Remember my recent trip to Marbella, courtesy of Mr. Apricot? Ever since then, I’ve been thinking more and more about all-inclusive resorts, and why people choose them over other types of vacations. Or, rather, wondering why, since no one seems to be able to give me the answer I seem to be looking for.
Of course, that is completely my fault: I’ve revealed my new obsession with all-inclusives only to fabulous gay Italian men, well-traveled English expats, and my mother. Not exactly a scientific sampling of the vacationing population. But, I’ll share my results with my cherished readers anyway.
Mr. Apricot loved the enforced relaxation policy of our vacation. “I go home to Roma and Napoli, everyone wants to see me. It makes me very tired, it’s not vacation for me. But here what do I have to do? We take sun, we eat, we drink on the balcony with sunset. This for me is vacation.”
My mother shares my love of lounging by the sea. “I don’t care where I am – give me a view of the sea, coffee, a crossword puzzle and my cigarettes, and I’m a happy camper.”
Fi, Our Lady of the Fantastic Lunches, had a bit more insight. “I think the English flock to Spain because they just want a bit of sun. They don’t go for the culture – they want a decent pub, their Sunday roast and a tan.”
While I haven’t spoken to her about this topic specifically, my aunt enjoys taking cruises around the world. It’s her thing. She and my uncle love it – the social elements, the service and, like her sister, the front-row view of the sea. The woman spends her entire working life in airports and on highways, so she revels in a vacation that has none of those elements.
I can wrap my head around these points of view. My parents love vacations, but they honestly don’t care where they go – they’ve been known to spend a weekend at a hotel (with a sea view, of course) at the other end of our hometown. If I had to put up with dreary London skies, I’d be on the next flight to the Costa del Sol, too. Cal and I head straight to the Hard Rock whenever we’re in Barcelona to fill up on American yum-yums.
What I don’t get are the families who travel thousands of miles at great expense to have the same exact experience as they would much closer to home, and think they’ve seen the world.
I understand the need for creature comforts while away from home, especially when traveling with children. But for just a week, why not eat dinner later, after the sun sets, and while you’re at it, try a new taste? Why not experience the thrill of making yourself understood in a foreign language? How can you put your own life into context if you never see how others live?
Everyone I saw at the resort was having a wonderful time, so it’s not my place to tell them what they should be doing with their vacation. I simply felt badly they think that is what Spain is like, and I wish they would feel more comfortable being out of their comfort zone, even for a few days.
If I may end on a snarky note, because I can’t resist:
Dear loud guy who joined us in the jacuzzi around 7PM,
While you did in fact leave the continent of Europe and go to the continent of Africa, taking a four-hour group tour to the market in Tangiers to buy an overpriced rug from the first vendor you see does not entitle you to say, “I can cross Africa off my list now, I’ve done it.”