When it comes to this time of year, I fondly remember the vacations we made to the Algarve prior to moving here 20+ years ago. At that time cars were a luxury that most people could not or chose not to afford and even in August, holidays were for the Brits and the wealthier Portuguese, both knowing their manners and behaving respectably.
Now? – well, each year when the main holiday season comes around I think that I will leave my precious home in the sun and come back when normality, sanity and caring about humanity returns.
What makes me feel this way? The traffic? – that is one thing, although patience is a virtue and I always get where I want to be in a reasonable time. No, what incenses me more and more (and I am sure that it is not just my age) is the total lack of respect people who are holidaying in the Algarve seem to have for those who live and work here.
Whatever happened to decorum and manners when you are on holiday? I was in the reception of a smart four star hotel recently. My nose and eyes were assailed with smells and views that I could cheerfully do without. Men – and it was sadly only men – who seem to think it is OK to leave their supply of anti-perspirant/deodorant at home on the dressing table and who also think that everyone wants to see the considerable amount of extra lard (fat) that they are carrying around, so they don’t even have the decency to put on a T-shirt when in the public areas of a hotel.
Eating out in July and August is something that we now avoid like the plague. It appears to me that many of the visitors from mainland Europe believe that our beloved waiters and waitresses are things to be used and abused.
Over the past few years, we have witnessed an increasing number of holidaymakers determined to spend as little money and as much time over two plates of chips, a dish of olives and one main course between four as they possibly can.
At the same time, Mrs Ignorant Holidaymaker surreptitiously (or so she thinks) takes out a large bottle of coke from her large fake Chanel holiday bag and tops up everyone’s glasses whilst the waiter is not looking.
The happy four-some lounge across the dining table, enjoying the air-conditioning and never consider that a small tip would be so welcome to the Algarve waiting staff, but sadly they do not even afford the staff a smile or a thank-you.
We have friends who have a lovely apartment close to Carvoeiro with a communal pool. For safety and to enable the pool man to clean the pool each evening, the condominium has included a 21.30 curfew on the use of the pool.
But apparently these rules don’t apply to you or your even more unruly offspring if you come to the Algarve for a holiday. My friend tells me she has learned many new swear words in many languages, as she has tried delicately to ask the offenders to quit it! The kids jump into the pool without a thought for anyone that they may land on and the parents (always presuming they are around) don’t even bother to ask the children not to do it.
So, through this letter I would like to say thank you to the waiting staff, bar staff and others who try to make vacation time a good time for visitors.
Thank you for your patience, for God knows you need it when dealing with those who have left their manners at home (always presuming!) and as a 12 month-a-year resident I for one will try to make up for the misdemeanours against you for the next 10 months …