5.28.07 Palma, Mallorca Spain
I arrived here last week after my fiasco in Gibraltar to find that my old college professor is on the mainland taking care of some business. He booked me into a hotel until he gets back, assuring me that the price was right and that it was "Nice and quiet." The reception area of the hotel was empty at 4 pm, not a desk clerk to be found, so the maid checked me in. I noticed several posters of half-naked men in the foyer, but I figured that it was probably a Euro thing. At any rate, I think I was the only guest in the hotel those first couple days.
And then Friday rolled around.
As you know, Spaniards don’t get moving until midnight, which was right about the time I was ready to hit the sack after a day of drinking 40s and writing garbled postcards to my relatives. Coming back into the hotel I noticed a small door off the lobby and a sign advertising a lounge. Holy God! A hotel bar! I took a seat and it took me about four seconds to realize that the fellows in there sucking their champagne through bendy neon straws were rather--how shall we say?--gay. I had a couple beers and decided that maybe this wasn’t my scene. Not a big techno fan, you know?
Drifted off to sleep with the thump-thump-thump from the disco making its way through four stories of stone floors. Not the most sound-proof place, my hotel. This is why I was awakened at 5:15 in the morning to sounds of scuttling in the hallways and doors banging shut. I heard the first moan at 5:20 and from then on the whole hotel was a cacophony of grunts, shrieks, breaking furniture and a lot of "Si, Si, Si!" When one room would achieve their climactic moment, I was astounded to hear them then start cheering on (or perhaps jeering at) the occupants of the other rooms. More howling, thumping and cursing until, one by one, all of my hotel-mates had sated themselves. Then I heard showers running, doors opening and slamming shut, footfalls in the hallway. By 6:30 am the hotel was as silent as it had been during the week and I had the distinct feeling that I was, once again, the only occupant. Or rather that I was the only guest paying for his room by the day as opposed to the hour. When I went down for breakfast at 8, there wasn’t a soul in sight.
Same circus soundtrack of fey pirates the next morning. May as well be back on the farm being awakened by the rooster's crow for its reliability.
Having been trained by you in the art of investigative journalism, I checked the plaque outside the disco and saw that the joint closes down at 5 am Friday and Saturday, which explained the timing of my wake-up orgies. I then looked up the hotel on the web and my suspicions were confirmed: the trusty professor had booked me into a gay bordello, a house of ill repute which boasts on its web site of being the "Premier Gay Hotel in the Heart of Palma’s Gay District." If you would like to see a few photos of my abode, just search ‘Hotel Aires Palma Majorca.’ I recommend not doing this when you have any dignitaries in your office as the web site is accompanied by a rather lurid pop-up soundtrack.
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At any rate, this island port is full of more nefarious characters in the form of British and German tourists, their northern European skin crisped by the unrelenting sun and their right hands curled into the drink-holding form even when in between beverages. There is an English pub on each block with names like "Molly Malone's" and "Houlihan's." A report in this morning’s paper said that this island along with its smaller, rave-crazed sister island of Ibiza, was chosen by a poll of British as their favorite vacation spot in the world. The same poll stated that Americans are the worst dressed and that the Germans are poorest tippers. Hell, I didn’t even know you were supposed to add gratuity on this side of the pond. Apparently our evil ways our making their way back to the Continent.
As for the locals, they are a rather surly type, giving you the stink-eye when you do not share their rather medieval accents ripe with "thisps." They can barely understand my fluent Tijuana Spanish. And only the Spaniards would hold elections on Sunday. The papers have been full of political ads and interviews with the candidates about what their favorite movie is and pictures of the cars they drive. Early returns this Monday afternoon have the guy with the biggest billboards (twice as large as his next opponent’s) winning by a clear margin. If I remember correctly, he stated that his favorite movie was "Braveheart" and he drives a Volvo S-80 sedan with a GPS system. There is also a thriving bootleg DVD market here and I think seven different roving street merchants have tried to pawn "Spiderman III" on me.
I will make sure to give my professor the proper amount of grief for my lodging situation when he gets back on Wednesday and we head out to his retirement home in the village of Sant Joan, about an hour outside of Palma. Trust me, the first round of martinis is gonna be on him.