Photography task: Patterns
Location: Kadriorg palace, Estonia
Camera setting: Landscape, Close up
Now, I’m gonna break tradition here and tell you that there is a lesson to be learned in this story. I am also gonna give you that lesson right here right now and it is:
Don’t let men, any men, plan a vacation. Ever!
We used to go for holidays with our cousins and their families when we were children. On the best years we were a group 30 people, which turned out to be more of a nightmare to some restaurateurs and the other hotel guests than a group of partying Brits. And we all know how bad they are!
The vacations were usually to the Greek islands, Grete and Rhodes, and were booked by my mum and aunt.
So, this one year the men wanted to do the work and take care of booking a holiday for all of us. Thankfully this time it wasn’t a 30-strong group. As much as I love my dad and my uncle I’m sorry to say they failed miserably. They went into the travel agent with one thought in mind; the holiday must be cheap. MISTAKE!
Sure, there’s no point wasting more money than necessary but there are valid reasons why there is a holiday season and then the rest of the year is not season. They booked our holiday to Cyprus for October, which is just outside of the season. They booked it then because it was cheaper.
They also opted for a 2-star hotel instead of the 3 stars which we had usually chosen to stay in because it sounded fine and was cheaper. So, we go to Cyprus, it’s still nice and warm and it’s great to get away from the darkening North. We arrive to the hotel… And it’s more of a hostel.
There were supposed to be 2 pools, there was 1. There was supposed to be a pool bar, but there wasn’t any. There were cockroaches climbing on the white walls and I remember distinctly that the toilet was the kind where you couldn’t throw even toilet paper in because it would block the pipes.
Since it was not season anymore the weather wasn’t ideal most of the week. On the first (or was it the second, third and fourth) night it rained heavily. 2 of the families had rooms on the top floor and both of their roofs leaked. A lot! So they woke up in the mornings on the lake side, sort of.
But it wasn’t all bad… or it sort of was because I was living through my most terrible teenage years at that point and that caused some issues. But now looking back at it all it was a bloody hilarious vacation. I’m done slacking off the conditions of the vacation and it’s time to move on to the events that took place and which I will remember till the end of my days;
The onion ring
As I mentioned we all know, and probably hate British tourists. They should not be confused with British people, oh no. The Brits abroad are a completely different race. I don’t know what goes askew in their brain the moment they leave the island but everybody knows how it goes, right?
Now, I was maybe 14 years of age and very, very interested in boys. Especially British boys. On the first day in Cyprus we went for lunch and sat children in one table and adults in another table further back. Next to the children’s (our) table there was a group of Irish boys of around 18-20 years of age.
The salad that had been ordered for me arrived and there were onion rings. I’m not sure if I knew anything about flirting back then but I guess I tried at least. In any case one of the Irish boys took an onion ring from my plate, which I thought was super cute. Unfortunately my mum and my godmother did not find this cute at all.
Instead, the moment he grabbed the onion ring from my plate, the entire city heard this enormous EXPLOSION!
That explosion was my mum and my godmother shouting and swearing at the top of their lungs IN FINNISH what horrible people those boys were and how they should never even look at my plate, let alone at me, etc. etc.
And on top of it all there was me screaming my head off at my mum and my godmother because they had just ruined a sweet moment between me and this dude and embarrassed me worse than anyone ever could. Basically there was just a shitload of screaming from which nobody could probably distinguish one word.
When it all calmed down the poor boy was consoled by his mates and I also told them how extreeeeemely embarrassed I was and so sorry for my family’s incomprehensibly bad behaviour. But that poor boy didn’t lift his head from the table until we left. And still after 15 years I think that my mum and godmother were bang out of order :D
“I wanna party!”
At that age I had never drunk alcohol or partied. We would just have had pajama parties among girls but I was a very good girl back then. But partying was starting to interest me. And being in Cyprus surrounded by some of the coolest clubs and bars I’ve ever seen, I found myself wanting to party. Not like get wasted but to go dancing.
So, there was one day when we were sitting on a terrace and I got into an argument with my parents, as you do at 14 years of age. And what do I do when I get into an argument is, I walk off. I vividly remember being completely lost in a supermarket as a small child many, many times, and since this was before cell phones there was no finding mum once I’d wandered off.
That time in Cyprus I went walking around this area which was surrounded by clubs; a dinosaur club I remember very distinctly. I was checking out one club when a middle-aged Cypriot (or probably Turkish) man came to talk to me, asking if I wanted to party. Of course I did!
Looking back I realize now immediately that he was a pimp. I mean his outfit (a white flamboyant suit) and slimy hairstyle were screaming about it! Thank goodness I was such a good girl back then, so I told him I need to check with my parents. And in my innocence I went back to the terrace to say that I wanted to go party and there was this man who could take me.
I can now appreciate the patience that my mum has had with me; she didn’t laugh, she didn’t get angry, she just said calmly that sorry, no can do. She still kept calm when I arranged a kick-and-cry scene back at the hotel in the evening because I really wanted to go party. I didn’t get to go to any parties on that trip.
The starving children
Good food is one of the most important aspects of a good holiday. I can’t really remember any other restaurant experiences from this particular holiday, other than that aforementioned shouting match, and then this one evening when my pasta portion turned out to be too much for me.
I love eating, but back then my stomach wasn’t quite as adaptive as it is these days, so I could only finish half of the bolognese portion. And I tried, I really tried to finish the whole thing because, oh yes, I felt guilty. In the end I started to cry because we were so close to Africa where children are dying of hunger and I so wanted to gift the rest of my pasta to them but I couldn’t and it was just all too overwhelming for me. Oh, the unfairness of life!
I mean, talk about a drama queen!
It’s so funny how different people in one family remember such different things about our vacations. These aforementioned 3 points are definitely my top memories. But when talking to the “then adults” about that particular vacation, all they remember is how they laughed at a swimming mattress they had named Rosita for some reason.
They also always remember the absence of the pool bar, obviously :D
What’s your best holiday memory?