Adventure #4: skiing and chocolate milkshakes.

26 03 2011

It takes no Sherlock Holmes to work out that if I’m blogging, I must have survived skiing!! Go me! Mum, Dad, boyfriend and I, all came back somewhat aged and achey, but we all made it through the week without serious injury. Well, physically… maybe not mentally!

Skiing lived up to everything I thought it would be: terrifying, exhausting, really hard, painful and the most amazing fun. I think I experienced a spectrum of all human emotions at some point during the week, everything from fear to elation. There were hundreds of hilarious moments but I’ve cherry picked a few key ones for your pleasure.

For those of you that don’t know my Dad, he’s hilarious. He’s also the clumsiest person I know, so basically it was like teaching an older 6ft 2 orangutang to ski (love you Dad). Our skiing instructor Franck, was possibly the most patient person I’ve ever met, and the craziest, but somehow he did it, and he managed to teach us all to ski. My Dad’s best moment was on the second day coming down the nursery slopes. Dad’s body seemed to freeze when faced with accumulating speed, so rather than attempting to stop or fall over, he just got faster and faster until he crashed into something or someone. So my favourite moment by far was when my Mum and I got to the top of the button lift and came off, and were prepring to pootle down the slope, when I looked round and said “Mum, isn’t that Dad over there?” and all we could see was Dad, hurtling at break neck speed across the slope, heading right for the button lifts… the best part of this was that he was going backwards. Right behind Dad trying to catch him up was Super Franck shouting “weight on the left, WEIGHT ON THE LEFT!” but I’m not sure that really made a difference when you’re skiing backwards… So moments later, Dad ploughs into the button lifts, taking out maybe 4 or 5 children and a few beginner adults, who will probably be too terrified to ever ski again.

Poor Dad, although, we all had our fair share of falls. I had a corker on the 3rd day which was a prequel to my mental and physical mid week breakdown, where I cried a lot and wanted to go home more than anything in the whole wide world. I fell most of the way down the last very steep part of a run, and clattered into a French family who were just chatting at the bottom of the hill. They weren’t very concerned I’d just slid on my arse the whole way down the run, they just proceeded to shout at me in French till I cried, but luckily it looked like I had my game face on as you can’t see tears behind my Ray-Bans (thank god!).

That night was a bad one. I’d had enough, I couldn’t ski as well as my bf, who was bloody brilliant (which really pissed me off), everything hurt, absolutely EVERYTHING (even smiling hurt), I was exhausted, and terrified of hurting myself. That evening I pretty much behaved like a tired and emotional toddler at a birthday party after no afternoon nap and too much cake. However, the next day I picked myself up, got my thermal underwear on, and all of a sudden I could SKI!!! It was a tremendous feeling to actually enjoy myself and relax into it a bit. Don’t get me wrong I was still petrified, but now it was fun!

Amongst my bf being ‘so good that he kept falling over when we were standing still’ because ‘it was just too slow for him’, my Mum getting altitude sickness and falling in love with Franck, and continuously taking me out by skiing into me 10 times a day, we had a lot of laughs and that was the most important thing. The funniest bit being when my bf and I ordered 2 chocolate milkshakes and the bill was 16 Euros!!!

Because he was by far the best skier I’m allowed to do this (he’ll probably kill me though) here is a little video for you of one my bf’s falls…

Did I enjoy the holiday? Well, I’m not sure I’d call it a holiday, more of an experience, and enjoy might not be quite the right word. BUT, I can’t wait to save up all my money and go again next year!!!

News on the hamster: hasn’t arrived yet, BUT I’ve found an awesome cage for it called ‘hamster heaven’ and I’m bidding for it on eBay – 1 day left and I’m winning! Now just got to get little hammy to go in it. Yippee!

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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).