Benidorm 2: British Invasions

NOT A TYPICAL SPANISH TOWN

Firstly, I remind you that what you mainly see in Benidorm as a tourist are skyscrapers, beaches, rows of restaurant, bar, discotheque and shop. Nada mas. So forget about medieval churches, palacio real, painting museums, historical buildings and so on. They are just not what it offers. The only signs signifying that you’re in still in Spain is the plaza mayor and the locals speaking Spanish. I was disappointed at first. However, it gives me unforgettable experiences with British visitors occupying the east coast of Spain.

plaza mayor benidorm
the plaza mayor corridor

BRIT NIGHT LIFE

Initially, I wanted to observe Dutch tourist behaviour in a Spanish town. But Great Britain was shifting to Spain. Their presence was not only marked by their accents, but also some bars and night clubs purposely targeting on British customers with Brit Pop and Beatles nights. Even one of the pubs is named after a British rock legend besides The Beatles: (The) Rolling Stones. I guess the only locals in those places were bartenders, janitors and bodyguards.

rolling stones pub

No matter where they go, they just love being noticed with their peculiar outfits. The bizarre habit doesn’t surprise me at all. I have seen British tourist dozens of times in Amsterdam. They usually come in groups with certain dress codes approved by their own peers: Playboy bunnies, Alice in Wonderland, Vampires etc. Santa Claus is no exception, even if it is not the month of December. By the way, did you notice Union Jack garland below the Bahamas neon lights?

“THIS IS MY APARTMENT!”

Next morning at 8 am, somebody knocked our apartment door. Nobody wished to be an early riser after a long night, drinking and getting dizzy at dawn. Nonetheless, the sound of banging door wouldn’t stop unless somebody opened the door. Unfortunately, I was the only one who managed to wake up.

“This is my apartment!” A half-drunken guy in his heavy British accent standing in front of me claimed that the room we were staying was his.

“The receptionist gave us the key yesterday and the room was empty!” I defended myself. My gals and I did nothing wrong.

The girl behind him kept trying to calm him down. “It’s OK, baby. C’mon, let’s go!” She said to him repeatedly.

He explained that he and his girlfriend stayed in our room earlier, then left for another city for 2 nights and planned to returned to the room after that. They said they had not checked out yet and couldn’t understand why we were in their room instead. I advised them to talk to the receptionist and deal with it. They agreed, and finally left me in peace. Phew!!

BEACH FIGHT

the main reason why people come to Benidorm

I’m not a beach person. Sunbathing and tanning my skin are not my things at all from the start. But my gals wanted it so badly.  As mentioned on the previous post that I had to skip working for this trip, I had a specific reason to avoid it. Can you imagine if the office people saw me getting tanned as soon as I recovered from illness?

Undoubtedly, the weather was perfect with lots of sun combined with heavenly wind breeze that made me feel relaxed and fall asleep like a baby. I couldn’t bare missing it. Again, I broke the rule. Fortunately, the rented beach chair was equipped with an umbrella to protect my skin from tanning effect.

afternoon in Benidorm

It was a perfect afternoon until someone pushed me to the right side when I was sitting on my beach chair. Before I knew it, my ass became half-seated. A guy coming out of the blue stole the other half of my seating space without permission. I was shocked and jumped from my seat. The gals were also surprised who on earth that guy was. I forgot what he said exactly. The point is that he and I should get to know each other more. But hey, please treat a gal with more respect! Even if he just won an Oscar last week, or he looks as hot as Ryan Gosling…- Wait! He’s British, so take Jude Law instead – I didn’t give a shit!

My days in the office were such a crap already. It took time and energy to find a perfect getaway to a dreamland where I could temporarily vanish from that crappy circle of life. My funding was in shortage, but still I forced myself to make the trip come true. In that kind of circumstances, I believe I deserve to get pissed off if anybody ruin my holiday. I usually didn’t sweat small irritating stuff, except this one. I really wanted him to get out of my territory.

“SHUT UP AND GET OUT! I TELL YOU, GET OUT!!!” I yelled it repeatedly while pointing the exit way of the beach area nearby. That guy was persistent at first to stay. But finally he walked out to the exit I pointed. Shortly after, I realized that other people sunbathing around me became spectators of the battle. Pretty ashamed, to be honest. My gals stared at me and were silent, couldn’t believe with what I just did.

There were abundant of topless women on the beach, both young and old. I was wearing shorts and tank top. Not even a bikini showing abs and cleavage. So why he locked his target on me, not my gals and other naked women, remains a mystery.

I didn’t mean to dislike British people by the way, so don’t get me wrong. In fact, I have met nice and friendly Brits in other places, been in love with London capital and have a relative living in the country for decades. If have bad experience with them, it’s just a random misfortune. If I only focus on one nationality in my story this time, it’s just coincidental since it was something significant during the trip.

In a nutshell, Benidorm is about having fun. Get used to with unexpected behaviour from its visitors!

spraying the last supper

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Benidorm 1: First Night Out with Beautiful Strangers

BEST DEAL ONLINE: BENIDORM

One of the greatest thing about living in Europe is that the distance between countries is not so much to bare. The most beautiful cities in the world you see on postcards are much nearer than you though. Gosh, you have no idea how much I miss those good old days. Especially, when the trips are on low-season promotion.

evening in benidorm

“Do you know what to see in Benidorm?” Assuming I’m a very keen traveller, she expected me to know many names of places on earth.

“Huh? What is that? Haven’t heard before.” I replied.

Then, I checked the fantastic offer to Benidorm on internet: € 150 per person, including return flight from Amsterdam – Alicante, shuttle bus to Benidorm that takes an hour journey,  apartment for 3 persons for 3 nights.

I was like, “Really? This isn’t happening!” None of us had any idea what to do and see in Benidorm, yet what we really care about was to click the offer before it was gone.

FIRST NIGHT OUT: KFC AND SANGRIA

The most proper way to describe our apartment is we got what we paid. It was as simple as a spacious student flat with a huge balcony on 15th floor facing other hotels, swimming pools and a glimpse of sea water a few hundred meters from us. The kitchen utensils were adequate to save our budget on food and KFC was just across the street.

view from the 15th floor

As we decided not to take the balcony for granted, we bought a bucket of fried chicken from KFC, large coke from the mini mart and cooked rice with my own portable rice cooker. Oh, FYI, I purposely bought a small pack of rice in a supermarket in Holland the day before departure. Other people’s tea time was our first lunch time we had after checking in. It was the best lunch time experience ever!

As the sun went down, we started our night life with a typical Spanish drink: a pitcher of Sangria!

Sangria night

We took a long walk along the street with rows of bars, restaurants, cafes, pubs and discotheques on both sides opening until dawn, some are even closed at 5 am or 7 am. Asian tourists were very rare. Most probably we were the only ones that night. Well, the town is more popular among European visitors than Asians. Unless I lived in Holland, I would think Benidorm is a canned food brand.

Finding pubs with great music, lovely atmosphere and decent people inside all at once wasn’t as easy as we thought. There was a pub with decent people, but the music didn’t really suit us. There was a quite nice bar but we felt like power(less) puff girls entering a Mexican drug cartel community. Finally, we left that place in less than 30 seconds without ordering any drinks.

There was another bar where an Italian guy asked me to dance with him after my 2 gals refused him. He was not bad. The only thing he did was to make himself foolish by asking a silly question like, “Will you marry me?” only 15 minutes after meeting me. Was he spontaneous or drunk? Regardless, my gals somehow regretted refusing him after being approached by another scary pervert guy who seduced them while I was dancing with the Italian guy.

Finally, our night life ended up in the western food restaurant where we ordered fish and chips as our supper. I think that was the only place we felt more secure and comfortable. There were only 2 seats occupied, including ours, since less people eating heavy meals like steak and fish and chips after 1 am. For sure, nobody bothered us at all.

BEAUTIFUL STRANGERS

Strangers in Benidorm love camera. They did not hesitate to appear all of the sudden in front of my camera lens by the time I got the right angle. I couldn’t tell their nationalities. I only knew English was not their mother tongue.

a bartender posing while getting some fresh air
can I be the next cover girl?
evening joggers just wanna say “hi” to a stranger photographer

Sometimes we felt like tourist objects rather than tourists. Some people looked at us, wondering how we ended up in the beach town whose name sounds foreign among Asians. So who were the strangers actually? People in the photographs or the photographer and her gals?

It won’t be necessary to fly or drive to Benidorm just to enjoy night life. However, strangers we met on or off cameras, they made the difference, adding more colours of our travel experience.