Tuesday, 31 January 2012
Return to Palma, Mallorca
One thing I didn't expect on my first night was a huge fireworks display to greet me, but that is what I got! I was lucky enough to have a room overlooking the harbour at the Hotel Costa Azul.
Of course the fabulous display wasn't really for me. It was to celebrate Palma's patron saint - St. Sebastian.
During the 1970s I worked in Mallorca for Cosmos as a Hotel Rep - sometimes called a courier. The best bit of the job for me was guiding. My first summer I was based in Alcudia in the north of the island where, due to a lack of official guides, we also guided the day trips so I got to know the island very well. For the whole of my stay in Mallorca I guided the evening tours which made for very long hours. No, I never again want to eat barbecued chicken!
Strolling around Palma brought back to many memories. The 'coach park' - a tract of land near the Cathedral in those days - is now paved over and is a part of the park in front of the Cathedral which is mirrored in a vast lake.
I wandered along to Plaza Gomila which was once the centre of night life with loads of restaurants and the entrance to Tito's Night Club. That is where I saw some truly historic performers - Bertice Redding who made me cry with her rendition of 'When a Man Loves a Woman' and that heroine of the French Resistance, Josephine Baker. Even at the great age she then was the performance was spine tingling.
Then of course there was that night during my first season when I lost the coach. We came out of Tito's with all of the other coach parties, but no amount of searching produced our coach. Eventually we were the only people left. Obviously drastic action was needed. I found taxis to take us back to Alcudia. The coach driver's excuse? He had a cousin in Palma and went to dinner with her family. Yes, well, if you believe that.....
In later years I was based just outside Palma in San Agustin and worked at a hotel called the Jumbo Park - the name was changed in the 1980s. My favourite night off was to go into Palma for dinner at a Chinese restaurant (made a change from 2* hotel food), then to Rikki's Bar, followed by a drink and chat in the nightclub owned by Los Valldemossa (they who first recorded Viva Espana!). From there it was down to Paseo Maritimo to a disco at the Palas Atenea. Not so much to dance but to drink and chat to a friend (honestly, that's all he was) who worked at the bar.
No, I'm not a kiss and tell kind of woman but I did kiss a lot of Spaniards - among others.
Yes, I did enjoy the 1970s in Mallorca even if they did end with the years of the Lager Louts. Which, of course, is why I left to go and work on a cruise ship in the Caribbean and have been addicted ever since to cruises, but that's another story.