The Grumpy Traveller gets to grips with pool sunbed syndrome.
By Ian Jarrett ~ The Grumpy Traveller
Wednesday, 24th August 2005
In Bali last week I encountered a phenomenon I thought I had left behind in Benidorm and Torremolinos, when package holidays to Spain were first sold to sun and fun-starved Brits. It is called Sunbed Syndrome.

It goes like this: the Brits on the Spanish Riviera have a big night out drinking cheap sangria and do not rise until ten for their cornflakes and Marmite toast. By then, the Germans have crept out of their hotel rooms at dawn, put a towel on every sunbed around the pool and left a strategically placed pair of sunglasses or a book on the towel in case any stroppy Brit tries to invade the territory.

The Germans then leave the pool for a leisurely breakfast, or go shopping for sauerkraut, before returning to the pool for a little sunbed therapy while the seething Brits flop about in the pool with their rubber ducks.

In Bali last week sunbed syndrome was rife and the Aussies and the Brits were not happy.

But help is at hand for all those who are slow to bag the best sun loungers.

German lawyer Ralf Höcker has researched Spanish and German law and can reveal that leaving towels on loungers is not legally binding.

He told the Guardian newspaper that "a British tourist would be quite within legal rights to ignore the reservation implied by the towels if there is nobody there".

"There is a certain type of German tourist who does it, the same type who when they are on the beach builds a little wall with shelves and so on to protect their spot."

The happy Hocker said it had taken him 20 years to find out that the sunbed manoeuvre was illegal. "Maybe that one event is what made me want to be a lawyer."

That's sad, but we'll carry on.

In Germany, special courses in five cities are now teaching men to relax on holiday. The sessions provide expert instruction on "holiday skills" like applying a partner's sun lotion to building sandcastles with the children.

Wives are sending along husbands who can't relax by turning off their mobile phones while on holiday.

Naturally enough, all those who pass the course are rewarded with a graduation certificate — and a large beach towel emblazoned with the word "Reserved"

IAN JARRETT is based in Fremantle, Western Australia from where he travels frequently in Asia on assignments for travel magazines.

He is a member of the BamBoo Alliance, a group of leading travel writers in the region. He can be contacted at ianjarrett@mac.com
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