Adventure #2: wrist bands and invasions of personal space.

28 01 2011

Ola mon amigos! 1st fact of the day – they speak Spanish in the Dominican Republic.  2nd fact of the day… I definitely do not speak Espangol. Franglais however, I’m fluent in, but Spanish – No. I did however attempt a few jovial conversational quips with the barmen on holiday, but the vacant looks I received when it was their turn to speak, was a definite sign I should have stuck with ‘1 pina colada and 1 beer please’. I will attempt however to throw in a little Spanish here and there to demonstrate my blog has the potential for international status etc etc.

So, we had a muy bien time on hols. It was so lovely to see the beautiful sea and walk along the white sandy beaches. The flight was long, but worth it to step out into lovely weather and beautiful views. On arriving at the airport we were met by our tour operator who popped us on our mini bus and stuck his head through the window to explain a few things. In his lovely Caribbean accent he said “Now your transfer to the hotel will be about 5 minutes. But you have to understand, in the Dominican Republic, that’s about 20 – 25 minutes” And off we went to our hotel. The journey took 30 minutes.

The all inclusive holy grail.

At the hotel we got our ‘all inclusive’ wrist bands (beautifully bright orange so went with nothing I owned). I got used to the all inclusive way of life quite quickly, but there are definitely a distinct set of pros and cons. PRO: not having to pay for anything! It was lovely just walking up to the bar ordering a drink, no need for foreign currency or money or even a wallet, just order and go! Equally after dinner, no need to wait for the bill, just get up and go. Very nice. CON: Limited selection of items and queuing. Obviously there’s only a limited selection of things, which does get a little tedious after a while, but for a week, you manage – 2 weeks however would have been buffet food OVERLOAD.  Which brings me onto one of my main points of adventure #2… PEOPLE PUSHING IN.

When people say the British love to queue, I’ve always politely laughed at this and thought, yes there are quite a few things we queue for in life. However, post holiday I’ve realised, no, we’re just the only people who know the etiquette of queuing, and other nationalities are frankly just rude! So I’ve come up with few easy to follow tips for people who find it hard to stand patiently in a queue:

  1. Deal with it.
    Sometimes you have to queue. If you can see the end of the line AND you can see it’s moving, this is a good thing! Do not proceed to huff and puff, mutter under your breath, and make generally REALLY ANNOYING noises right behind me. You’ll get your egg white omelette in less than 3 minutes. Chill.
  2. Stand well back.
    Once you have taken up your place in the queue, do not stand SO CLOSE behind me so that A) I can feel you breathing as your smelly breath makes the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up and B) bump into me every 30 seconds as you start huffing and fidgeting. Do not touch me. Ever.
  3. Don’t push in.
    The most important rule of all. Just because I’m standing 2 feet away from the person in front (to avoid becoming their conjoined twin), doesn’t mean you can just push in front of me. That small space is a polite distance, NOT THE END OF THE QUEUE. More importantly, you know that’s the case, so don’t get pissed off when I kindly and politely point this out to you. Get to the back and follow points 1 & 2.
  4. Be polite.
    When you get to the front, after your short time in the queue, be polite to the person serving you. It’s not their fault you had to wait a little, and it’s not their fault you didn’t follow these simple steps, and consequently had a bad queuing experience.  Remember your manners.

Now, don’t feel these simple steps are only applicable for a buffet queue. They can be implemented in many queuing situations. For example: airport check-in, immigration or even at Starbucks. Also, adapted slightly with a little common sense, they can also be used for baggage reclaim. Mini high-fives to all of you who already follow these steps, or similar.

My legs never got much browner...

I’m not sure I would do an all inclusive holiday again, but we did have a nice time, and I did have a lovely relax and dipped my feet in the cool clear waters of the sea.

On returning back from holiday, I’ve just started a new job! So I’m currently in my first week trying not to make an idiot of myself and be super friendly, so no doubt my next adventure will be my new work related embarrassing
moment(s). Thank goodness January is nearly over. Yippeee. Hopefully the year will start to perk up a bit. After all, it’s only 37 days until my birthday.

Final fact of the day. It really is the Germans that reserve all the sun beds on the beach at silly o’clock, it’s not just a cultural stereotype or urban myth. It’s a fact. Hamsters in Germany are sold with a mini towel and alarm clock (battery not included).


Adventure #1: abandoned Christmas trees and a package holiday.

5 01 2011

Welcome to January everyone! Happy New Year to you all. Hands up who has got the January blues already? Mine is definitely brewing nicely. According to my terribly bad counting skills I think today is the 12th day of Christmas (it might be tomorrow), which means if you leave your decorations up any later than this day it will bring you bad luck for the rest of the year. Being very superstitious myself, last night I promptly took all the decorations off our little tree and packed them all away in their boxes ready for a nice long sleep. Jealousy suddenly came over me, and I wanted to be packed away in a nice little box until the festive season, ready to come out gleaming and to be admired by onlookers. Then I realised my January blues may be further advanced than I had first thought, as I’m sure being jealous of a Christmas decoration isn’t entirely normal…

Now, what to do with poor little naked Christmas tree? It wasn’t long ago I had such affection for it, and now I’m preparing to get rid of it. Poor little thing. Aren’t I lucky that Southwark council will take Christmas trees away with the garden waste collection! Excellent news. There is nothing more depressing than walking down your residential street on your way home after work, witnessing naked and withered abandoned Christmas trees lining the street, screaming at you CHRISTMAS IS OVER AND THE NEXT ONE ISN’T FOR AGES. Let’s hope I’ve interpreted the rather confusing council website correctly, and our little tree gets collected tomorrow for a trip to pine tree heaven, rather than abandoned tree hell. I’ll let you know what happens.

This year the terribly clever mathematicians have calculated that ‘Blue Monday’ this year will be 24 January.  19 days to go till we can all get on to thinking about even more depressing things, such as bloody Valentines day… sigh. So, in a super effort to beat the blues this year, for the first time ever we’re (boyfriend and I) are going on a last-minute, all-inclusive, package holiday!

Fancy a stroll along here? Yes please!

Just to make you all horribly jealous (but please keep reading…) we’re off to the Dominican Republic for a week! I can’t WAIT. Although, the package holiday has got off to a not so promising start… put it this way, I’m not staying where I originally wanted, or going on the dates I requested, I’m flying from Birmingham airport (!), and I’ve spoken to Rob from customer services so many times in 24 hours he now knows I’m a Pisces and my favourite hobby is eating out, and I know Rob is single living in Newcastle, and thinks he might be gay (but his parents don’t know). However, I’m a lucky girl to be going away for a week, so I keep looking at this picture and asking myself, ‘how bad can it be?’. I hope you’ll be looking forward to the post holiday write-up of the adventure? Can hamsters swim? How many cocktails can they drink in a row? The suspense is already killing me.

From where I’m sitting I can see the little Christmas tree all alone and cold outside in the rain… If it had eyes they would be puppy dogged shaped. I’m off to go and close the blinds before I go outside, bring it back in, and redecorate it ready for next year.

The birth of our friend the metropolitan hamster.

5 01 2011

Welcome friends of the Metropolitan Hamster to my inaugural post. It’s 2011, and I’ve decided it’s TTB (time to blog!). I’ve spent a long time considering what the subject of my blog might be, reading advice from fellow bloggers who strongly advise my content to be specific and ‘meeting someone’s needs’, however, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve decided (true to form) to ignore that advice, and write with freedom and honesty about my adventures.

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of adventure reads ‘an unusual and exciting or daring experience’. NB readers I will be using the common noun adventure loosely, as not all my stories will be of daring or unusual experiences, but how would we get through the routine of working life without the thought of an adventure every now and then? I hope, in some small way, my stories will bring a smile to your face or a feeling of solidarity in the obstacles we face in life (from raising awareness of world poverty to struggling onto the northern line during rush hour).  Also, you maybe wondering what on earth hamsters have to do with anything? But that’s for me to know (for now) and for you to find out…

For those of you that don’t know me, the metropolitan hamster is a 25 (soon to be 26 on the 6th March – I now expect and birthday message) year old girl from the home counties currently living in South East London with her boyfriend, asking herself very often: what the hell am I going to do with my life? Maybe this blog will help me figure it out…

Let the adventures begin.