Monday, 18 February 2013

shelve your western plans....

Lanzarote seems to be an interesting place and it seems to attract some interesting people.  I've never been to the Canary Islands before, and generalisations are always dangerous, but I think it's fair to say that the (Ryanair) flight out from East Midlands airport was mainly populated by OAPs and by...erm...how shall I put this... sun seeking Sun readers.

We were based in Costa Teguise, which is clearly popular with British holiday makers and is full of British bars selling a full English breakfast and 2 Euro pints of Carling that you could have as you watched the English Premier League.  Nothing wrong with that, of course.  The hotel where we were staying seems to target itself squarely at a more active type of holidaymaker and was full of very serious-looking people training for the island's Ironman Triathlon.  You know, the kind of people who talk about the 200km bike ride they're planning on doing this morning as they load their plates with donuts.   That wouldn't be so bad, but as the whole damn island is only 60km long, I just have visions of them all riding round and round in circles all day....

We met a few different types of people when we were diving too.  One particular couple stuck in my mind.  They were perhaps in their early to mid-30s.  Only one of the pair was actually diving (the other had recently had a pace-maker fitted and so wasn't able to join in), but the other was spending a couple of days finishing off his basic PADI Open Water qualification whilst they were on the island.

C and I very much enjoy diving, but for us at least, a lot of the point of it is that we get to spend a lot of time together in interesting places and enjoying the things we see underwater together.  I couldn't help but think that diving is a slightly odd hobby to take up when it's something that your partner cannot ever really join in.  She came with us from Costa Teguise on the half hour journey to the dive site in Puerto del Carmen, but then spent much of the next three hours just sitting about.   And presumably now he's qualified, at least some small part of all their holidays will be spent in the same way.  Well, each to their own, I guess.

Anyway.  We weren't diving with this guy, but we were all diving in the same place with the same dive company, so we shared a minibus with them one day.  We got to discussing where we'd had dinner the night before, as you do, with both our instructors wanting to know where we'd been and what it was like.  This couple, it turns out, had been for a curry and they'd tried a new restaurant that neither of our instructors had been too, so naturally they were keen to understand if it was any good.

"Yeah.  It was alright," said this chap.  "It was cooked by a Paki, so it must have been pretty authentic.  It was a good, sticky curry."

Er.  What?

There was a brief but detectable pause in the conversation as C and I looked at each other, the two dive instructors in the front of the minibus looked at each other and we all tried to work out if we had really just heard that.

We had.  That's exactly what he said.  None of us picked him up on it and we quickly changed the subject to something else, but.... really? WTF?

I can remember when I was about ten years old, in the mid-80s, when that sort of language was a lot more commonplace, but even then we knew it wasn't really acceptable.  But in 2013?  When did you last hear someone even use that term?  (Never mind the fact that most of what we call Indian food is apparently Bangladeshi in origin).  Maybe I lead a sheltered, middle-class life, but I was genuinely a little bit shocked.  I really was.

As conversational gambits go, that was a bit of an outlier from the norm, no?

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred.  Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress at this period of history.

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