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The Great Enclosure

Words:

Edd Norval

Photos:

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February 1, 2018

Nurses stuffing patients with suppositories, bank clerks stamping loans, bureaucrats delaying and approving. Whatever you do, you need to spend time not doing it.

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After being stuck in the confines of a certain occupation for so long, many yearn for freedom, for the possibility to go anywhere they want - to explore. But a huge and dedicated amount of people return to the same enclosed resorts, year after year, having the time of their lives.


The road to these places are lined by more gated communities inhabited by the rich and famous. Palms trees shield the celebrities from the prying eyes as they play on exclusive golf courses, like they are shy exotic wild animals and we are just part of the safari experience.


When you drive into one of these resorts, usually centred around the more tourist-heavy and well-weathered parts of Europe, especially Spain and Portugal, the first thing that is striking is just how perfect everything is. The houses are all whitewashed and identikit with small individualising modifications, based on their place in the hierarchy of the compound and on the requirements of the people that will live there. All the hedges and pavements are pristine, with little red fire hydrants that almost certainly will never be required.

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Buzzing around the roads and pavements are the gardeners and maintenance workers in their golf carts-cum-buggies, instantaneously repairing any damage like the most perfect human cell, in a perfectly chiseled body. There is very rarely anything at all out of place, and that illusion of perfection is very reassuring - for a short time. Anything you want or need is seen to by guys in lifeguard-esque outfits that haven't given up on their past life as a Club 18-30 rep. Even things you don't need or want - they'll make sure you get it.


To their credit, they are chameleonic, switching seamlessly from a lad when he's with the men, to a silver-tongued lothario when entertaining the woman.


The thing is, they really should be nice, considering these places are made up of rich retirees and their designer-clothing clad grandchildren that tap their parents euro coin stash to lay waste to the pool table - until they start rigging it and using that money for beer.

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These semi-menacing Dennis' only add to the Great about Britain - it's hard to top being a young kid in these places and meeting fellow troublemakers just like yourself, spending all your parents hard-earned money. The modern day timeshared colonialism that characterises these places make it a melting pot of sunburn and pints of the local beer, Heineken, whether you're in Spain or Portugal.


The worst part though? They're fun. Really, really good fun. Too many people try to go on holidays based on the photograph potential (one of the main reasons when 18-25s were asked about destination choice in a recent large-scale survey) or to go somewhere more 'edgy' and exotic than anywhere your friends have been. But when you give yourself any possibility available, you become stifled by the freedom. When you give yourself a small set of confines to work within, you focus on the more important stuff like the people - you remember what a holiday is about, holidaying.

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There's no arguments about what to do, because there is so little to actually do. So, be it sitting at the pool, sitting on a deckchair or taking a walk around the golf-course, there are no illusions. A holiday should be just that though, time away from stuff like social media, annoying people and more annoying public transport. A lot of people go on holiday and seem to come back more tired, but that's not really a holiday. Unless you want the bliss to last forever, then you're not holidaying right.


These group trips are usually the holidays that no one forgets. They're never about telling or showing people what you're doing, they're just about doing, or better yet - not doing. So give me getting too drunk with your family and friends in a living room or on a lilo and sorting the hangover out with another pint, instead of a cross-world train journey any day.


Well, not any day, once every couple of years is enough, don't want to ruin the magic.

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