(Written in 2021) This was my first trip outside of Ireland and the British Isles. Spain! Not long out of dictatorship, any my only knowledge was of the Only Fools and Horses episode were Dell Boy won a trip to Spain with Rodney's picture he drew in school about 12 years earlier. Yes, those dodgy Spanish, with dodgy police who will take a bribe and beat you up just for being British. Or at least that was the perception going around in the circles of a teenager. This was also the decade of acid house and 'lager louts', a term used in the late 80s to refer to groups of young males who got drunk, and behaved terribly in Britain. Never mind Britain, this was being exported quite well to the beach resorts of Spain. Magaluf in fact was in the newspapers that summer with pictures of people lying on the floor in a drunken state. Lubbly jubbly is the expression that Del Boy would have used.
I remember being so excited going to the airport and checking in. My holiday was part of an all inclusive package and I wandered the airport with my buddy thinking what I might need to buy. Clothes? Mosquito repellant? Chocolate? Probably the factor 2 tanning oil which is all I can remember.
Being in the air, the inflight meal; all new and all exciting. Even the inflight meal was delicious! I remember as we approached Majorca and looking down on the lights, wondering what was happening down there. Was it the no holds barred orgiastic hedonism that was portrayed in the media? Don't forget, this was the decade that the fear of HIV and AIDs had been very effectively conveyed by the government to the UK population but young people with a raging thirst after all day in the sun were surely not going to hold back. Or were they? Was it all a myth that everyone puts it about, so to speak?
Two weeks is a long time in a resort but being young, all we wanted to do was eat, sleep, lounge by the pool, and party. I didn't seem like it was going to end. My day consisted of breakfast - pretty much the same every day - the daily trip to the supermarket to buy water, beer and snacks, marveling at all of the new products on the shelves; tins of olives, something called 'schnapps', a spirit in several fruit flavours - apple I think being my favourite but after a few shots, no matter what the flavour, they all taste sickly sweet. They do the job though. Excursions weren't even a consideration.
Pool time and lounging in the sun came next, with the next break being lunch. There was actually good variety and over eating was the norm. After that and it was time to go to the pool again, ogle the lovelies, damage our skin some more, and then head back to our room to begin the preparations for the evening, starting with dinner, and then sitting on our balcony, drinking until giddy and then hitting the road.
BCM, the expensive super club was our destination for a couple of nights, pumping out at massive decibels the sounds of summer '89; oh how I remember the reverberating beats of Black Box (Ride on Time), Lil Louis (French Kiss), and Prince (Bat Dance). BCM nights though were sober nights as the price of alcohol wasn't at a level that a skint teenager could afford. Water was pricey enough.
More usually our nights involved the cheap bars selling oversized drinks or being part of a bar crawl organised by the hotel reps.
"Come in here, lads. Two drinks for the price of one and a free cocktail chaser with a shot of vodka....there's loads of girls in here blah blah blah"
Sold to the young fools on their first holiday abroad!
Club/Bars included Tokio Joes and Scamps, the Swedish 'discotheque' that was full of Scandinavians, which I remember was the main club we went to. Happy memories! Influenced by the venue, my additional sounds of summer included tracks by Swedish group, Roxette. Anyone remember 'The Look'? This was played repeatedly.
Strangely, hangovers were almost unheard of. I woke up one morning with chunks in my hair, bed and next to it. I couldn't for the life of me remember how that had happened and looking back I wonder if my room mate had vomited on me during the night. I was never so far gone that I collapsed anywhere in a stupor. A fairly long walk into town, non stop dancing and a budget tends to keep you from getting completely trashed, and this followed by the return walk burns off more of the alcohol in your system.
So there you go! A first holiday abroad with a routine of breakfast, shopping, sun bathing, lunch, sun bathing, dinner, shower, drinking, and bar hopping. Rinse and repeat. The best thing was never having to worry about being asked your age when being served alcohol, which at my age back in the UK always made getting served a bit of a lottery.
What seemed like would last forever of course came to end. It wasn't quite the orgy that we hoped. The potential is there. That's how the resorts sell themselves, but the reality is that most of the time you will have your snoring, farting room mate with you on most nights and you will start the next day wondering where your money went.
Great days! Great memories! Terribly uncultured. And the start of drunken revelry with the boys abroad for the next 15 years or so!
After you've experienced my delights or horrors of Spain, see what the destinations below may have in store for you.