Kate goes on the Holiday from Hell.
|"Um, this is the wrong hotel," said the receptionist, in impeccable English. "You need the Playa Cruz Hotel. Down the street." She sniffed.
"Down the street" turned out to be a ten minute taxi ride, at the end of which was a building site. My heart sank as the enthusiastic driver deposited our luggage on the dirt track before climbing back into the car. Jack handed over €20, and was waiting for his change when the driver stomped on the accelerator and disappeared in a cloud of dust.
We were tired, sweaty and had already been held up at the airport, waiting for our luggage. A bag was missing. We weren't to know it, but we wouldn't get it back for three months.
A week later, and we'd all had enough. The swimming pool was unsafe, and the noise from the building site next door woke us up at stupid-o'-clock. We hired another taxi.
As the taxi bounced and honked us to the airport, I conjured the picture of a tree that stood outside our garden. It was a huge evergreen pine, and looked out of place in the middle of a housing estate, but to me it symbolised home. I felt a pang of longing, of homesickness that a truncated holiday shouldn't conjure. The kids had hung a suet-filled coconut shell on it.
"Pack your case yourself?"
"Yes," I was forced out of my reverie.
"Come with us, please."
I was taken to security and my case unloaded in front of me. A small packet of white powder was removed. I'd never seen it before in my life. "What is this?"
My mouth fell open into an involuntary gape. "I... I don't know," I replied. It isn't mine!"
"Did you leave your case at any point?"
I blinked. "Yes, to go to the toilet. I left it with my husband."
"Show him to me."
My legs were like jelly as they led me out of the security office and forced me to point to Jack.
Three hours later, we turned the corner into our street. There was the tree, covered in a layer of snow. I vowed never to go on holiday again.