Sunday 24 February 2019

Great memories

It has been a wonderful week, I have loved the beach and the waves have been great. Despite my costume filling up with sand in the most bizarre places, the body surfing has been such fun!

I managed to read an entire book! which did not include  pictures!

Riding on this little train has been fun
The weight lifting kept me fit

Our last evening

Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read about my week away, especially those of you who have emailed me with comments and suggestions. I have now been back at home for more than a week and it all seems so long ago.

Saturday 23 February 2019

A sight for sore eyes

When the sun begins to set, the lighting on the beach is stunning, everyone comes out and walks along the sands, enjoying the last hours of the day.

The entire beach however, was entertained by a very confident young lady, who was having her photo taken but not as most of us would, no, she was striking a variety of 'provocative poses' on the beach! Many involved various props such as scarfs and a hat.

Some of her poses certainly attracted some wonderful lookers on, and I couldn't resist taking a photo of the bizarre situation which unfolded in front of me and continued for some time. 

Friday 22 February 2019


Tipping is so confusing, I think resorts should have some ‘tipping advice’ for guests, a discreet little write up somewhere, just letting guests know, what to tip for and when to do it?

When I go to a restaurant in the UK, tipping happens after the meal, we don't make a song and dance about it here, its all very 'discreet' .... left on the table or in with the payment, almost as if the customer is embarrassed about leaving it. If staying in a hotel, the room servicing its not tipped, we don't leave cash lying about in our rooms.

So here, I find myself watching to see when it’s done, in the buffet a family arrive and the chap extends a seriously warm greeting towards the waiter, as if the waiter is their long lost brother and the waiter in turn, treats him like he has know him for years, all broad smiles and attentive service all night. Water topped up, wine topped up,  would you like anything else, all such wonderful service.
Then on departing, a farewell handshake with so much bravado I’m waiting for an embrace!

This is happening at other tables too, It’s no ordinary hand shake though, oh no, there is a surreptitious exchange of the dollar, somehow affixed to the palm and exchanged on contact. How it’s stuck there goodness knows, it seems almost seamless and each party is aware of it and enacts the performance. Some performances warrant a stage, others quite frankly, an Oscar.

I have never heard of tipping for a buffet.

It was day three before I worked out that I should leave a tip each day for the room service. (unheard of in the UK, well certainly the hotels I would stay in)
I don't know how much I should leave, so I decide to leave a $5 bill. It had been two days and I felt a bit embarrassed about it really. My next decision is where should I leave it?
I can’t just leave it on the side, no one would take it surely?
I need to place it in plain sight, but not as if I had just left it lying about.
After wandering about thinking of various places to leave it, ( a crazy bit of stress on holiday) I settled for next to the fan shaped bed spread and left for dinner.
Then I began thinking 'would it be the same person each day'? 

When I got back the place looked like a bridal suite! There were flower petals strewn all over the bed, chocolate on my pillow, the towels were arranged like swans in the bathroom, there was more moisturiser than I would need for the entire week, my night wear was arranged in a most artistic manner (just a little weird) and a thank you note was written for me on the guest pad! 

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Signage Is so important.

It was totally my mistake.

I’m making my way to the beach, I’ve stopped for coffee, done a bit of people watching, but it’s still early so it’s very quiet.
The dress code in the Royal area is 'no beachwear' 

So with my beach bag under my arm, my plan is to change in the ladies into my costume and cokoy, I head for the ‘rest rooms’ near the beach, it’s very bright and the sunshine is bouncing back up at me from the light floor tiles, I can already feel the heat reflecting upwards... it’s going to be a hot day today.

It’s cool and quiet in the rest room, all the doors are open and I choose a cubicle.

I’m half into my costume when I hear something that makes me freeze... two men are chatting in Spanish very close to me. They are definitely here with me in the ladies and not outside.

Maybe they are cleaners? I hear doors closing.

No.... definitely not cleaners.

Then I hear more voices and I begin to feel very warm and just a bit uncomfortable, I’m not in the ladies! I stand in silence just listening, and the reality of it sinks in.

I finished getting dressed and stand very quietly listening for any noise.

I’ll casually walk straight out when it’s quite.
I’ve got to walk confidently, straight out.

It’s been a little while, but there is now silence, so I make a calm dash for it.

No one about, I turn back and realise my mistake..... really it could have happened to anybody!!

Monday 18 February 2019

Always look for the blue

I can’t believe I’m awake at 5am! It’s pitch black outside, and I don’t want to scroll through watching TV adverts with weird medical disclaimers.

The breakfast buffet opens at 6 so I might try and suss out the filter coffee machine. I drink tea, (its what we Brits do) and there are even 'twinnings' tea bags, but no kettle. The room is advertised as having tea and coffee making facilities, but I can’t see how I’m going to make tea. There is a chrome flask beneath a 'v' shaped filter, it would appear that the water goes in the back, then filters through to the flask. Still no idea how I get tea from this thing.

Not to worry, it’s day 1 I'm going to shake things up a bit and have coffee. I pour a small bottle of water (neatly placed by the side of the machine for utmost convenience) into the back of the machine, then open a large sachet containing a giant coffee bag which smells delicious, I sit this into the 'v' shaped filter, switch on the machine and before I know it, a blue light comes on and there is a reassuring bubbling sound.
I’m already beginning to feel that I’m doing quite well, no overflowing of the machine, and a mug of delicious hot coffee to start the day.
Tea might prove a problem though. Surely I’m not expected to put a tiny tea bag into that filter?

The breakfast buffet is deserted at 6. (frankly, Im not surprised) However, I cannot sit anywhere to the left of the dining room where a very large sign reads ‘diamond club’
The right section looks ok and the food is the same because it’s in the middle, there is a huge choice of anything I might surely wish for to begin my day, from nachos and yams to 6 different kinds of scrambled egg.
How many scrambled egg types does a person need?
The fresh fruit selection is really good.

I’m going to head off to the beach this morning.

I have a map which shows a direct path to the beach through the Royal Hotel, I wander past lush greenery,  yellow legged coots wander down the path squawking as they go. Mottled ducks with a large brood of ducklings meander along with me, I feel like I’m on a little wildlife walk, not to mention the peacocks which appear randomly en route.

The Royal is all marble and space, very smart, and the walkway to the beach is flanked by a number of shallow infinity pools linked by wooden walkways. As I reach the swimming pool area a sign greets me ‘memories path to the beach’ and another sign clearly states that these pools are for the exclusive and sole use of others (not me) yes...he diamond club!
I walk down a path with dense greenery on each side, past an opulent glass entrance, then past large wooden doors which say ‘for the sole use of Hideaway guests, only those with hideaway arm bands can enter this area’

I continue towards the sound of the sea, past some delightful water fountains (which appear to be for everyone to admire) then a glorious sight.... blue sea, crashing waves, white sand and palm trees. Plus, a sign which reads ‘memories guests this way’ to the right is a sea of blue plastic sun loungers, to the left are very tasteful beige sun beds with cream padded cushions, lovely towels neatly rolled up and placed on them, and a covered area for massages with delightful thin floaty curtains gently wafting in the breeze, rather like a magazine advert.
I head for the blue sun loungers.
The white beach and the sea are glorious. I spend the next couple of hours people watching and enjoying the sounds of the sea.
I really have landed in a little paradise.

Friday 15 February 2019

Sunshine here I come

Sitting on the plane for an hour at the airport due to ‘a slippy walkway’ means I can catch up on a little sleep, after all, it’s January, I’m lucky the airport isn’t closed again like it was yesterday. All those poor people stranded for 5 hours, looking out at the snowy runway, I can just have a little nap, then I’m on my way to a sunny week away.

Before I know it, its touchdown, my case is on the carousel (always a relief) and I’m pulling my case towards the line of waiting coaches amongst a sea of excited passengers all desperate to get onto their coach. My destination is ‘Memories’ it’s the second stop and just 20 minutes away, I will soon be sipping a long cool drink under an overhead fan, listening to the gentle waves lapping onto the beach.
Check-in was busy and noisy, I did however get a dark red icy drink of something occupying the bottom part of a champagne flute which was quite nice, a bit sweet perhaps, but yes, a welcome start. 

Once at the front of the queue the very first thing I needed to decide was ‘did I want to upgrade to the diamond club? Not having even seen the resort, why would I want to spend more?
If not the diamond club at US$50 a day then how about the lesser upgrade package, a snip at just US$30 a day more, with the added incentive today of a 10% discount, for today only.
My welcome drink now we’ll and truly gone, all I wanted was my room, so as a map was then thrust before me, the receptionist proceeded to put red rings around certain sections of the map telling me I could go here, here and here, I could eat here here and here, and I could 'sit here on the the beach, oh and there was the little train shuttle which would take me to me room, my bags would appear in my room like magic. But before I go, here is my blue wrist band, attached firmly, and not to be lost or it will cost an additional US$20 to replace, it acts as my room key allows me access to the resort and now all I needed to do was to go and have a wonderful time.

As I sat in the  open shuttle, I could hear laughter, splashing and the high pitched squeals of peacocks, yes, peacocks, I definitely spotted one on someone’s ground floor patio. I arrived at block 27, this place is a lot bigger than I had thought, those little flip flops are going to get good use.

I’m on the top floor, the view will be lovely, pity there is no lift, but not to worry.
Whew! At last I’m outside the door, but the wrist band doesn’t seem to be working. Instead of the little green light, I’m getting a big red one.... grrrr
However, all is not lost, there is a lovely concierge down on the ground floor, only three flights down... Now, should I leave my bag by the door or carry it all the way down... I’ll take it with me.
I should not have packed such heavy hand baggage, did I really need that book, my iPad, camera, and three pairs of glasses? Madness, next time I shall be far more savvy.

Hooray, it’s not a problem, he will be able open my door, only three flights back up again, then I’m in! It’s only 5pm it’s still lovely and sunny, there will be time for a quick change and a relax.

The room is lovely, the little balcony has a pool view, the TV says ‘Welcome me’ and my case is here! Result!
Should I leave the packing, get my cozzy on and sit by the pool for an hour, or unpack? Ha! No contest, I can unpack when it’s dark, let’s head for the pool.


Hang on, hang on, so once I’m in my cozzy, and had a swim,  I’m now in a wet cozzy, I then can’t get back into my room, and I can’t go to reception in wet swim wear....
This thwarts my swimming plan, so I now have to walk back to reception to get my wrist band rescanned!
So I am either in my room, or off to reception.....
It’s a LONG way back, and I havn't yet worked out where I catch the little train from....