Lifestyle

Going on holiday on your own – a sort of survival guide. Part 2.

Welcome back to the second part of our journey together through this ‘sort of survival guide’ for women going on holiday on their own. If you missed the first part of this eye-opening article, don’t worry – you can find it right here!

I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to telling stories about my experiences as a singleton abroad but I will narrow it down to five of what I think were the most amusing moments of my three holidays.

  1. The night I met a Cypriot Michael Bolton

Who is Michael Bolton? Take a look to help set the scene.

One hot and sweaty night I went to the evening entertainment in the hotel where I was staying. The stage was lit up and a musician presented himself to us.

I was overwhelmed by his mass of wet look permed long hair but impressed by his muscular physique which was enhanced by a very tight fitting black shirt. He looked familiar and I eventually worked out who he reminded me of – Michael Bolton back in the 1990’s.

A tanned, wet look haired Cypriot version of Michael Bolton.

I sat alone in the darkest corner of the entertainment hall trying to hide and for some bizarre reason, drinking tea! I must have been poorly or hung over that night.

I don’t recall the guitar playing Michael Bolton look a like’s name. So, for now, let’s call him ‘Bahadir’. Bahadir means – one who is brave and valiant (I’m laughing).

Bahadir zoned in on me whilst I was drinking my tea!  He came down off the stage and walked over towards me slowly, playing his guitar and singing. Weaving between the chairs and tossing his hair back as he slithered closer. He finished his version of a Lionel Richie song and asked to sit with me. I couldn’t be rude and say no, so I said yes!

On reflection, that was a mistake.

At that point, I wanted to laugh out loud, dig a hole and take photos of him and send them to my friends so I could share my experience but I didn’t, I just sipped my tea! I also kept staring at his biceps as he lent on the table.

On reflection, I think I gave out the wrong signals doing that. But his arms were big.

Not only did I feel embarrassed because Bahadir was power undressing me with his eyes but I also couldn’t understand his pigeon English. In a daze of disbelief at what God had decided to present me with that night, I took my lip gloss from my handbag and put it on the table but it rolled off. Why would I do that? I guess I was trying to distract myself from what was happening. Perhaps it was nerves? I don’t know, we do stupid things don’t we.

Unfortunately, the lip gloss fell to the floor and we both bent down to pick it up at the same time. It was at that point when I knew things were going to go downhill rapidly.

We made chin/head contact – my chin, his head.  This was followed by a mass of his wet look permed hair sticking to my previously applied lip gloss. It was definitely one of those chick flick comedy moments and priceless entertainment for onlookers.

After removing his hair from my lips and apologising about chin butting him, I was relieved when Bahadir had to return to the stage to continue his performance.

He got up from his seat, turned to me and said, ‘I meet you after the show, yes?’

At that moment, I couldn’t think of anything else to say but ‘OK’ – what was I thinking?

I then sat through some more 80’s love songs and felt like I wanted the ground to swallow me up because people were staring at me. It all got too much, the wink and the two finger kiss that he blew to me from the stage took me over the edge and I had to leave.

Part of me wanted to stay to see what would have happened from an entertainment point of view with regards to him hitting on me but sense finally kicked in and off I went.

As I briskly walked down the corridor towards the bar, I laughed so much to myself. I didn’t know whether to be flattered, stunned, embarrassed or what? What I did know was I wasn’t ready to get it on with a Cypriot Michael Bolton!

Sorry, Bahadir.

**Tip – don’t make eye contact with someone you really don’t want to talk to.

  1. The sunbed seduction

Whilst staying at one of the posh hotels, I chose to lay on a sunbed that was close to the promenade which led to the beach, purely for the view and atmosphere.

It was first thing in the morning, I was cold – laying in my bikini with a beach towel over me. Just as I was starting to nod off I heard a voice and opened my eyes only to see a Julio Iglesias look-a-like holding a rose.

Who is Julio Iglesias? Take a look to help set the scene.

Let’s call this very confident man Adonis. For starters Adonis made me jump out of my skin! I quickly sat up and wrapped my towel around me whilst he continued telling me that I was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. I honestly looked like crap – it was the time of the month!

Adonis made polite pigeon conversation at me for a while whilst I just stared at him in with chronic stomach cramps! He eventually got to the point and asked me if I would have dinner with him.

He wasn’t ugly by any stretch of the imagination, maybe 10 years too old for me but he was being really nice and kissed my hand. Although he did hold onto it for far too long, basically until I answered his question.

I weighed him up and my gut feeling was it would be stupid to agree to a drink with him, let alone have a meal with him. I gracefully declined and after an awkward silence whilst looking at each other he turned and walked away, he wasn’t happy – he muttered something. It felt like I had gone from being his everything to any other tourist. I felt bad and sorry for him.

However…

I looked around to see if anyone was looking at us and they were. I felt quite proud that it had happened to me and feeling quite desirable I lay back down on my tummy to help numb the cramps and turned my head to the side.

I was totally gobsmacked to see that Adonis had moved on to the next lady on a sunbed and was doing the same show! Offering her my rose!

So much for being special and the most beautiful woman he has ever seen! He was playing the numbers game, walking along the promenade hoping he would eventually score.

Good luck Adonis!

**Tip – never trust a man who comes up to you with a rose and tells you that you are the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Or am I the only idiot that would believe it?

  1. The Duracell Man

‘I will have you’.

Even to this day, I can still hear those words in my head.

As previously mentioned, the Cypriot men have extremely impressive seduction endurance. On my third holiday, I stayed in two hotels. I had to relocate from the first one due to it being inhabitable accommodation and a danger zone.

When I relocated I went to a more upmarket hotel where I was greeted by a lovely receptionist and a tango tanned, short, bald man wearing a gold necklace and short shorts! He didn’t match the clientele of the hotel at all.

He introduced himself as the owner of the hotel but he had too much of a sparkle in his eye for my liking.

Imagine a short Telly Savalas. Take a look to help set the scene.

On the first day in the hotel I made friends with a very nice barman, after a few cocktails I opened up to him and explained I was trying to heal a broken heart. He was very sympathetic and sweet.

I spent the first afternoon floating around the swimming pool bobbing on a large beach ball staring into the sparkling water below me. Once at prune stage, having cried a thousand tears, I decided to sit by the pool and close my eyes only to open them again to the voice of the hotel manager who was standing over me. He asked me how I was and why I chose to stay in Cyprus and at his hotel. Let’s call the hotel manager Stavos for now.

Stavos perched on the side of my sunbed and was far too close for comfort. He would have seen my cellulite at point blank range.

Thankfully the receptionist in the hotel came outside and called him in. I later found out she was his sister and on reflection, I think it was something that she did on a regular basis due to his wandering eye!

That evening I dressed up and went to leave the hotel for a night on the town but before I could get out the door Stavos was standing there with buckets full of compliments for me. When I returned to the hotel much later, he was still in the reception area. He invited me to sit by the pool and have a drink with him.

After a large gin and tonic, he took my hand and promised me a night of passion which of course I declined, excused myself and went to bed.

The next day I was lying by the pool and he approached me again wondering if I had changed my mind.

What was he on?

He was powered by Duracell batteries.

Again, I declined but he took my hand and with no word of a lie, slid his hand up my arm and down again, informing me that he ‘will have me’.

Thankfully, the receptionist – his sister, called him inside the hotel again.

That afternoon she informed me that Stavos was in fact married with children, lots of children!

I returned to the hotel after another great evening out, he was sitting with a group of handsome young men and they invited me over for a drink. He took my hand once more, slid his hand up and down my arm and informed me, with a serious face, that he would eventually ‘have me’.

It was at that point that he began to freak me out. I told him that he was making me feel really uncomfortable and I was going to leave the hotel if he carried on. He just smiled and said nothing.

The next day, another single lady arrived at the hotel, another victim.

Finally, he left me alone! Each day I walked passed the reception his sister would look at me and give me a grateful smile.

To be honest, he totally distracted me from my holiday heartache. I can’t make up my mind if he was a smarm bucket or smart. Maybe he was trying to help me in his own special way, although my male friends tell me he was simply after a ‘quick one’ and it’s a numbers game!

**Tip – make your actions clear from the start if you don’t want to be harassed.

  1. The boat party and the rubber ring

This has to be one of the most embarrassing holiday moments of my life but I am creasing up as I write it. I can still see all their faces in my head.

My attitude on this holiday was that it was time to come out of my comfort zone and do things I wouldn’t normally do. So, I went on one of those alcohol-fuelled boat parties. Once I stepped on board and we left the port the captain began his health and safety talk which I listened to and took everything in. I sat in a corner of the boat feeling like an idiot, what was I thinking? Going on a wild party boat on my own?

Thankfully, a retired couple – who apparently come to the same hotel every year and do the same boat trip, came and sat next to me. The drinks flowed and the boat anchored up near a beautiful cove.

The sea looked really inviting and the captain informed us that we could get off the back of the boat for a swim but could anyone with a health problem tell him.

First mistake… I told him I did.

I should have kept quiet!

As I stood amongst young beautiful women and groups of handsome young men, the captain insisted that I held a lifesaving ring… on a rope, attached to the boat!

Of course, I couldn’t turn around, there was a queue of young people behind me and they were staring at me. So, with a red face, I slipped into the water hugging the red and white ring.

I was so embarrassed. I swam as far away from the boat as I could, without thinking.

The breeze changed to a light wind and waves started to slap me in the face and I didn’t want to let go of the ring. The result of that was the rope moved across the water digging into the beautiful young people who had to lift the rope over their heads. This continued until I drifted to the other side of the boat and then someone pulled me in. I left a trail of people with mild rope burns behind me and spent the rest of the trip in the corner of the boat with the retired couple dying of embarrassment and telling them my singleton story. The tears poured from my eyes and they told me that it was just a blip in my life and I deserved better.

Once in the port, I quickly stepped off the boat and walked briskly towards a bar!

**Tip – don’t do everything I do.

  1. The Inbetweener’s hotel

The ‘Inbetweeners’ movie is on my list of favourite comedy films. If you’ve seen the film you will understand what I mean when I mention the hotel that they stayed in and how it was so awful. If not, take a look – to help set the scene.

Out of the three holidays, this was the hardest emotionally. I had split up from a 7-year relationship and that also involved me losing my job. Never date your boss!

The day after we broke up I decided I needed to get away. I hunted high and low online for a holiday but I decided that this time I would try using a travel agent because I couldn’t find what I wanted.

I went with my daughter and the travel agent showed me a brochure with three different apartments in it. He said to me, if I booked the special deal that he was offering, I would be staying at one of the three apartments in the brochure but he couldn’t confirm which one.

All three looked fine so I was booked onto a flight to Aiya Napa within 20 minutes of being in the holiday shop.

I went home, packed my bag and the next day I was on my way to Cyprus again.

Dressed in a blazer, white jeans and a lovely top, I got off the flight and went to the coach. I sat with great anticipation to see which one of the lovely three apartments I would be staying in.

It was getting quite late and when we arrived at the apartment where I was supposed to be staying, the holiday rep led me down a side street and into a reception area of what appeared to be a really run down hotel/apartment block.

When I walked in I couldn’t believe it. There were Christmas decorations hanging up in one area of the lounge. The elderly couple behind the reception desk couldn’t speak any English. They pointed to a list on the wall of fines that I would receive if I did something like ‘broke a plate’ or ‘lost my key’. I won’t mention the more harsh items on the list.

They informed me that I had to pay extra for air conditioning which I did.

A plastic Barbie doll 18-year-old came walking down the apartment reception stairs holding an inflatable crocodile – at 11 pm! I knew at that point that I had made a massive mistake… again!

She informed me that it was one of the best holidays that she’s had so far.

My face must have been a picture! It was like Lady Diana meeting Vicky Pollard from ‘Little Britain’.

I was taken to my room which was my idea of holiday hell. When I walked in, the balcony doors were open and the music was pumping from a venue that felt like it was under the hotel but was in fact, half a mile away. You couldn’t actually get on the balcony for the number of pine trees that had grown into it.

Above the bed was a picture of the Virgin Mary. There was a kitchenette with a fridge that hummed and wasn’t cold. The air conditioning unit was rattling and didn’t appear to work.

In the bathroom, there was a bath mat on the floor with sandy footprints on it and the shower curtain rail was held up with a thin piece of rope. It was so dirty – it was horrific!

I cried.

By this time it was about 11.30pm. The room was so hot and I was starving hungry. Too scared to leave my room I sat and consumed the only food that I had, a whole large packet of M&Ms! I also drank a mini bottle of wine that I had purchased from the airport.

Whilst lying naked fanning myself with a fan that I had purchased in Spain (a proper holiday) I rang my daughter and cried. I didn’t feel safe and the room was a dump!

Eventually, I pulled myself together and rang the emergency holiday rep phone number and they said they couldn’t help me until the morning. I had to ring back at 9 am!

I couldn’t believe it. I was staying in a hell hole, no boyfriend and no job!

It was one of the worst nights of my life but one that has given me a whole new range of skill sets. Including – sleeping with my head in the fridge to reduce the noise level.

My daughter was so angry that night, she had gone straight on Trip Advisor and done a bad review before I had even got up the next morning. Needless to say, I didn’t take a shower!

In the morning I spoke to the holiday rep who informed me that she couldn’t relocate me because all the hotels in Aiya Napa were full up apparently! She most probably hadn’t even tried to look.

I went straight online and booked myself into an expensive hotel a few miles away.

When I went downstairs dragging my suitcase, the old couple were sitting in the same position. Pan faced and disgusted that I was checking out so soon. I asked them to call me a taxi which they did. As I left the apartments, I took one last look back at the Christmas decorations and left.

The taxi driver was a woman. I spent the five-minute journey moaning about how awful the apartments were. She then informed me that it was actually her sister-in-law’s apartments!

**Tip – don’t trust a travel agent that says, ‘I can guarantee’.

These were just five of many funny experiences that I had on my holidays abroad on my own. I don’t regret anything because all those things have made me a stronger person.

I watch Bear Grylls sometimes and I do think to myself that he should try coming on holiday with me and see if he survives!

Best wishes,

Rachel

Watch the ‘Going on holiday on your own’ vlogs here:

Part 1: The Night I met a Cypriot Michael Bolton

Part 2: The sunbed seduction

Part 3: The Duracell Man

Part 4: The boat trip and the rubber ring

Part 5: The Inbetweener’s Hotel

You can contact me if you have any questions about going on holiday on your own or by all means share your experiences with us. Do you have any survival techniques that you would like to share?

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** The content on this site should not be used as medical advice, we are giving our readers information and insights. If you are concerned about your health or need medical advice please see your doctor. If you are struggling with any issues please talk to someone – don’t suffer in silence. **

 

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