Hurricane Irene

8 08 2012

Like many British couples my husband and I go abroad every summer.

Much to my parent’s frustration, we are not particularly keen on Europe. Don’t get me wrong, I was lucky enough to enjoy many family holidays there as a child and I loved every second of them.  But nowadays my husband and I prefer to go a little further afield and my parents don’t like it one bit.

My Father in particular is very protective and somewhat nervous about my travelling. I fractured my skull on holiday as a child, so we have firsthand experience of the complications of sustaining a serious injury whilst abroad and the benefits of having good travel insurance. On a trip my Dad took to Tunisia he made the mistake of visiting his GP before his trip. This raised the issue of the vaccinations needed to protect him against tropical illnesses. In addition he was also directed to a travel website which warned about respecting local culture, being aware of ongoing political controversy and ensuring that women “cover up” to avoid offending people. Holidays are designed to relieve stress but this one seemed to be generating it instead. Once he was actually in Tunisia, Dad found the aggressive sales tactics used in the markets hard to deal with and extremely intimidating.

As many of our wish list holiday destinations are in countries experiencing political turmoil such as Israel, Dad has come to dread the conversation each year when I tell him where we will be going.

The desire to visit more exotic locations may stem back to the first holiday my husband and I took together. This was to “parent approved” Ibiza and it was disaster. As a couple we were perhaps not the intended target market for the 18-30’s meat market that the travel agent recommended for us. In addition to this we had not really brought enough money with us and funds evaporated pretty quickly and as we had only paid bed and breakfast up front it was difficult stretching our meagre funds to last the two weeks. This made it a miserable experience and being surrounded by permanently drunk and hormonal students out on the pull, may have tainted our view of the destination unfairly.

The following year we went for something completely different. We booked an all inclusive holiday in Morocco. My Father was very unhappy. To be fair to him we still weren’t seasoned travellers and it was a country that is culturally very different to our own. It was also during troubled times and our trip was less than a fortnight after September 11th making it a nerve-wracking time to fly. But it was without doubt an amazing experience and we came home desperate to visit similar destinations.

Two years ago we had planned to go to Tunisia with friends over Easter but the riots to remove President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the state of emergency that followed was a step too far for my parents and I could tell from the impassioned plea over the phone that the request for us to chose an alternative destination was non-negotiable, so we decided last minute to go to Majorca instead. Luckily the company of our good friends made our stay at a hotel that was locally nicknamed Hotel Beirut during peak season more palatable.

In Jan 2011 we booked our summer vacation. We had actually earmarked our destination two years earlier, it was simply beautiful, an adult only hotel in paradise, but it was extremely expensive for us so we had to wait and save up. When I told my parents we were going to CUBA the silence over the phone was deafening.

If you were going to design paradise it would look like the Melia Cayo Santa Maria. A stunning resort and one of the best holidays I have ever had. We did however go during hurricane season and as we watched the news channel each morning of our stay, it was with great amusement that we witnessed startling images of a tropical cyclone start to build on August 20th 2011 and it was heading straight for us.

The days were still blisteringly hot but in the evening the sky lit up with spectacular displays of forked lightning dancing across the sky and rain flooded the resort grounds.

Our amusement was largely due to the fact that this force of nature had been given the same name as my Mother. It seems that my parents were so deeply disgruntled by our choice of holiday destination that Hurricane Irene had been unleashed and sent after us.

This year we are off to Mexico – and when I checked my Facebook Status this morning there was a message from a family member who lives in the states asking if we were still going and warning that a Hurricane has started to build.

Yes. We are still going and no doubt Hurricane Frank will be there to greet us!




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