All posts tagged spanish

Aloha From Menorca!

Published May 21, 2023 by Naomi Rettig

I discovered that my brain does not play nicely when trying to flip between languages. I learnt the basics in Spanish before travelling to Menorca, or I thought I did, my brain had other ideas. You’d think that a two-syllable word as easy as ‘Hola’ wouldn’t be a problem. When people were approaching me, or I was heading to the dining area in the hotel I had to start saying ‘Hola’ like some weird cult mantra to make sure I said it correctly. When I didn’t practice in my head on approach, my brain made me say a variety of greetings that were not Hola. I greeted various people with ‘Aloe’, ‘Allah’, ‘Salut’, and ‘Aloha’. My thank-yous were slightly better, I only slipped into Italian a few times with ‘grazie’, instead of ‘gracias’, and only once a Portuguese ‘obrigado’. I can’t speak Portuguese; my brain is a clown.

As well as new languages I learnt a lot on my trip to Menorca:

Cats in Menorca aren’t as friendly as cats in Wales. Ok, I only encountered two, but they both didn’t respond to ‘hello’ or ‘hola’. Maybe I should have tried another of my many languages. One just glanced nonchalantly my way in complete indifference, the other found a plastic pipe it was staring at more interesting than me. That hurt.

Even though my allergy to feathers and my allergy to broad beans don’t impact me too much separately, when I eat broad beans and sleep on a feather pillow my airways will become compromised.

Spanish police passport border guards take the number one spot for miserableness from the NYC airport border police. In their contracts it must state that they are to never speak and must have daily Botox to prevent any facial muscles from moving. I don’t expect a full-on jazz band and a manically happy greeting when I enter a new country, but a smile would be quite nice.

The term supermarket in Menorca is completely different to what I would call a supermarket. The ‘supermarket’ in S’Algar was basically someone selling basic grocery items out of their house.

I’ve learnt that I must pack coffee to take with me when travelling as my hotel room only had tea in the room. Barbaric. And the coffee available in the dining room was awful.

I cannot eat an Ice-cream sandwich elegantly in Punta Prima. Or probably anywhere else.

The only birds I heard were sparrows, gulls, blackbirds, and doves. Just like I can hear in my garden at home. I asked the holiday rep at the hotel what birds were on Menorca and he said there was a special woodpecker native to only the island. I didn’t see or hear that.

Menorcan cuisine doesn’t cater for vegetarians well. It was like travelling back to the 70’s vegetarian-wise. The all-inclusive hotel was extremely limited, so I had margarita pizza and chips twice a day for a week. And it wasn’t even nice pizza. But good for aversion therapy, it will probably be a while before I have a desire to eat pizza and chips. I did have one meal that wasn’t pizza and chips though. One night they had aubergine parmigiana on display. I didn’t think I’d be so excited to see an aubergine. I don’t even like aubergines, but I ate it just to break up the monotony.

The hotel had weird ideas about desserts. Custard in a bowl with a digestive biscuit laid on the top was strange, and a bowl layered with apple sauce, Sugar puffs, and squirty cream was odd. I don’t know if this is how Menorcans eat dessert or whether they thought that this is what British people eat.

My inner five-year-old was happy to see the hotel provided a land train ride around the resort, and I learnt you’re never too old to be excited about having the wind in your hair at three miles an hour and giggle when your boobs bounce up and down dramatically due to lack of suspension in said land train when going over speed bumps. Especially when you’re the only person riding on it. Also, if you have purple hair, it will seem perfectly normal for the land train driver, Jose, to serenade you with the song Purple Rain for an awkward two minutes.

It can get windy in Menorca in May. I took a boat trip around Mahon harbour which was lovely, and I started off with purple hair and ended up with lilac hair as the wind blew all the colour away. That may be an exaggeration.

Mahon has very steep steps down to the harbour front but a free lift/elevator back up to the top, hooray!

The sea was such beautiful shades of blue and I could have, and did, watch it for hours.

I learnt that I’m overly fascinated with palm tree seed pods and could have, and did, just stare at them for far too long.

Seagulls enjoyed swimming, drinking, and washing in the hotel swimming pool when no humans were in there, so I presume it wasn’t chlorinated. Or they were addicted to chlorine. Either one.

Menorcan cheese tastes like the Norwegian cheese Jarlsberg.

I discovered that my hotel was mainly a Saga hotel. I thought was for the over 70’s but have since discovered that Saga holidays are for the over 50’s. Which I am, but of course I don’t consider myself to be old. But on thinking about it I tick all the criteria: enjoys jigsaws, gentle walks, reading, early meal times, doesn’t like to party, likes listening to birds. Jeez, I am a Saga holiday person.

Overall, I learnt that I enjoyed visiting Menorca but would probably not go back. There are far too many other places for me to explore and experience.

On to the next adventure!