People watching in Praia da Rocha, Algarve, Portugal

We was ’ereOkay, so I’m no longer anywhere near this ice cream parlour and haven’t been for a couple of days, but hey, it’s nice to keep you jealous that little bit longer. The plan for the last two weeks (do nothing) has been well executed, even if I do say so myself.

I have some people watching to report, but first I feel obliged to mention the weather and the hotel. Apart from a short blip, at over 30oC it sometimes felt like being in sauna at the gym, but fortunately the afternoons tended to bring a little breeze. That blip came on the first Thursday, when we awoke to heavy rain which induced a level of nervousness the locals did nothing to abate. Popping over to the tourist information office, we asked if they had a weather report and got a stiff ‘No’, followed by conspicuous staring at some ‘paperwork’. A similar enquiry at the hotel was returned with a shrug and speaka-no-inglishe look. So it was off to an internet café (something I’d planned to avoid), where we learned thunderstorms were forecast for the Friday with normal service to be resumed from Saturday. Anyway. In the event it all cleared up by the Thursday lunchtime and the thunderstorms were no shows.

And Hotel Jupiter was a great holiday hotel (arrow points to our room). Nice big rooms, great location and a good pool (if slightly small). Buffet breakfasts are never as good in resorts as in cities, but Jupiter was fine (albeit with squash instead of juice) even if they only offer one hot option a day (e.g. eggs or sausage or bacon or mushrooms) so an English breakfast comes in instalments.

Black CherryLater I shall rant about MyTravel Airtours, but back to the people watching. Would-be star of the poolside was Black Cherry. So named in part because Katharine and I were listening to Goldfrapp while discussing her performance, but primarily because of her resemblance to the image on the left. Obviously holidaying alone she was brave to the point of inappropriateness. News that deep tans are out hadn’t reached her and, constantly topless, she had a habit of taking Playboy-style poses at the poolside. Katharine’s idea of doing some ‘proper swimming’ for half-an-hour each day (I think we managed three times) came close to causing considerable embarrassment as Black Cherry lowered herself into the pool, not quite nipple deep and spread. Consequently, we both (at different points) found ourselves confronted by these large over tanned breasts and about to dock. And it wasn’t just us. At breakfast she liked to rub herself (always in see-through top, no bra) against seated people as she got her food. Men sniggered and women looked daggers.

Katharine and the beachSome other day, this time on the beach, we spotted a more modest big breasted girl (part of two couples) in an orange bikini having her back sun creamed by her boyfriend. Their rather fat female companion then joined at the front, allowing her fingers to go just inside the bikini top. Then instead of lying next to her companions, the fat girl angled herself above them turning her head to view orange bikini’s breasts. Later orange bikini rolled on her front and removed her top, to avoid a tan line on her back, causing fat girl to wiggle her legs in the air. We thought this display very funny.

Another poolside incident of note involved two young couples. One of the girls had disappeared and the other girl’s boyfriend was diving in an effort to impress. But he didn’t. ‘You’re going in too steep’, said his girlfriend and making him dive red-faced three more times (‘You shouldn’t splash that much’). It turned into a see-how-far-you-can-swim-under-water competition, in which she allowed him to claim victory only after he did the length the pool thanks to an awful lot of splashing near the end.

The Irish are funny lot and Praia da Rocha has a sizeable Irish quarter, with lots of live music and real Irish people singing songs in celebration of alcoholism. It makes a good change from the main strip. One night we were in Temple Bar, when some seriously loud fireworks went off. ‘Dirty-five shot dead on the main strip,’ joked the singer (post-Bali it’s what people were thinking). Anyway. That’s all it took to change the mood and bring on a some republican songs (Some say the devil is dead, and buried in Killarney/More say he rose again, more say he rose again/More say he rose again and joined the British Army) that left them all maudlin.

We spent more of our time at On the Rocks (v. lively website), watching the greeters as much as the punters. The most successful greeter actually managed to get some holiday makers to do the job for her, which we couldn’t quite understand. She got them a t-shirt each (and maybe a drink?) in return for which they spent a night of their holiday stopping people in the street with money off vouchers.

Across the road was a jewellers, into which a number of men were dragged by their women. It was tat, but certainly not cheap tat. We reckon the average time in was twenty minutes. (This reminded us of sitting in an Amsterdam bar watching clients visit the brothels across the road. They all pulled out after twenty minutes too.) The ladies always took the lead and when it was time to go, most of the guys did some strange pulling trousers up ritual as they stepped out in relief.

A dolphin in the Atlantic off the AlgarveAnyway. That’s enough of the people. Our one excursion was out to the middle of the ocean to watch the dolphins. Very hard to get photos as you don’t where the little blighters are likely to appear and for sometime it looked like they’d be no shows. But in the end we found them, they did some jumping around, made that funny squeaky noise then suddenly moved on as we were clearly boring them.

The Mermaid’s purse by Katy Gardner……Airport Terminal better than a MyTravel Airtours cruise ship

Leave a Reply