Well, it finally happened: the weather here got so bad that this week Terry and I started thinking about booking a last-minute holiday, to get ourselves some cheap* winter sun.
This, of course, means I’ve been spending a lot of time on Trip Advisor lately.
At first, I was just there for the reviews: because I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t even consider booking a hotel without reading approximately a millionty-one reviews of it first. (Although it has to be said that I’m usually looking for the exact opposite of what most reviewers seem to care about. For instance, when a hotel has lots of people complaining about the non-existent entertainment and lack of atmosphere, I just think, “Great: that means I won’t be kept awake all night by the thumping baseline from the on-site nightclub: sign me up!”) After a while, though, I found myself returning to Trip Advisor purely for the LOLs. And occasionally for the WTFs.
You find a lot of strange things on Trip Advisor, people. Lots of stories, lots of incredible comments, lots of.. well, racism, to be totally blunt. And I’m not there for the racism, I hasten to add: it’s just pretty hard to avoid it sometimes, when you’re trawling through reviews of yet another apartment complex which…well, you’ll see.
Here are some strange things I’ve seen in Trip Advisor reviews this week…
“not enough children in the buffet”
I’m guessing they meant to say “not enough FOR children in the buffet”, but you never really know, do you? And, I mean, a hotel that serves children for dinner is bad enough, but a hotel that doesn’t have enough to go around is TERRIBLE.
“not much to eat for English people”
Er, possibly because it’s in Spain?
“All inclusive was a misdemeanor…”
Either you mean to say “misnomer”, or something went on here that I’m much more interested in than I probably should be.
“Day 1, guest dies in pool…”
Some people are just SO inconsiderate, aren’t they? I mean, they couldn’t have chosen to die somewhere else? Is that really too much to ask? Because the pool area was closed for FOUR HOURS after that, and SOME people were trying to have a holiday, you know?
“this is full of german and dutch people and not 1 english sausage…”
Because if you’re going to travel all the way to Spain, the very LEAST you should be able to expect is a nice English sausage, FFS. What’s the point of traveling abroad, after all, if you’re not going to be able to get exactly the same things you get at home?
“We had to call the POLICE on our check out because the hotel didn’t gave us the official government complaints book…”
You called the POLICE because you didn’t like your hotel? And I thought I was a drama queen!
“A lot of local people. Security always unhappy if you sit outside and speak after 10 o’clock with children, we must shut up because local people want to sleep”
Pesky locals, with their stupid need for sleep! What right do THEY have to call all the shots? This would never happen back in good ol’ Blightly, let me tell you. No, back home, if tourists want to keep us up all night, we just let ’em – we even cook them a nice sausage in the morning and everything, because who cares if we have to go to work on no sleep? These people are on HOLIDAY, for God’s sake!
“We didn’t expect the hotel to be at the top of a steep hill.”
Right. Because there’s nothing in the name “Panoramic Heights” that would suggest that, is there? And the panoramic views featured on every single photo on their website could just as easily have been taken at ground level, couldn’t they? That’s false advertising, if you ask me…
“We were staying there half bored…”
This could mean “half BOARD” or it could mean what it ACTUALLY says: we will never know.
“There’s not much entertainment for babies, ours was too young for the kiddie club, so if you have a baby with you, I don’t know what you’re supposed to do with it all day?”
Er, you could try looking after it yourself? Novel idea, but it just might work!
And, finally, my all-time favourite…
“We were all walking beside the pool area, wearing our santa hats, and dragging our suitcases along. It was when we glimpsed into the pool that we all thought ‘here we go…’ It was full of travellers (Gypsies) Not many english foke [sic] and many people were speaking in foreign languages!!”
You know what would be awesome? A country that only had English people in it! And everything in it could be English: language, sausages, er, santa hats – the lot! We could call it ‘England’! And there would be none of those foreign foke in it: we don’t want their sort around here!
Now, all sarcasm aside (Er, you DID all get that I was being sarcastic in the responses above, didn’t you? Because I’m kinda paranoid that someone’s going to come along and think I was actually agreeing with them, and I’m not sure I could stand it…), some of the things I’ve read this week have been just … mind-boggling, really. Quite apart from the casual xenophobia that apparently leads people to believe that “foreign foke” shouldn’t even exist in foreign countries (I mean, I shudder to think what some of these people would think if they encountered an OMGFOREIGNER in their OWN country…), there’s also the strange fact that an awful lot of people apparently spend a lot of money to go on holiday, with the expectation that it will be EXACTLY LIKE HOME. And if it’s not, they will complain. Bitterly.
I mean, I’m guessing most of them are there purely for the sun, and you know, that’s cool: I’ve done it myself, and I have every intention of doing it again. This upcoming holiday, for instance (assuming we can find a hotel that doesn’t have dead people by the pool and children in the buffet, that is…) is going to be the kind of cheap break you take just to escape the miserable British weather for a while, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, really.
Even with the kind of trip where we mostly just want to relax, though, we still love to explore, to experience a different way of life, and to just be somewhere else – and all of the little differences you encounter on a vacation are the very things that make it memorable, aren’t they? Hearing all of the different languages being spoken around the pool. Eating food you don’t often find at home. Wearing your Santa hat as you drag your suitcase along the.. wait: maybe not that last one, huh?
For a lot of people, though, it’s just an excuse to drink a lot of cheap alcohol in the sun, and then complain on Trip Advisor that it was watered down, and that the man who served it had a funny accent. Sometimes I despair for humanity.
(*”Cheap” being the operative word: so no, we will not be going to Australia, New Zealand, or anywhere else very far away!)