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thoughts & musings :: CCC

Sunday, 16 October 2005

Maspalomas diary 03 - Miscommunications

I report our toilet to the reception in the morning. The job has shifted to the day staff and the TV is showing daytime TV that is as inane as it is in the UK so someone might actually be tempted to do something. It is fixed by mid morning.

Upon arrival we were issued with a meal card, one of four colours, that states when we can enter the dining area for breakfast/lunch/tea. We also have permanent tags round our wrists that are a colour. There are four colour tags we see throughout the week and we will never work out what the different colours mean, if anything.

Reading through the welcome pack, it states that we must 'always wear the brestless.' (we're assuming this is supposed to be bracelets -- the wrist tags.) This is something we will come to learn very quickly -- The Spanish really have trouble translating into English.

Not that they need to do that much here. Most of the guests appear to be German and many of the signs are written in Spanish and then German.

After a greasy lukewarm breakfast we quickly learn that the cheese and rolls in the mornings are the safest option. Over the week we slowly learn what to eat and what to avoid in the dining area.

I decide to fetch two teas. I place a 'tea' bag in a cup of hot water and it gets wet. It might also have slightly stained the water around it, but that could just be a trick of the light. I see a button marked 'Milch' which I thought was German for Milk. Milch is Spanish for 'dump a load of sour curdled lumpy yoghurt into my drink' because that's what happened.

We then had a welcome meeting with someone I would have come to know as 'Camp David' but he only features in this one tiny scene of our story so he can quickly and easily be forgotten. He made a lot of awful jokes and, as Hayley summed it up perfectly, basically demonstrated that he had been out of Britain for a long time.

From this meeting, we could see there were only about 8 other Brits in the entire complex.

The advert on stated that the Dunalor Apartments were right next to the sand dunes, between the dunes and the golf course... this must be another of Spanish translation gone awry. The golf course is between Dunaflor and the dunes... and it's a big golf course.

Never mind, there's a free bus to the dunes and it is walkable anyway. We decide to walk to the beach and dunes.

Getting closer to the dunes we see what we think is an entrance onto the dunes themselves. However, there is a sign at this gate that reads 'ENTRANCE ONLY UNTIL THE CAMELS.' Until the camels what?

We decide not to sit around and wait to see what the camels might do and find another way onto the beach. The dunes are a protected nature reserve and a huge sign lists all the things you cannot do there (pitching tents, making fires etc.) One of the symbols looks to be 'Do not throw birds at the flowers.' I later realised this was do not interfere with the plants and animals.

A sign on the beach reads 'MUSIC ARE NOT ALLOWED,' but does not state which particular sorts are not allowed.

Part of the beach is a naturist beach and ze naked Germans here are very vibbly and vobbly upon ze beach. Most of them don't need trunks or shorts anyway as there is little to cover up and their huge bloated stomachs mean you probably couldn't see any shorts they put on anyway.

The dunes look endless. Huge rolling and sweeping contours of Sahara like sand stretches off in all directions. Littered throughout these dunes are many and various naked sunbathers or naked hikers trekking across the dunes with only a backpack on their back.

We sit on the beach and read a while. After a while a man walks up to us in T-shirt and trunks with a bag in his hand.

"Sprechen sie Deutsch?" he asks.
"English," I reply.
"Vould you mind vatching my clothes vhile I go into ze sea. Five minutes."
"Yep, no problem."

He then proceeds to strip naked in front of us and wander down into the sea like Reginald Perring.

I was quite glad he asked us to watch his clothes as that was far more preferable to watching his lack of them wobbling away from us.


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