Saturday, 1 January 2011

Holiday Snaps: Where everybody knows my name

Knowing me, knowing you

It is almost an embarrassment of familiarity, the greetings, the handshakes, the kisses, the hugs, the banter; I am in the hotel equivalent of the comedy series, Cheers, I am where everybody knows my name according to the signature tune of the show.

The bellboy who took in my bags from the taxi, started the now familiar greeting; “Welcome to your second home”; just then two of the directors were outside and the warmth of feeling even made the typical 20° Centigrade average for December feel even warmer.

At the reception, it was like I was being expected, I had only booked the holiday just about 36 hours before and everything had been smoothed out, there as a new face that had to adapt to the situation, the question – Who is this man? Going through his mind as he aped the motions hoping to be just at ease as the others.

My room or another

I had arrived early, they gave me two options; whilst I am a single guest, I am always given a double room, my usual room was not really, yes, I do have a usual room but a few doors down I could check the room to see if it was to my liking before having it arranged.

In fact, I did not mind either way, I could wait a few hours for my usual room or take the one that was available – in the end; I took the available room and settled in fine.

Tap water is not potable in Gran Canaria, so I shopped for bottled water and other drinks then relaxed in the lobby where there is wireless fidelity access, a smart way to get people out of their rooms to socialise with other guests who cannot afford to be offline for long.

A long walk to the beach buffeted by strong winds was good exercise but I had to be back by six for dinner, the late session was fully booked so I had to make do with an early dinner.

We meet for fun

People came down in their best, ball gowns and men in wear almost formal for Ascot but without the hats, I did a Nigerian number with a fully embroidered top and a cap to match, a feast for the reluctant paparazzi.

Just before dinner most of the staff including the caterers and chefs lined up at the bar with lit sparklers offering New Year’s greetings in 8 languages to great applause.

The dinner was grand buffet but one could not resist the artistic genius of the fruit carvers, you just had to get the camera out; filled and sated to soporific ascendancy, I thought I’ll have a nap to get up at 10:00 PM for the New Year’s Eve entertainment which from German and Roman Catholic provenance is called the feast of Saint Sylvester but it was well after 11 before I took my seat at the venue.

We rang in the New Year with grapes for each toll of the bell towards midnight, a Spanish tradition and then went outside to watch the spectacular fireworks put on by the hotel ending with a slow burning Feliz 2011.

The rest of the night is a blur … it would not be written about. as to why it could not stay anywhere else on Gran Canaria, it is my 7th time at this hotel and they are always glad you came.

This is the theme song from Cheers and I am sure you will know that feeling too.

Happy New Year!

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