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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mallorca ... Debrief

This was my third trip to Mallorca. The first was to a corner of the island that was still mostly frequented by Spaniards with the occasional smattering of Brits and Germans. The second was frequented by a fairly balanced mix of Brits and Germans with an occasional Spaniard tourist here and there. This time we went to Paguera, which for all intents and purposes could be annexed by Germany tomorrow. It does have several nice stretches of beach, one of which is pictured above.

We arrived fairly late on the first night, and the hotel was kind enough to lay out a couple plates of aufschnitt (cold cuts) and fruit. I was not very confident of the food handling since the wrapped plates were essentially at room temperature, so I picked at the food and then suggested to the Partnerin that we venture out and see what we could find on the streets at midnight. Sure enough, just around the corner from the hotel was an imbiss, and even though we were only out of Germany for a few hours, a bratwurst and pommes sounded good.

We had to wait behind a couple of women who were waiting on their own pommes, when one turned around and started talking very lively to the Partnerin. Questions included things like "Where are you staying?" and "Do you know ... ?" It was clear that they were drunk, but less clear what they were after. Based on dress, jewelry, and styling, my New York instincts suggested they might also be hitting on the Partnerin, but she assured me that they were just a couple of nice, albeit drunk, women. Whatever ... I was never good at telling these things. Turns out we saw them waking up on the beach the next morning in the same clothing, so more likely than not they were simply looking for a place to crash and didn't find one.

We wandered about the island for most of the week, taking in things like the Cathedral in Palma ...

various landmarks, like the tower at Canyamel, which has a decent, albeit somewhat touristy restaurant that serves an excellent Spanferkel (roast suckling pig) ...

and lots of scenery, photos of which I might plug in sometime in the future ...

A few of the comments on my last post suggested that Mallorca is problemmatic for a number of reasons, like it being too much like Daytona Beach and too full of Germans.

Well, I used to live just down the road from Daytona Beach, and yes, some of the places around Magaluf strike me as being like the worst of Florida. But in all honesty, Mallorca is at best like pre-Disney Florida. In fact, I'm surprised it is not a part of the Disney family. Disney-world Mallorca would certainly bring it into the 21st century.

As for there being too many Germans, even the Partnerin was beginning to grow weary of her fellow country-persons after day two.

As for me, I was the exotic character by reason of being American. I'm sure that at any one time there might be as many as 10 Americans on the island, but I certainly did not come across any of them. What did start to happen after day four was that restaurant proprietors would give us a big "Ola" as we walked by, probably because as an American I tended to tip rather generously by European standards. On a couple of days people would start to talk to me in German, and when I replied in Spanish or English they quickly answered, "Oh, you are English ... I am so sorry!" I'm sure they were apologising simply for picking the wrong language!

On Day Five, I tried an experiment, walking into the restaurant and giving a big "Hi!" in a broad American accent. The first question was (in English), "Are you from America?" And quick and attentive service followed from there. They earned a big tip, and got one.

Perhaps the most fun thing for me was that it was one of the few places in the world where I have a linguistic advantage on the Parternin. I learned Spanish in the US and lived in Portugal for a year and a half, so I kind of spoke and understood the language. But the Partnerin could still follow the conversations based on her school French, so it is a slim edge. Not that we are in competition, but it is nice to have some shred of dignity somewhere in the world.

Mallorca is a nice diversion, especially when Spring seems to elude us in Germany. But someone is going to have to tell the folks at Disney so that they can do something to upgrade the package.


Anonymous Hamish said...

Sounds like an interesting place. The first time I heard about Mallorca, it sounded so exotic and exclusive (maybe just the name), but Florida comparisons kind of take away from the mystique.

In any case, sounds like it was a nice holiday, although you did miss some nice Spring weather here in Frankfurt.

9:24 AM, April 24, 2006  
Anonymous Finlander said...

Your comments on little me were absolutely delightful. I decided to pay attention to your blog, if I may, and keep my filthy yap shut.

7:48 PM, April 24, 2006  
Blogger christina said...

"...but it's nice to have some shred of dignity somewhere in the world."

You said it! It's great when the balance of power shifts over to the other side once in a while, isn't it? :-)

Wonderful pictures. But I did warn you about all those Germans. Sounds like you had a great time anyway.

9:42 PM, April 24, 2006  
Blogger Mike B said...

Hamish: Yep, I knew that if I blew a few hundred Euros, spring would finally come to Frankfurt to spite me.

Finn: You are always welcome, and hopefully I won't give too much offense for you to yap about.

Christina: Yes, you warned me, but tickets were already bought and paid for! Still, I would go again (perhaps not to Paguera)

12:39 PM, April 25, 2006  

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