Godverdomme!... in Portuguese
For the first time, I decided to book a holiday on the Internet. Nice and convenient, I thought, cheaper than the high street so I could afford a better holiday. Es Verdad? Well, es up to a point, verdad.
My wife and I just spent a relaxing week in a five-star hotel in Vilamoura (a thoroughly English resort in the Algarve). My room had a view of the sea along with a stretch of undeveloped land and some broken down shacks. That's the clue. At the other side of those shacks was the village of Quarteira. Quarteira is every bit as Portuguese as Vilamoura is English. We crossed no-man's land, under the watchful eyes of the people living in the shacks and visited a real, Portuguese supermarket, where things were about a third of the price charged in Vilamoura. On the way back, there were Gypsies dancing, not for Tourists but for themeselves.
There were even two marinas. Visible from our room at the other side of no-man's land, was the harbour of Quarteira, full of real fishing boats belonging to real fishermen. At the other side of our hotel and past a couple more was the Vilamoura marina, home to about 1500 yachts and surrounded by English pubs, Italian icecreameries, chinese restaurants and even a Swedish place.
But anyway, the week was relaxing. That's what I wanted. A chance to sleep when I wanted, slob around and generally behave indolently. All was well.
Getting there and back was less as desired. We flew out with Monarch Airlines. For an extra 30 quid, extra leg-room was available (and I, of course, availed myself of this). No amount of money, however, would buy extra arse-room so I spent 2 and a half hours each way (actually more like 3 and a half on the way back because our flight was delayed an hour) in a seat designed for an infants school.
Getting back, Gatwick to Victoria was no problem. "Here's 29 quid", thank you Sir and Madam, that gets you to Victoria in 35 minutes. I thought we'd take a taxi home but the taxi driver said he wouldn't go to Tottenham because there was too much traffic. (Or maybe because my wife is black - definitely a reason I can't rule out).
No Taxi, so we tried the Victoria Line... "Alles kaput".
No Victoria Line so we tried a number 73 bus, which (hours later) dumped us in Tottenham Court Road (for those who don't know London, it's no where near Tottenham). Somehow, we limped, heavily laden with suitcases, to Euston and a 476 bus that this time did bring us near enough to home.
To make matters worse, while on holiday I won... a holiday. I'll be going to the Canaries in September.