Last year while working in Australia, the lead up to the ‘go-live’ of my project got a bit pressured, and we worked a fair few weekends and long days. By late October I had spent the best part of five months away from home, and was missing the kids and Jelena quite a lot. Lena had spent two wonderful weeks in Sydney with me, and on my brief returns to the UK then the chilluns spent most of that time with me, but I was missing out on time with them.
I had formed the idea of taking the kids away somewhere for a nice holiday, and spent an entire weekend (I am not joking, it took me bloody ages to figure out this holiday thingy, do research, read reviews, decide which destination and hotel to choose and so on) making the booking online. I had a poor 3G reception in my hotel overlooking Darling harbour, so the process was made even slower and more tedious by having to wait for my browser to constantly catch up with me.
I had never considered a package holiday before, nor a ‘resort’ holiday where we would be stationed in a self contained environment, but after much consideration, I felt that a fully inclusive resort holiday was what we needed. The kids are old enough to be pretty independent, and I was quite tired at this point, so the thought of being able to just turn up, and have all food, drink, amenities and activities laid on for us was quite appealing.
Where to go was the first major decision, and after some googling, I narrowed it down to Greece or Sinai. Given the current state of things in Egypt, I am glad Greece won out. I can’t quite remember why I went with Greece in the end, but here we are. I found a resort on Rhodes, in a small, quiet part of the island, called Kiotari. The reviews were very good, it looked perfect for a family, and the weather at the time of year was due to be pleasant but not too hot. In all, it looked great.
So, I duly handed over large sums of money, informed the kids, and got back to my project, rolling a satellite TV provision out over a games console client. The project finished, I returned to Happifax, the winter came and went, new passports were ordered, and suddenly it was time to go to the airport.
Our flight was from Manchester to Rhodes Diagoras. We found out more about Diagoras when we arrived, but just about everything here is named after him. After collecting numbers 2&3 from their mothers, plus a mad dash back to mine to collect the forgotten guitar, we finally were on our way to sunny Manchester.
We checked in almost without a glitch, except that. They had sat us on an emergency exit row, and (even though our ages were submitted in triplicate and showing on the tickets) decided that they could not let kids sit there. This is because in case of an emergency, they need someone reliable to operate the emergency doors – and apparently we were not reliable enough. So they moved us to another row, handed over the tickets, and through to security we went. We all got through security ok except Span, who must look suspicious. They scanned her, did some cursory checks, and decided she was safe enough, after all, to fly, and sent us on our way.
We walked into the departures area, which had an impressive array of shops. I did not manage to get through this area unscathed, and in spite of having two teenage daughters, it was me who wanted something. My crocs had been worn daily since we were in South Africa in 2007, and were missing a strap, covered in paint, looked like they had been chewed by a puppy, and had no grip at all. I found a nice pair of high- fashion crocs in duty free, and invested wisely.
Off to a restaurant called giraffe, where we had a meal (well, me and the girls ate properly, the boy ‘needed’ a pancake). As we were finishing our meal, the flight was called, so it was off to the gate to stand in line with Britains finest. I am not British by birth, nor really by heritage, but there are probably some things that make me proud to be British-ish. Not that I can think of any at the moment. However, one of the things that does not make one proud is our package-holiday typical tourist export. This breed is permanently orange, loud, rude, drunk, ignorant, has unruly children, and wears a Manchester United top. Just thinking about it brings a warm glow to my heart. I am not religious, but I was praying that our resort would not have too many English in attendance.
The flight was quite long (about 4 & 1/2 hours) and got a bit uncomfortable towards the end. We survived though, and disembarked, collected our luggage, and found our transfer bus. We set off around 1am, dropped various folk off at various hotels, and arrived at ours around 0245. Driving in to the hotel was very reassuring. The place looked fabulous. A series of 2 or 3 storey complexes, shaped into the hillside, interspersed with beautifully lit swimming pools, was very inviting. We checked in, had a mini treasure hunt to find our room (whoever designed the numbering of the rooms here was drunk, stoned, dyslexic or retarded- bet is on all four together) and finally got to our apartment.
Bags went on the floor, clothes went in a heap, and we went on the beds. Lights out was at 0315, and we slept the sleep of innocents.