Before you arrive, here are 4 tips for visiting the island.
1) Brush up on your Majorcan.
I hesitated the first time I stood outside of the bathroom: when faced with Bany Homes vs. Bany Dones, which door would you walk through?
Thank goodness for those boxy visuals! Yes–Bany Homes is for men, and Bany Dones is for women.
I didn’t have the same luck with my following encounter with Majorcan:
I knew that the first part of the sign was saying “WARNING!” but I had no idea about the second word. I steered clear of this path and later consulted a dictionary as to what “abelles” might mean. Let’s see if you can pick out the meaning:
a) Warning! Landmines
b) Warning! Flesh-eating slugs
c) Warning! Bees
d) Warning! Lost tourist
Got your guess? It refers to–drumroll–letter C, “Warning! Bees!”
2) Serve Pa amb tomàquet–bread with tomato–in the wee hours of the morn’.
Along with cereal and those circular digestive cookies adored by both Spaniards and Italians, this is what’s on the menu every day for breakfast. It’s especially popular with those adult-children who always dreamed of pizza for breakfast. I got in an argument with one of the Chelsea FC coaches over the pronunciation of “tomato,” but you can avoid all that by just calling a tomato tomàquet.
3) Get around
Speaking of circular things, Mallorcans also
like love their roundabouts. If you, too, are a fan of making each car trip duplicate an amusement park ride, then tuck that international DL into your passport case and start doing loop-de-loops. One of the English teachers swears that roundabouts call for sound effects, but I’ve experienced the radio-playing-in-the-background tranquilo lap ’round the roundabout, as well. Whichever way you get around, there are plenty of art-filled circular spaces in Mallorca to keep your passengers seeing cross-eyed for days.
And another example, just to get the point across:
4) Buy bottled water
The main item on my grocery store list? Water. I had noticed on arrival that the tap water has thick, slightly sweet taste. I also noticed that the water they serve in the cafeteria comes from packaged water jugs. The camp director strongly recommended we buy bottled water. Someone else mentioned that supposedly the local water is behind many locals coming down with kidney stones. The last and final reason why I believe most locals buy bottled water and why I will follow suit this July: the superstore had and ENTIRE room labeled “AGUA” that was as big as my neighborhood grocery store in Madrid. There were water from different sources, huge jugs to tiny bottles–in other words, the most water I had ever seen in once place since my view of the ocean in downtown Palma.
Thus concludes today’s cultural lesson. If you haven’t been left with ganas to visit the island, then I haven’t done my job.