Mallorca - An Isle of Contrasts (to put it nicely)

Trip Start Sep 07, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Oh I am so stupid. I should have kept a journal. But no I didn't so I will just be putting in a short entry of why Mallorca is somewhere I will probably not go again, but do not regret seeing at least once...

So our adventure begins late in the afternoon, our flight was uneventful and our transfer to the hotel property was easy and comfortable. We had the van to ourselves and the driver was friendly enough. Our first impression of Mallorcans...pretty good.

However, the next human contact was, well, lacking. They were a bit rude, and for a hotel with absolutely NO SPANISH GUESTS, I was dumbfounded that all of the reception staff could speak neither English or German but for the very basic (we are talking hand gestures here) of levels. Understandably they were frustrated, and so were we, but we finally made it to the room and unpacked and then decided to wander around exploring the property.

We found the dining hall and luckily caught the last half hour of the dinner buffet. Our room had inclusive half pension, which means breakfast and dinner were included. The food wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. There was a lot of selection, but it was obvious the food was made to cater to a vary bland palette (i.e. British!). However, the fruit was delicious, especially the plums. We took some back to our room almost every evening for late snacking.

The majority of the guests were British families with a sprinkling of German tour groups here and there. (Again, why couldn't reception speak better English or German?) And kids were everywhere. Running, screaming, crying, crawling, grabbing, fighting. I turned to my friend Anita, who was away from here 4 year old for the first time and said "So do you miss her?". She just laughed and we ate quickly and got back to the peace and quiet of our room.

The next morning we woke up earlier than we intended, but used the time to get in some rays at the beach. Our hotel was about a ten minute walk direct to the nice white sands of one of the most beautiful beaches I have seen here in Europe. So soft and white and the waters are turquoise. It was warm already by 9:00 am and we scoped out some chairs with an umbrella and made ourselves comfortable for the day. That first day we decided to just be lazy and read a book on the beach all day long. Anita fell asleep at least 3 or 4 times. We swam a couple of times in the ocean, and walked up and down the sandy shores. The only annoyance really was the constant hail of the fruit lady. She sang out constantly her trill of "Meloneeee, Melonee, Co-cos, Bananas, Pina..." on and on and on. She finally came around to us and offered free samples of her pineapple which was, by the way, amazingly sweet, so we said we would take two slices, STUPIDLY NOT ASKING HOW MUCH BEFORE HAND. SHe sliced them up perfect for easy eating on the beach and gave us each a free banana to go with it and then charged us 10 EUROS!! I could buy 3 pineapples for that. Its our own fault. Anita just started laughing at our own stupidity. We both know better and are seasoned travelers, but for whatever reason (I'll blame the sun)we just were stupid. NEVER AGAIN.

So we stayed late into the afternoon. BY this time, my lily whiteness is not so white anymore and though I was careful with my sunscreen, I somehow managed to burn myself on a one inch wide two inch long strip at the top of my left thigh. Don't ask, I have theories, but really no conclusive evidence as to why that one spot burned so badly (and yes it was bad). A little bit worse and I am sure it would have blistered.

So I love that feeling of when I have been at the beach all day; sandy feet, a lot of sun in my happy tank, my hair smells like salt and I can taste it on my lips too... I like all of it. It was actually something I didn't do enough of when I lived in Honolulu.

But like Honolulu, Puerta Alcudia has hundreds of shops peddling stupid tourist crap all along the beach streets. If you every wanted a penis ashtray from Mallorca or a coffee mug with your name on it and the Mallorca island outline, this is the place to come. Everything from knock off Prada handbags and fragrances to T-shirts and baseball caps to assorted knick knack crap, unreal. And what made it worse were the complete unfriendliness of the cashier and storekeepers. Not one of them greeted anyone that came into the stores. It left us with this weird feeling of how gloomy the mood is of this section of the island. Tourism had completely erased any character or pride that might have been in this location at some point in time. There was no sign of anything truly Mallorcan in these stores, but I could purchase Native American artifacts and African baskets everywhere (what?). No wonder they all hate us tourists.

Hoping to find something that would give us a glimpse of what this island is about, we headed out the next day to the town of Alcudia (we are staying at the port about 10km away). We missed the market(we would hit that later in the week), but did find the town center as well as the older area with the restored Roman walls and a beautiful church. It was lovely and we had fun exploring the alley ways. The shops we found had a bit more culture, and the people working there seemed a bit more interested in their visitors. We topped off the evening by finding a place near our hotel that served up traditional Spanish Sangrias. We walked home with big smiles on our faces.
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