I originally wrote this back in April when I visited Benidorm but forgot to post it. Hope you enjoy.
So, work decided to send me to Benidorm as part of a resort visit. As this is one of our biggest resorts it only made sense for me to do it. Plus I was more than obliged to go as it meant I was travelling again. The one sticking point, I’ve never wanted to go to Benidorm. I’ve heard so many stories about Benidorm and how stags, hen and general parties go, to get drunk and fall out of bars! Well, that sort of holiday is no longer my cup of tea and when I go on holiday I’d like to think I try to experience the culture of a new country/area. So I left Manchester airport with a little,trepidation.
After arriving in Alicante and completing our shoot at the airport we travelled to Benidorm via the expressway and a few road tolls. Driving through Benidorm centre is like driving through a sparse New York. The only similarity is the tall buildings. That’s where it ends. Benidorm is a time warp, it’s like going back into the sixties, it is hugely surreal and doesn’t hold any juxtaposition of the old and the new. It’s just old with no update. H
Anyway, after we checked in and dropped our bags off I decided to go for a walk down levante beach setting of from the very far end which is Ricon De Loix and heading towards Poniente Beach. Within five minutes of walking down the front my fears came true. I saw a British woman dressed in a very short skirt falling of a bench, drink in hand, oblivious to the fact she was showing ‘her world’, to the rest of Benidorm. Not only was her shame obvious to her but she was losing her dignity rapidly after telling a Spanish man that she wished, his kids, were hers. I’ve never seen a man more afraid of exposing his kids to another human. She proceeded to fall of the bench, beer in tact. Humiliation complete.
After seeing such a spectacle I knew I just wouldn’t understand Benidorm. As I continued my walk down the beach front you would come across a number of bars with British people hanging out of them, music blaring, sun shining I and the odd glass breaking, but no fighting. This is the same scene that you would see around towns and cities the UK over. However there was one difference, the winter/spring sun. Could this be the one difference? Well after watching the Tv show ‘Brits abroad’ I knew this wasn’t the case, it was only 4pm! Far too early for fighting. The one thing that I did notice was the number of disabled scooters around. Even a hen party had a number of them in the street, in a circle, drinking beer. Fantastic. That is one thing that you wouldn’t see back in the UK.
The following day after meeting the local rep and getting to ‘know’ Benidorm. He asked if I wanted to go for a drink and see the ‘other’ side of Benidorm. Well, who was I to refuse such an invitation? So, the rep, a few ground staff (who had invited me out earlier) and myself went to a few Irish bars. Cliche I know, but it was St Patricks day. I could write about all the things that had gone on that evening but, I can’t. I woke up the next morning, fully clothed laid across my own bed! For the life of me I cannot remember anything after the first bar! How I got home, who got me home? But the one thing that I do know and to cut a long story short, I understood Benidorm.
Benidorm is not about style, class or even money. It’s about being able to have a home from home but with great sandy beaches and sun. It’s not about what the building looks like or what room type you have! It’s about being able to have a good time and letting your hair loose. Benidorm doesn’t have to upgrade itself because since the package holidays of the sixties, Benidorm has always been the centre of sun, sea, beach and a bloody good time. Families will always go to Benidorm and their kids will follow. But, it’s like marmite, you will either love it or hate it. I eventually ‘got’ it.