The Package Trip – Day 1

Today I went on holiday. I’m there right now. In a hotel. Somewhere else in Europe. They speak Spanish (and are also fluent in English).
I’m typing on an iPhone into the WordPress app, ready to take advantage of international data roaming. 2010, it is.

This is only the second time in my life I’ve ever been on a package holiday. The first was a Club 18-30 holiday that a friend won in a competition (which he didn’t remember entering because he was drunk at the time), and invited me along.
It was almost exactly like you imagine. Chavs, and a knackered old coach from the airport, which must have done a complete lap of every other hotel in Corfu, before finally arriving at ours. Then the early start next morning (after very little sleep) to try and get you drunk on Ouzo, and to sell you excursions.
I upset one rep on the first day by telling her I couldn’t afford all the events she was flogging, and that I could get drunk without her help. We bought three in the end because my friend fancied her. Two were a complete waste of money.

Then we upset most of the other Club 18-30 holidaymakers before lunch, by going to the bar and, while they took a Budweiser and sat down, me and my friend ordered a tea and a coffee.
The bartender seemed excited at the prospect of doing something other than opening another bottle, and proclaimed that he was about to make a really good cappuccino. The bartender really went out of his way.
He took ages.
I don’t know if you’ve ever held up a queue of chavs desperate to get drunk, while ordering a cappuccino and tea, but it’s an uncomfortable feeling.
We bought a kettle from a nearby supermarket and made our own from that point on.

Anyway, let’s see if this holiday is going better than that one, shall we?

Nice things:
– Taxi to airport was early, driver not too chatty (it was really early – far too early for talking).
Last package trip: long drive to London. This holiday wins.

– Thomson staff are very professional and helpful, when there was a problem (see below).
Last package holiday: our main hotel rep (not the one I upset) was arrested, then deported, a couple of months after my trip, for fellating a man on a public, family beach, during a drinking game.

– Off the plane, pretty quick onto a (nice, air conditioned) coach, and away. At our hotel in under 30mins.
Last package trip: ages in a bus that looked like it hadn’t been serviced since before I was born.

– Other people staying at our hotel are quite nice/friendly. Chatted briefly to several, and they’re nice. They are somewhat older than us, though. At a guess, I’d say the average age is about 55. Maybe slightly higher.
Last package trip: they were 90% complete idiots (if not higher).

Bad things:
– Showing on the screens during our flight was Glee, followed by a James May documentary about space travel. Glee is irritating as hell.
I like James May, but a documentary looking at the history of flight inevitably includes a “things don’t always go right” section, that reminds you that when flight goes wrong, it REALLY goes wrong.
I was a bit nervous as I haven’t been on a plane in such a long time.
Last package holiday: flight showed several episodes of My Family. I think that’s a draw.

– We’d paid for breakfast, my girlfriend had specified vegetarian, but they didn’t have her down as such. Hence she got a meat-included one, and enjoyed a nice bread roll, orange juice and cup of tea.

– Sadly, I actually got the breakfast I ordered. It’s been so long since I’ve been on a plane, I’d forgotten how horrible airline food is.
They just over overcomplicate it.
When it’s 7:45am and I’ve been up since 4, after about 2 hours sleep, what I want is maybe a chocolate croissant and cup of tea.
So given that everyone else was in a similar situation, and the limited cooking facilities they must have to heat food, why do they aim so insanely high?
They attempted tomatoes, omelette, sausage, and bacon-potato rostis.
I know that, because it was stamped on the outside of the foil packet it came in.
I managed about half the sausage. Tried the rest but it was all pretty grim.
I also enjoyed a bread roll, some orange juice and cup of tea.
And considering the time I spent at the airport, I could have eaten actual food there.
Last package holiday flight food: just as grim. Must remember to refuse flight meals on next trip.

– Everything seems quite expensive.
There are vending machines here selling 500ml of water for €2.
The exchange rate at the moment makes that nearly £2. For a 500ml bottle of water?
To put that in perspective, a UK motorway services charge about £1.30 for that.
Standard bar of chocolate is about €1.50.
I saw an English version of today’s Daily Mail earlier for €2. That’s at least €2 too much.
Last package trip: water was, if anything, cheaper than UK supermarkets. However, Corfu’s tap water is definitely undrinkable, and there are street fountains here now. I guess if everyone in the country uses something, it gets cheaper.

Anyway I should get to sleep. It’s been a very long day, and there’s a meeting tomorrow morning to sell us excursions…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *