she smoked. We started chatting and a woman sat to the left of me with her husband decided she’d join in the conversation telling us that she was 64 yrs old with a daughter of 45 and a grandson of 25. We both just looked at her and said “Right” before carrying on our conversation before we were interrupted, with the older woman muttering about rude people. A couple of minutes later the young woman asked had I come on holiday with someone?  Hearing that the older woman turned to me and said ” Yes, we were wondering that, why have you come on holiday on your own?”  Oh I see, you’ve clearly been talking about me then so it’s time you were put in your place love.

“It should have been my honeymoon.”

That shut her up.

It doesn’t bother me going on holiday on my own, but it bothers other people, especially older people.  The women hold on to their partners that little bit tighter and don’t even give me eye contact never mind a “Hello” in case I get ideas about running off with their Fred (Fred should be so lucky) but that’s ok. What is NOT ok is to be so rude and to ask someone WHY they are on holiday alone so that woman deserved the answer she got.

No wonder my ears were burning all week, and I thought it was sunburn.

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Move Over Shirley Valentine

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ll know that I’ve just had a week in Ibiza. Alone. Not front page news but you would think so by some of the reactions I get when people find out that I went on my own. “But what did you do on your own?” is the most popular question, and I always reply with “Had a good time”.  I understand why it’s a big deal for some people but faced with the choice of having a week off work and waking up on Monday morning with rain in Manchester or sunshine in Ibiza it’s not really a difficult choice to make so off I went.

I like meeting new people and luckily for me I’m a good judge of character (although we all make mistakes ) but as much as I’m friendly I don’t want to be someone’s babysitter on holiday and now and again I have to be brutal. Ibiza this time proved to be a mix of a particularly needy, nasty excuse of a man, ladies who although holidaying on their own wanted someone to sort their entertainment  itinerary  and a lovely guy who wasn’t very confident on his first time on his own.

On my first evening there I was in the hotel restaurant when I noticed “D” on his own a couple of tables away. He seemed friendly to the staff and as I was sat “enjoying” the Spanish white wine that was so dry I wouldn’t have even put it on my chips, he came over to my table. “I’m out of my comfort zone, would you care to join me?” D was a similar age to me but not really my type, although the older you get the more you realise you have to diversify on that one. So I joined him where I found out he was an ex copper, been married twice and didn’t speak to either of his exes and didn’t seem to have a good relationship with any of his grown up children. He then went on to tell me about a very unhappy childhood, although he was waiting for his parents to join him a few days later. He didn’t seem to have many friends and when questioned about why he left the police he was extremely vague.

Alarm bells were ringing.

Sat on the terrace I listened to various tales of what happened while he was a copper, some of them interesting to be fair, when he suddenly decided we were going out somewhere. “No. It’s late, I just got here today and I’m tired. In fact I’m going to call it a night.” He pulled his face but I was already making my way back inside. “See you tomorrow” he said. Oh how right he was. The next day was a beautiful sunny day so I made my way to the beach where I soon realised I’d forgotten my sun cream. After an hour or so I left my towel on the sunbed and made my way back to the hotel and as I was sat in the bar area D came over. “Hey, where have you been? I’ve been looking for you.” Christ no. “Down at the beach, going back there in a while”. “Do you want some company?” I looked at him. “No. Quite happy on my own thanks”. But I could tell he was annoyed. “See you later then. What time are you going for dinner tonight?” “Not really sure, don’t want to commit to a time”. (but I’ll bet you’re going to wait for me) And he did. No idea how long he’d been there hanging around reception but when I finally showed up and went to the bar he was there like a flash. ” Hey D, you already been in?” ” No, I was waiting for you.” As we went in to the restaurant together he lifted my hand up to his mouth and kissed it.

That’s when I knew he had totally the wrong idea.

Something had changed and instead of talking about himself he chose to mention my trip to the beach. “You’re quite selfish aren’t you? I realised that this afternoon when you said you didn’t want company.” I laughed. ” And you’re obviously quite needy aren’t you D?”  He then told me how he was so irresistible that his last girlfriend had been 26 yrs old, absolutely gorgeous, but he let her choose her career over him. Not to mention the 62 year old neighbour who he bought a fridge freezer from who was forever texting him wanting him in her bed. “She likes them young” I stifled a yawn.”Wow. So in demand aren’t you?” He then decided to tell me how he was good at two things. “If we were in a terrorist attack I would get you out alive, no one else could.” I’m sure I must have looked doubtful at that information but he carried on. “And I’m really good in bed.”  That was it, enough is enough. ” Do you know what D? You’re making me feel really uncomfortable and actually, I don’t have to sit here and listen to this.” I got up and left him sat there at the table. Next time I saw him I said “Hi” but he just blanked me and did that the rest of the week I was there but it just amused me. Luckily for me he wasn’t the only person I spoke to.

As always we have the stereotypes that we all see on holiday. Such as the chavs who kicked off when they were told to cover up after trying to come into the restaurant in swim wear.

The guy who wore the same t shirt every day to every meal.

The three women who thought they were in their own version of  Real Housewives of Anywhere.

And the group of women with loads of kids who sat them all on a table with grandma at mealtimes so that they could have some fun in a different part of the restaurant.

But every time I’ve been away on my own the people who tell me “Oh I could do that. Totally on my own with no kids, husband, anyone” are always usually the ones who have never stepped outside their postcode without someone holding their hand.

Fact.

 

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Always Listen to Your Instinct.

After reading a story that someone tweeted on twitter about how one time a guy made her feel uncomfortable when travelling on a train by herself by making it look like he knew her (only later did she find out he’s a rapist/con artist/on the sex offenders list) reminded me of a time when a similar thing happened to me on holiday.

Years ago I went to Southern Spain on holiday on my own after a friend of mine let me down at the very last minute, and on the transfer from the airport to the hotel some anorak kept interrupting the rep in his speech about the history of the place. As he was doing so he was looking around at all the people on the coach and I made the fatal mistake of giving him eye contact. When the coach arrived at our hotel a few of us threw our cases into our rooms and made our way to the hotel bar but before long we had  ventured out, as Andy the anorak said he knew where the best bars were nearby. So far so good. After a couple of drinks I said I was making my way back so Andy said he was also ready to call it a night and that’s when I found out a bit more about him. At 40 years old he was working as a carpet fitter and living in a caravan on the drive of his parent’s bungalow which was actually in the next town from where I lived, which explained the same accent we both had. He’d never been married and only ever had one long term girlfriend so as you can imagine, most people would probably find him a bit harmless but I wasn’t convinced.

The next morning he was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs (but where he could also see the lift) and said maybe we should go and have breakfast together. He’d caught me unawares, what could I say? I was obviously going into the restaurant and it would seem childish to refuse because after all he seemed ok. After breakfast I made my excuses and went to get changed to spend the day by the pool and Andy said he was probably going to go and do a bit of sightseeing. I breathed a sigh of relief. Luckily for me  there seemed to be quite a few single people who were also in this hotel and I was looking forward to making a few new friends.

Finding my way to where the pool was I stopped to see if there were any spare sunbeds,when I heard someone call my name.”Jacqui!! Over here, I’ve got us our sunbeds!” You’ve got to be joking. But there he was, in his speedos  standing and waving at me to go over. This was August, the pool was packed, no way was there a spare sunbed anywhere so what did I do? I went over. And I really wish I hadn’t because I had willingly put myself in to what became an awkward situation. He threw his Walkman cassette player over onto my sunbed.”Help yourself. Boney M’s greatest hits.” So there we were, and I suddenly realised  that to anyone watching we seemed to be a couple, we both had the same accent, both had arrived the night before, so I just lay back and completely ignored him until he went to the bar. ” Going to the bar, having a ciggie so back in 5 ok?” I looked at him. No offer from him to get me a drink so I just nodded. As soon as he’d gone to the bar I sat up and spoke to the young couple next to us.”Help me.We’re not together, I don’t know him.” They looked shocked.”But we thought you were together.We saw you at breakfast do you really not know him?” He made sure he was back in two minutes rather than five but by now I was talking with the lovely couple so I got up and moved around to sit on the ground  next to Bev’s sunbed away from Andy.

Long story short this guy could have ruined my holiday. He followed me everywhere but because of him I also made a lot of friends as everyone was sympathetic to my situation. I tried to make a complaint about him to the rep but as he hadn’t tried to touch me no-one could actually do anything. Guys (and me) told him to F**k Off but he didn’t listen and this was the worrying thing. I finally got rid of him when a few of us went to a Spanish nightclub and they wouldn’t let him in. There was a very heated exchange  outside and he was, shall we say, persuaded not to come in. The next day he’d found a new object of affection and this person (a guy) went to great lengths to avoid him such as jumping out of windows.

But I’m annoyed at myself for letting all that happen. Because we’re basically nice polite people we accept behaviour that we shouldn’t in order not to make a scene, especially if a person seems nice and polite themselves. You don’t want to be seen as the bad guy by questioning someone’s motives when to all intents and purposes the world sees them as one of the good guys. But I will say this, your instinct will tell you every time. If something doesn’t feel right, your gut instinct will tell you and no matter how much pressure you feel under, always always listen to it. It’s there for a reason.  Does anyone else wonder if Andy is still living in that caravan??

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