Monday, May 30

Great Yarmouth

Although some would choose to accuse me of being a highly maintained traveller who wouldn't settle for anything less than an adventure across a continent, I do think I have more than enough evidence to show the contrary. The same people will also not believe me when I say how I don't actually need to travel, how I've had just as nice a time at home with the right conditions, and how I've actually been a passenger rather than lead on most of my recent trips abroad. I won't go as far as to say I've hated and wished I never went on them, but I do see holidays as a bonus on life rather than source of personal joy and so actually cringe each time I read the opposite sentiment on matrimonial profiles. And before I go on, no, this isn't me trying to be ghetto and roughing it as some kind of rite of passage. I meant it: when you consider any trip to be a bonus, you tend to enjoy them no matter what.

When "family" now means five adults and a clutch of kids, a family holiday becomes a little more difficult than it would be otherwise. Take this long weekend, for example, which consisted of staying in a caravan for three nights in Great Yarmouth, you know, that place all your non brown friends went to for the holidays instead of Pakistan or India. I have to admit that a part of me was looking forward to finally catching up with David and Jodie from Primary School, but aside from that the cliché of it all being about the company totally stood too - resulting in the feeling of same kind of excitement as I would when leaving for any other destination.

Overall it was exactly how you would imagine a seaside resort to be. With all due respect to my fellow travellers and guests (and I certainly mean this is a positive way), it was so trashy, cheesy and unsexy there was no choice but to embrace it all wholeheartedly. Although I assumed it had the basic facilities, the caravan we stayed in was quite impressive even though my bed doubled up as the sofa. The caravan park itself had a private beach, an entertainment complex (so a pool, tennis, stage) and lots for the kids to do and take part in. Butlins had finally become a reality for the Shaikh family.

Venturing out from the park took us to Great Yarmouth proper. This was just another beach done in a way only the British can: funfairs, piers, games arcades full of those penny shoving games my parents (and now a new generation, it appears) seem compelled to play. The only real weird thing about the place was how dead it was - the beaches and promenade were deserted even though it was a bank holiday weekend. We didn't manage to figure out why. Still, we some how managed to go to this beach three times over the the weekend, which must be some kind of record.

The rest of the weekend was filled with various sights and activities including Burgh Castle, Elizabethan House Museum and the excellent BeWILDwewood, which deserves a post of its own really. It probably goes without saying that this was a kids orientated holiday and we all seemed to have enjoyed it even though it meant having to get used to some insanely early starts. But hey, that's the price for staying with reasonably disciplined kids.

And that was it really - a quick trip away that really was more about the people, particularly the kids, than the place we were going to. Looking around it seemed the same for most people who were there. And of course it is with zero irony when I say they all seemed to have enjoyed themselves much more than they would have trekking across South America.