SOME people go on holiday "to get away from it all". In Magaluf,
this will probably include consciousness.
Magaluf is a holiday resort on the Spanish island of Majorca,
primarily catering for the British, Russian, Irish, and
Scandinavian package-holiday market. It is also what is known as a
"party capital", frequented mainly by young people aged 18 to 25,
who are looking for alcohol-related adventures in the sun. You do
not go to Magaluf for a contemplative walk round an art gallery, or
a yoga retreat. You go there to get hammered with a large number of
boys and girls your own age, and to see what happens.
And what happened recently hit the headlines, when a drunk
British teenage girl was filmed giving 24 men oral sex, paid for
with a drink. "No one who knows Magaluf will be surprised," one
party animal said. "It's what happens; it's why people come." It is
also why some people are sent home.
The Vice-president of the Palmanova-Magaluf Hotel Association,
Joan Espina, said: "The vast majority of the expulsions are down to
three reasons. The first is guests' damaging hotel furniture,
kicking doors down, smashing mirrors, and even throwing TVs out of
their rooms. The others are fights with other guests, and verbal
and physical attacks on hotel staff."
It all sounds surprisingly like an evening with the Bullingdon
Club, Oxford's exclusive society for the rich - also famous for its
"boisterous rituals", as Wikipedia calls them. It is a phrase that
some-how feels more innocent, more charming than "drunken young
louts letting rip in a wholly selfish manner".
But it does raise the questions what it is to relax, and what we
look for when we have time off work. Given a holiday, some choose
to spend most of the time inebriated, whether in Falaraki, on the
island of Rhodes (another party capital), or on a yacht in the
Some grab their guide books, and fill every moment with imagined
self-improvement and learning. Others lie by the pool and read 14
novels, which all become one - an activity punctuated only by iced
coffee from the bar and sun-cream top-ups.
The common theme in all of these holidays is the keen avoidance
of mind space, and for good reasons. Many find holidays disturbing
because, removed from the scaffolding of the routine, unresolved
issues come unbidden to the surface. And the fact that you are on
holiday just makes it worse. As someone said to me: "Things come up
on holiday, they always do, and then I get angry with myself: 'You
ought to be enjoying yourself: you're on holiday!'"
On holiday, we can get away from it all, but we cannot get away
from ourselves. I need a drink.