Blonde and Brunette spent three fabulous weeks in Spain, primarily in the Costa Brava region. When planning the itinerary, Bl&Br, inspired by an article in Conde Nast Traveler, decided to add a side trip to Menorca, one of the Balearic Islands.
Due to the length of this vacation and Blonde being the poster child for chronic unemployment, we were interested in value. (Value means not paying much but expecting a lot.) The Valentin Star had very good reviews on Trip Advisor, included breakfast and dinner, free live entertainment, a large swimming pool and reasonable prices. Good enough!
And it did have all of those things. However, even unemployed people and their sisters can be less than enthusiastic upon discovering that everyone else staying at the property is massively obese, constantly smoking, Russians on a package tour. We looked on in amazement at the bulk of the bodies blobbed about on the pool area lounge chairs. Grunting Russians turned to burn each previously cadaver-like white mound of flesh in some sort of self-induced rotisserie tanning process.
Blonde decided that this was was the reverse of a “fat farm”. This was in fact a hydroponic fat farm where you came to become fat. And it was highly effective.
It didn’t take a lot of brain power to realize that this crowd was going to present formidable competition at the breakfast and dinner buffets. Massive quantities of food are required to sustain so much bulk and this wasn’t a group too shy to lumber back for seconds or eighths. Perhaps in self-defense the hotel had stern warnings all over the dining room about not removing food from the premises.We quickly identified an officious, tall, dark-suited man with darting eyes as the “Banana Cop” who appeared to be in charge of making sure food didn’t vanish to unsecured locations.
There was strong reason to suspect that this might very well be an issue but, as two women who if fused together would not equal the weight of one middleweight Russian, we felt it only fair that we be allowed to take a little fruit with us for a midday snack. We also were massively annoyed by other petty charges we seemed to be discovering by the minute.
If you wanted an adult beverage with dinner you had to buy a bottle of wine; wine by the glass was not an option. If you wanted to carry your own food onto the terrace to eat outside there was a hefty surcharge levied on any beverages, even water, you consumed.
By this time Blonde had also learned that you had to leave a 10€ deposit for a pool towel and another 1€ each time you wanted a clean one. There were deposits and daily room charges for the safes and the list of petty fees went on and on.
Fed up by the annoying charges and rules Brunette’s creativity and Blonde’s ballsyness combined forces. It started small, as so many crime sprees do. The perfect crime of opportunity presented itself to Blonde as we were leaving for the day and walked past a housekeeping supply cart. Towels!
Next we went to a local store and each bought a bottle of our wine of choice. Back at the hotel Blonde walked across the terrace and authoritatively marched off with two empty wine glasses to the puzzled stares of some open-mouthed munching Russians.
Brunette decided that, as our balcony was directly above the terrace, one of us should lower a basket (in this case a bag from a yoga clothing store that had poses drawn on it that looked more like the Kama Sutra than yoga). The terrace-seated sister would quickly retrieve the wine and glasses and pour generous servings then the lowering-the-basket-sister would pull the goods back up. We didn’t have a rope but we had a very stretchy travel line that we used to dry clothes when they got so whiffy they demanded washing.
At breakfast one morning we decided to pull off a banana and fig heist. This required surreptitious movements that would not attract the attention of the dapper, alert Banana Cop.
Tragically we never pulled off the wine lowering caper but we did enjoy sitting on our teeny tiny balcony listening to the evening’s entertainment – which included Rod “Steward” – while we drank our own surcharge-free wine. And we did a brilliant job of fruit theft and towel use and repatriation.
It is our hope that the useful photos accompanying this post will help you someday combat being nickel and dimed for stupid things. It is also our hope that the Valentin Star doesn’t find a way to charge us post-mortem for consuming figs and bananas outside of the designated fruit zone.
No fruits were harmed in the filming of this post although a few felt they’d been morally compromised. One enjoyed the process immensely, but all were guaranteed anonymity.