Monday, 28 October 2013
Back in Blighty...
Spain and the Spanish islands have never been my first choice for a quick hop abroad, I got to know France well and the South would be my preferred destination for a cheeky bit of sunshine.
I went to Tenerife to do a 4 day course using exercise for rehabilitation, not as in-depth as physio work, but class based activities for attendees who are recovered/recovering from previous physical impairment.
It was a great course, and spending time with locals (most of the teachers were from Valencia) was a fascinating insight into another feminine culture.
If, like me, you thought that the natural slimness of Southern climes was another genetic blessing, you would be wrong, they work out like loonies, even in 30+ heat and seem to survive almost solely on fresh fish and salad. Every night was treated like an opportunity to put on an outfit suitable for dining at the Ritz, the favoured look was black fitted dress, jewellery and sky high heels. I have been to Tenerife before, but this time was a completely different experience. The recurring question in my mind was how everyone afforded to look quite as fabulous as they did, since most were on less than UK minimum wage and living costs in Tenerife are not that much cheaper than in the UK.
Of course I hadn't packed anything even as glamorous as they all wore to work out let along for nights out, so I was the obvious English, who, it has to be said, in the main, are considered a different species by this group.
They are totally the reverse of me, where I was trying to work out how they looked so amazing with so little, they would ask, how can these people stay in a hotel that cost 500 euro a night and look as they do? I think the inference was that with that kind of disposible income there is access to every sort of aesthetic improvement, so why do the Brits get it so wrong? Feeling obliged to defend the nation, I took the line, that in the main, Brits just don't set much store by how they look. The time and energy required to maintain the Spanish ideal, is spent looking after other people, so they may not look like supermodels at 50, but Bits are generally kind, understanding, patient and friendly. And may be when those qualities become less important than the size of your waist, it is time to reassess your priorities.
What would you have said if you were asked the same? Is our laziness defensible? Should we try harder? Or are the nicest people the least vain ones?