Manchester to the Costa Del Sol, Cabopino Camping
It was hailing in Manchester as I got on the plane. The wind was biting and the bit in between the bus and the door to the plane was typically wet and cold, a sign that Blighty didn’t want me to forget her charms.
Be grateful when you get there because I’m gonna be here when you get back! Mwahahaa!
Something I’ve noticed since the EU Referendum is that queues with English people have changed…no longer is it obligatory to make small talk when waiting in one with your ears freezing off. Trying to look like you could stand there all day and it would only be a slight annoyance that icicles are forming at the end of your nose.
Yeah, since the vote, forced politeness seems to have gone of the window. Whereas before when I travelled I would feel like I had to make conversation along any route, about the weather, the customs process, the hope of better weather or just generally less grimness when escaping the North of England.
I don’t put much effort into it anymore because no one else does.
I try in vain for about 2 minutes to catch some eye contact and smile but no one here reciprocates.
So, I don’t bother anymore and just absorb the silence.
When I say grim, I don’t mean it’s horrible or full of nastiness or that any one thing makes it grim. I love Yorkshire where I was born and raised, there are some lovely parts to it. It’s just that at this time of year when the horizon sometimes seems to be constantly grey, the wind is biting and people walk with grim determination as quickly as possible…it feels grim. It’s also Manchester Airport.
Many cities seem to try to emulate the perceived cool of London about 15 years ago… Manchester,Leeds, Birmingham etc but each had it’s own cool before. I remember when there were shops all over Leeds city centre where you could buy stuff you could only get there. Nowadays each looks a bit like a large version of Carnaby Street as it is today, not the swinging ’60’s version.
In my experience, most cities I’ve visited in the last 10 years globally seem to have had the chain store/ fake unique boutique chain store homogeneity of corporate sprawl splattered over their centres. Slightly away from the CBD and those extremely high rents you still have independent businesses and more local/ different types of experiences but even those increasingly seem to fall into a pattern of cheap Chinese imports and coffee shops…
Anyways, I’ll try and keep on track! I get on the plane, you know that feeling when you’re nearly there but don’t quite believe you’ve got there without anything going wrong and you haven’t forgotten anything (I think…)…so happy but not quite there yet.
I get to the row of seats to find there is a man wearing a blue business suit and white shirt sitting in my “paid for” extra legroom seat by the emergency exit seat.
He ignores me.
You see, there are hidden benefits of the recent acceptability of rudeness/ social awkwardness, it could get you some freebies!
That is if the person whose seat it actually is just plays along and accepts that the man in the suit is right.
Me: “Are you 14F? Because I think you’re in my seat”
Businessman: “I’m 14D by the window”
Me: “Sorry but that is by the aisle not the window, see?” Pointing to the picture clearly displayed above the seats…
Businessman, annoyed look on face but fake corporate smile fixed in place that screams calmness and sensibilities in a world of the unwashed: “Oh!”
Eyebrows crease in concern “I missed yesterday’s flight and my secretary booked this!” Grumble, moves seat, big show of his annoyance at said secretary.
I always enjoy these little power plays because people assume I am not educated/ well paid because I tend to travel functionally as compared to stylistically prepared for a board meeting… the old 20th Century power dressing parodigm.
Reminds me of Sue Ellen and Krystle Carrington from Dallas and Dynasty. Nostalgic and fun to watch for a few minutes but not a way to live your life, I felt sad for this stressed out bloke. On his way to the Costa Del Sol in a small Jet2 plane in a seat his “secretary” didn’t book properly.
So, I said “I hear ya, my secretary left a few months ago and we haven’t been able to replace her yet. Just can’t get the people these days!”
This is in fact true. I wondered what response this would illicit but there was merely a look of annoyance in the eyes, the fixed smile remained the same, reptilian.
He then did a hrrmph noise in his throat and proceeded to not talk to me for the entire journey. I did offer my preordered muffin and bread roll but this offering was rejected with minimal discourse.
All in all, a pleasant flight, had a little sleep and by the time we landed in the sun was pretty happy. I did have a nice little chat with an English lady when I offered to help her with her bags who seemed genuinely nice and cheerful but the rest of the flight seemed very happy to keep their distance.
Got through the automated passport bit with fingerprint and passport scanners relatively easily.
The slowest part was watching the poor policeman being technical support to clueless older people who couldn’t work out which way around to put things or what finger to use…
To think, that guy had been to police academy to learn how to fight crime and make a difference, he ends up politely placing the fingers of octogenerians into the right hole…ahem…
I pick my bags up and then call me friend who I’ve come to visit, to let him know I’m here. He said he would pick me up no problem.
He doesn’t answer. I whatsapp him, no answer. I phone him a few more times, straight to answerphone.
Hmm…I thought, not the best start.
So, I walk around a bit…I usually find that when I’m looking for something it turns up behind me when I am asking somebody about it, for example:
Me: “Donde estas los banos?”
Stranger: “Aqui” points behind me with pity.
Anyways, turns out my mate is still in his caravan park at 1pm and hasn’t managed to drive the 40 km to come and pick me up. I had woken up at 5am after 4 hours sleep to get there at this point…
So, I get in the taxi and we have a lovely chat on the way to the park. I with my pigeon Spanish…Claro amigo! Si, comprendo, jaajjajaa! The taxi driver asking about the price of living in England.
I managed to get across to him that a single bedroom flat in Central London would cost upwards of £250 000. He understood this point and we both laughed at the craziness of the world. No fake corporate etiquette here!
We were near Marbella which he told me was just as bad…shared experience brought us together.
I met my friend at the entrance to the park, over tipped the taxi driver by mistake, he didn’t give me back the change…and hugged my friend.
Within 5 minutes my annoyance at not being picked up was forgotten and we were catching up.
*Please note the featured image is from http://travelaway.me/costa-del-sol-winter/