We had the loveliest time in Parga. We really did. We went to the beach almost every day. We swam in the most beautifully clear, calm water. (In the bay off Parga’s main beach there’s an island that you can swim out to with a dinky little church and pathways to wander around.) We drank sweet red wine in the sunshine. We strolled through old olive groves. We went on a boat trip to Paxos and Antipaxos. (I don’t know about you, but I’m never happier than when I’m on a tourist boat, with a beer in my hand, the sea breeze in my frizzy holiday hair and Despacito playing on the loudspeaker. Seriously.) We read trashy books. We snoozed. We enjoyed actual caffeine every day. (I’m trapped in a toxic ‘on-again/off-again’ relationship with coffee where I’m either guzzling it every day or having to give it up for months at a time due to palpitations and retinal migraines. Fun, fun, fun.) We drank cocktails at the harbour and watched the world go by. We filled our bellies in the amazing tavernas.
It was heaven.
If only we’d had the place to ourselves. Because Parga in August is Busy with a capital B. I didn’t mind the Busyness so much – after all, we’ve been hibernating in our quiet village for the whole pandemic, so it’s not like we needed a peaceful holiday to escape our stressful, demanding lives. A bit of buzz was surprisingly nice. No, it was other people’s weird, unsociable and sometimes disgusting habits that I struggled with.
Like littering. Arrive at one of Parga’s gorgeous beaches early in the morning, before the people who manage the sun loungers have had a chance to clear away the previous day/night’s debris, and you’ll be confronted, in all its ugly glory, with just how gross some people can be. There were bottles, plastic bags, food cartons, and glasses from nearby bars strewn all over the beach. Someone even left one of those stickers off the back of a pantyliner in the sand. A fucking pantyliner sticker. Come on, lady who left your pantyliner sticker in the sand, what’s wrong with you? You must have known that was wrong.
And while I’m on the subject – she says, ramping up to a right old red-faced rant – why don’t people understand that cigarette butts are also litter? Don’t just squish them into the sand and leave them there, you dirty fuckers. Those filter tips probably take about a thousand years to decompose. (They do contain a form of plastic.) Why would you leave them on a beach? I can’t emphasise enough how beautiful the beaches were around Parga, yet they were covered in cigarette butts.
So yeah, the litter thing bummed me out. But here’s another thing: did you know it’s now commonplace for people to take their phones into the sea with them? Their actual phones. In the sea. So they can take pictures of themselves, you know, in the sea. Evidently, you can now buy these little waterproof plastic pouches that you wear around your neck to keep your phone dry. In the sea. So you can take your €900 iPhone in the sea. In the fucking sea!
I get that people maybe don’t want to leave their €900 iPhone on their lounger while they go for a swim, but if they’re that worried about it, why take it to the beach in the first place? We left our shitty old phones in the room safe every day and it was bliss to be disconnected from the world. (Although, as neither of us wear a watch, we were permanently playing ‘guess the time’. On at least one occasion, this probably led to us drinking wine far too early in the morning…) We don’t need to take a photo of every little thing that we do. And there’s nothing on email/social media that can’t wait a few hours. So why not leave the phone behind?
Then there were the people who would sit on their loungers watching videos on their phone all day, playing their dumb shit out loud for the rest of us to, ahem, enjoy. Why bother going on holiday at all. You can do that at home?
I’m genuinely worried about the future of humanity, because it seems we can’t leave our phones alone for five minutes. Even when there are views like this to enjoy…
What do you think? Is civilisation doomed or have people always been like this and I’m just out of practice? Please tell me, before I shave my head and disappear off to live in a cave. (The head shaving isn’t necessary for living in a cave, by the way, I just feel like being dramatic.)
Also tell me, what’s the worst holidaymaker behaviour you’ve ever seen? Rob and I once saw a stag group on Vitosha Boulevard in Sofia pull down the extremely drunk groom’s pants, leaving him to stagger along the street with his dick hanging out. It was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Can anyone beat that? This should be interesting…