Well hello again TA friends. Apologies for my rambling and any insults you find, nothing I assure you is personal and if you ever find me perched on a bar stool, I shall buy you a drink (and I'll make sure its not Cruzcampo)
So visit number 115. Christ on a bike.
I stayed at the Flamingo Oasis, because I believe in 2nd chances. Review will be up shortly. Needless to say, I don't believe in 3rd chances.
A good flight with Jet2 on one of their more vintage aircraft it has to be said. The masking tape holding the armrest up on my seat I assume was not one of Boeing's intended design features.
My bags came pretty quickly and after avoiding certain death on Alicante's travelators of doom (where my suitcase takes on a life of its own and attempts to drag me to certain death) I headed to the transfer coach. I used Resort Care again.
Got my coach number straightaway and headed to the bay where my non stereotypical gold chained opened bare chested cigar smoking midget of a coach driver was awaiting with a half smile.
The driver then stuck on his 'Songs that British people liked in 1970 and not a day since CD' which included several pan pipe versions of Leo Sayer and I believe, the Beatles...hard to tell.
Another thing...why are clocks on these buses never right?
No wait at all as we smoothly hit a kerb and puled out in frontanything that was deemed to be in our way for a 40 minute ride to Benidorm apparantly sponsored by Terra Mitica. We played a charming game of 'how close to the cliff side can I get the wheels'
We passed the famous Black Bull (the statue not a pub in Inkley) where the lancashire couple behind me kindly pointed out to their child 'look there's a Spanish cow love, we must be near'....Indeed.
We again avoided the toll road and went scenic. Ah the beauty of abandoned coastal building projects...
So arrival in Benidorm...sort of. First drop off...The Gran Hotel Bali. Or in the region of it. We stopped in the middle of dual carriageway while our gnome driver pointed in the vague direction of the hotel to several bemused passengers.
Then it was a veritable who's who's of hotels...none of them mine...Cristal Park, ooh, Flamingo Playa, ooh...and so on. The Rincon never seemed so far away. I again marvelled at Benidorm's one way system and admired our driver's determination to give me real value for money.
So arrival at the Flamingo Oasis, we pulled into it's Vegas-esque coach reception area and the staff ran out to greet us, champagne corks popped and all was well....alright we got dumped off at Tropical and pointed the vague direction of the hotel.
I won't comment on the hotel, read the review.
Onto Benidorm. The new family strip seems to be bubbling along quite nicely but everywhere still seemed a little bit quiet. The Square was even pretty timid. Absolutely filthy mind. Apart from the beach and Avda Med and Calle Londres, the whole place seemed a bit dirty, something I first saw earlier this year and it doesn't seem to have gotten better. I don't know if it's the clientele or society in general...hmm, deep.
Benidorm seem's to be missing it's buzz, that special something.
The astounding growth of the Chinese shops (that sell tat that even Hawkins Bazaar would think twice about) is quite depressing and walking around looking and remembering at the nice shops that used to be there, the friendly faces, the quality goods...seeing them replaced by farting nude bloke models and pictures of One Direction was just....sad. Uncared for abandoned shop units, bars and restaurants that have just given up and are just waiting for someone to switch the machine off.
Entertainment...I'm not feeling it, as my grandaughter probably doesn't say. Louis Walsh says it though. A lot of average acts that at times seem world class after a several gallons of Mahou mind.
Deb'n'Her were 'chuffin' good. Just good. Not the next winners of the X-Factor but their banter with the audience and natural warmth tends to cover any misgivings.
Tribute act followed by tribute act was followed by me drinking a hell of a lot more....I know after 115 it's hard to see something fresh or original but it used to happen. You used to see a lot of variety. Since 2000....I don't think that happens anymore.
Comedians...there were some there allegedly. I saw a few but I heard better on the bus in the way in
Beer quality seems up, even straight from the sewage system Cruzcampo was so-so on the one occasion I had it...it was that or water, not much difference really.
The Old Town continues to be the pretty sister to the New Town's locked in an attic looks. The ever expanding growth of the Gay community is nice to see. They do keep things a lot tidier this end.
Tapas Alley was rammed to the hilt so I sidestepped and went elsewhere, it's getting a little bit too commercial.
La Cala is again scarred by that hideous uncompleted monstrosity of an apartment complex, a recurring theme in that area but it's beach does make up for it. La Marina continues to be a shopping gem.
The new tower has no style or appeal. It's pretty vulgar in architectural terms...Willy waving I'd say. (Not sure what you girls would wave?)
The tourists. It was the school holidays (though this seems to make no difference, there's always kids around) so lots of charming well behaved angels on release from the daytime dentention facilities that the school they used to go to sent them to after they were expelled.
Not as many stags and hens around as the April time, which was positive but still way way more than normal. Borat mankini outfits continue to be as culturally relevant as the C&A autumn catalogue of 1968
Secret Garden...not really a secret is it? It's a really bad secret now...more 'Jesus Christ the population of Blackburn are in here Garden' Still head and shoulders above the rest.
Crime. Well, like Michael Buerk at the start of Crimewatch (google him kids) I was prepared but saw nothing of note. A charming young lady did offer to take me somewhere else...but she turned out to be selling blanket trips.
The peamen were about, but they've been about since the invention of the foldaway table, hardly anything new and there's still mugs playing the game...and even more watching
Still plenty of people of my brain is in Britain, my body is here mode.
This will be my last visit this year, I've cancelled my trip in November and I'm going to be visiting the States instead.
I've grown weary of her, I never thought I would. I think of all the friends and family who've passed on since my first visit in the 60s and then all the bars and clubs and their owners who've likewise done so.
The place is always changing and now for the first time in nigh on 50 years. I'm not in love with Benidorm anymore. Maybe she's like a failing marriage where we both want different things.
In 1989 a good friend died as a result of a Legionnaires Outbreak in the Rio Park Hotel (I did warn him not to stay in that dump, dark humour) and I thought if anything would end my love for the place, that'd be it. But no.
So many things have changed, too much perhaps. But she's not the place I loved anymore and I'm not sure she can win me back.
Thanks for reading and god bless