V6 024 Spain’s St Tropez

Volume 6 part 024 Viva Spain

As for September 2000, I got to choose the autumn break for 2001. Peter allowed me to select Sitges located just south of Barcelona and featured heavily in the free-press, hand-outs readily available in any self-respecting Soho Gay bar.

The similarities with “San-Fran’” extended to a bay populated by pretentions “queens” and overpriced bars and restaurants. In this case, the majority of the “Queens” came from London, a particularly narcissistic bunch with a catty, viscous streak and mouths to match. The basking “queens” colonised the beach well before lunch time along with most of the brunch bars that line the main shopping street. Versace was definitely “in” that year. To kick-off the evening entertainment the restaurants in the old town are more worthy of a visit. The walk along the Corniche is attractive.

“Throb” had not excelled themselves. The hotel was underwhelming but central. We were on the fourth floor with a panoramic view of the living room beyond the laundry adorning the balcony of the flat across the street and directly opposite. A Last minute flight change put us on a Charter to Reus instead of Barcelona. Reus is a deportation depot for Scousers accompanied by hordes of unruly offspring labelled “Whitney”, Wayne and Shane. One “Whitney” very nearly had her arse ripped off when the baggage carrousel fired up underneath her, despite multi-lingual warning signs to stay behind the yellow line. I surmised that they were terminally stupid or on holiday in term time and consequently couldn’t read.

The foot-path to the Gay-bay is sufficiently uncomfortable to dissuade the pollution occupying the main beach in town from making the hike. A very rocky, but highly secluded cove was accessed by a three mile yomp over hilly scrubland. The shortcut along the railway line was not to be recommended. The regular high speed electrified commuter trains made the tunnel far too risky for all but the trimmest gays. Additionally, the scrubland provided just enough cover for skulking, dirty old men to ensure keeping up a brisk pace. I lost Pete on several occasions to be reunited usually just before the tapas lunch featuring draft San Miguel though god knows how they got the barrels down the cliff face. The beach shack provided basic snacks and beverages. They also provided the tiny spoon for an off-duty judge from Bournemouth to dole out a daily “coke” ration to his pet twink. When he wasn’t entertaining his old man, the twink was shopping. Fortunately, the Judge had an extremely “flexible friend”.

Pete extended his interest in nature by taking up afternoon rambling returning for a beer-break some time before sunset or just in time for our trek home. Like many of the gays, the sun goes down early in Sitges in September. On the singular occasion that we took the “scenic” route together I was clearly a hindrance as Peter set a pace that left me more than a half a mile behind, lost and having to detour back to the original hill top pathway to cross the railway where it shot into the mountain tunnel. He was back at the hotel over half an hour before me, complaining he hadn’t got the key and, typically, elected to give me the silent treatment for the second half of the week.

A shopping trip, usually a safer bet as an anti-dote failed to lighten the mood although an American “ginner” trying on a pair of turquoise speedos offered some light relief when parading through the boutique  soliciting opinions on whether his arse looked good in these. He also modelled a belt with a brass buckle which clashed violently with is speckled complexion and also did nothing for his arse. Pete bought a pair of black designer label trousers to go with a Jesus print “T” shirt he acquired in a buying-binge competition with the judge’s Twink the previous evening.

On the only day we gave the gay bay and beach a miss we met “Yuri”, the lip-stick lesbian with an arse so firm you could bounce her around a squash court.

Having recently split from a long term girlfriend in Madrid, she was in Sitges for “lesbian week”. Unfortunately for her she was a week early. Had she mistimed it by two weeks she could have found herself in “Bears Week”. Yuri was of Venezuelan decent, living in New York and if her business card was anything to go by, was something in real-estate. She entertained us over lunch in a very smart beachside restaurant overlooking the gays and sufficiently pricy to exclude the white trash more accustomed to the Vauxhall Tavern. Not to infer that all patrons of the Vauxhall tavern are white trash, some are provincials and some are foreign. A Spanish Stallion parading on the Gay beach provided a minor distraction from a fillet steak by showing us all how the Turquois Speedos modelled earlier by the pink pig from Massachusetts should really be worn.

Somehow, the Venezuelan invited herself to dinner that evening.

After meeting Yuri outside the Versace shop we strolled to the old port for a fish supper at a restaurant overlooking the Cathedral which we had discovered on our first night. After returning from a ten-minute adjournment to the toilet she reordered the appetisers eating the second helping of giant prawns complete with shell, head and legs. A further ten minutes in the toilet and the Dover sole went down as finger food, bones “et al”. She literally shovelled it from the plate to her mouth with her fingers. What missed her mouth ended up, in equal proportions down her cleavage or decorating a guy’s blue suede jacket on the adjoining table. An empty plate signalled it was time to move on, despite Pete and I being only half way across ours and having to forgo pudding. We paid the bill, catching up with her disappearing up a back alley leading into the old town a few hundred meters past the Church.  VIP tickets into a night club, a spot of jigging about to free champagne that Yuri blagged from a party of Middle Eastern types, who could equally have been Mediterranean judging from their preference for the blond boys, concluded with us carrying a collapsed Lesbian “home” and draping her over the shoulder of a hotel security guard at just past midnight, rounding off the sort of evening that two provincial boys from South Yorkshire rarely encounter. I was well acquainted with Gays having their exclusively male holiday resorts but it had never occurred to me that Lesbians had managed the same emancipation from straight society. The security guard was constructed like an East German Shot-putter. There was no way she was letting two giggling gays past her that night irrespective of how tasty their baggage.

Yuri stood us up for lunch the following day but was already at the Fish restaurant we returned to for dinner that evening by way of an apology for the previous evening’s antics. The happy whore had acquired a new pair of patsy’s to subsidise her European adventure and elected not to recognise us. We advised her new victims against ordering the giant prawns in the event that she displayed any signs of incontinence. Peter later explained to me why New Yorkers, in need of chemical sustenance visit the loo with such frequency. Yet another revelation!

A pair of men’s-bars, conveniently located opposite each other half way up a back alley offered sanctuary from the London style-queens in being very small, fully enclosed and dimly lit and hardly conducive to a freaky fashion show. Other than the Tuesday night underwear party at the XXS and the odd creepy Spaniard leering from the gloom in The “Toro” we had the place very much to ourselves. At the underwear party, along with a dumper truck load of dignity, I lost the chain holding an eighteen carat gold razor blade Bubble had given me as a Christmas present back in 1984. To be expected, no one handed it in…

I tired of Sitges, its clones, its cliques. Its pretence and its prices! The Gay Londoners had moved in their gay “families” lock stock and beer bellies. Sitges was under occupation and outsiders weren’t getting a look in! I found Sitges to be a very lonely town.

Back at the airport, the Cosmos coach bringing a clutch of Liverpoodlians back from a week “all-inclusive” in Lorret de Mar  got a ring-side seat for the arrival of our stretch Limo laid on by “Throb”. The “Gays” were travelling in style. The driver took our bags straight to the check-in to beat the queue.

We waited! … and then we waited some more with no sign of life behind the check-in counters. The natives marauding behind us were becoming increasingly restless, exhibiting classical withdrawal symptoms after a week’s beer binging. The back six rows had caught a sniff of the duty free shop and open bar the other side of security. Although the crowd could not have turned uglier, but fearing that the off-spring might also become increasingly restless through deprivation of coke and fags I broke free to approach  the empty information counter on behalf of the inarticulate herd. As the door opened to the back office I caught sight of a TV showing a “disaster” movie of epic proportion. The door closed immediately. An announcement would follow.

Mobile phones were buzzing in every quarter of the terminal before I could announce to a captive audience that the entire airport staff appeared to be simultaneously watching the same horror film. 

Stella (our friend and not the dog) asked us if we were OK and would there be a flight today and then rambled on at great length about something hitting some twin towers somewhere in the USA. I was rendered speechless in a mild state of shock. I had no idea that so many out of work scousers had mobile phones let alone could afford “roaming” charges, or communicate verbally at all, given their use of a language that is barely English spat through showers of saliva threatening to earth analogue phones to ground through synthetic satin Korean Track suits.

The full horror of the days’ tragic events enfolded on the TV screens wall-papering departures originally installed to make lengthy waiting in an overheated porta-cabin tolerable. The tribe carried on drinking whilst the unchained sprogs continued rioting. The mute button and Spanish subtitles added to the surrealism of it all. I entertained the kids who got too close with bed-time stories of how we were all going on an aeroplane with a greater than 50/50 chance of being hijacked and being hurled into the side of a block of council flats somewhere between Salford and Birkenhead.  They were going to die in the most horrible and excruciating pain. Silence triumphed. I had managed to create a twenty feet exclusion zone around our table. “Whitney” was not the same hard nut she personified on the way out wailing herself to sleep just after landfall over the South coast.

Ours was the last plane to land in Manchester for the next four days! Another two hours delay and we would have had four days free holiday. I phoned Yuri to offer refuge in England if she was trapped this side of the Atlantic but could get to the UK. It was the right thing to do. There was no reply. Future emails bounced back. We didn’t meet again.

When we left Spain the towers were burning. On the drive home from the airport we stopped off at the Norfolk arms in Glossop for a midnight pint and an update. The wall to wall TV’s in the sports bar exclusively showed repeats of the collapse of both towers of the World Trade Centre. The pilot had announced nothing.

There was little sleep that night. As usual, I collected the dogs from the kennel the next day.

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