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Joke’s on him anyway, because my ears only suffered minor twinges of pain.
Then you arrive and get through more security checks. This pisses me off. I couldn’t have gotten this far if everything wasn’t alright with me. Just let me roam free in your country where I can be ignorant and not know anything about your culture.
Then you have the heat.
The insufferable, unbearable, searing, burning heat of a Mediterranean country… in September.
I burn like an absolute bastard.
My skin doesn’t know what the sun is.
He feels a bit of sun and instantly turns red and stings for the next few days and stops me sleeping. It doesn’t matter how much sun protection I apply. I will burn. I will burn instantly. And it won’t “turn into tan” like some people say it will. That doesn’t fucking happen.
My skin burns, turns red, then gets itchy and peels and is pale again, like it should be.
I don’t know why everyone thinks a tan suits them.
Some people look great with a tan and it can be incredibly attractive.
Not everyone though.
I’m alright with my pale skin thanks.
I don’t look good in sunglasses either. No matter what sunglasses I try on, they somehow never fit me properly and rather than looking cool and suave, I look like a blind man.
Shorts. You have to wear shorts. But I’m fucked if I’m wearing those shorts with the flowers on them that everyone seems to be wearing these days. When did these shorts become alright to wear? Give me nice plain aul’ shorts, thanks.
Worst of all though, is footwear when on holidays. Flip-flops. Fucking flip-flops.
Whenever I wear flip-flops I just think to myself that there HAS to be a better invention than flip-flops. I also feel this way about umbrellas.
Us humans have created the internet for fuck’s sake. Why can’t we invent some footwear that suits the heat but doesn’t require shitloads of effort just to keep on your foot? And don’t get me started on the toe notch thing digging into the space between your toes the whole time. There simply has to be something better.
Same goes for umbrellas. Rain is a huge problem in the world. Yet the best weapon we have to fight it is this flimsy little thing that can’t stand any wind and you have to hold the entire time? Bollocks. Even make umbrellas that you can slot onto your shoulders so you don’t have to hold the whole time.
Fucking flip-flop and umbrella companies are living it up, rolling in dosh from their useless, shitty and overwhelmingly awkward products, and I’ve had enough.
And now the food.
When I go abroad I’m not expecting the food to be the same. Trying different foods is interesting and exciting, so I’m not expecting spuds and beans every meal when I’m away.
What bothers me is when I can’t get little things I want, and I don’t understand why.
I brought over my own teabags over to Spain, because Irish teabags are infinitely better than Spanish teabags. But alright, maybe the Spanish like their tea a different way than the Irish, so fair enough.
But then I wanted to buy biscuits for my tea. I had to get substandard digestives and rubbish chocolate chip cookies.
They just don’t have nice biscuits on the continent.
Why is this?
And don’t tell me it’s a taste or cultural thing. Those biscuits were fucking shite.
Is anyone seriously going to tell me that the Spanish wouldn’t enjoy a chocolate Hobnob?
Not a fucking chance.
Everyone likes Hobnobs.
I then wonder if a Spanish person came to Ireland and had a Hobnob, would they be amazed and want to bring boxes of them home?
That’s how I feel when I get to try different flavours of Calippo icepops when I’m abroad.
I like to think of myself as a fairly competent person, but being on holidays really makes me doubt this. Really basic tasks suddenly make me confused and unsettled.
Take for example, opening the door of the new place you’re staying.
When I’m at home, I can open my front door very easily. I have the key, I’ve been using it for years, and I do it without a second of hesitation.
On holiday though, I can’t open a door to save my life.
It doesn’t matter how many times I jiggle the key or try to force it to turn, I just don’t have the knack for doing it. Give that key to a three-fingered three year old child and he’d manage it before I would.
Then you have hotels that have swipe cards. You better believe that I’ll swipe that card the wrong way several times before the light goes green and I can get in.
Then you go down to the pool and have to pick up a sunbed and pick your sunbathing spot.
Does anyone in the world know the best way to pick up and carry a sunbed?
I tried several different approaches and none of them looked or felt comfortable, and when it came to placing the sunbed down in my desired spot, I couldn’t have been more awkward. Trying not to drop my towel or knock my stupid sunglasses off or get the sunbed caught in my flip-flops. Nightmare.
It always takes me so long to find the appropriate temperature in the shower when I’m away.
Likewise, I don’t understand why the toilet has two flush buttons. They both seem to perform the same function.
Then I feel like such an arsehole when I go abroad and don’t speak the local language. When foreign people are in Ireland we expect them to speak English.
But me, learn some Spanish before going to Spain? Fuck that shit. I’ll just be an ignorant, uncouth moron who says things a little bit slower and with more hand gestures and hope that everything works out alright.
But then I feel like such a fraud when I try throwing in a “Gracias” or a “Por favor”. And often they respond in English anyway, almost as if they’re telling me not to even bother tainting their language with my stupid Irish accent.
On the last day of a holiday I usually get pretty excited about being at home again.
You can’t beat your own bed.
Your own toilet.
Your own cupboards of junk food.
Waking up and not being covered in sweat.
Not having to worry about strange bugs biting you and leaving red itchy bumps on your skin.
I got home and had a cup of tea and some soda bread and went on the internet in my bed until 4am.
Today it has been raining all day.
There’s no place like home.