Interviews

What is it like being a Jamaican in Mallorca?

Xavier: What is it like being a Jamaican in Mallorca. Hi, I’m Xavier Murphy, the founder of Jamaicans. Com, and today in Jamaicans to the World. I talked to Sean and Glynis. Jamaicans who are living in Mallorca. Welcome Sian, welcome, Glynis. How are you?

Sian: Fine Xavier. Thank you very much for having us here to talk about Mallorca and Jamaica.

Glynis: Thanks Xavier, Mallorca is paradise, just like Jamaica. 

Xavier: All right. I can’t wait to get into this. But let’s start at the top. Sian, Glynis. Which part of Jamaica are you from? And I want to start with Sean first. 

Sian: Yes, so you should. I was born in Spalding in the Percy Junior Hospital in Spalding. My parents were teaching at Knox at the time, but I then grew up in Mandeville until I was about 13. So, from Clarendon to Manchester.

Xavier: Alright, and I know your sisters, maybe different stories. Glynis?

Glynis: I was born in Mandeville, so that’s where I started my journey in Jamaica and ended it, Mandeville and Mandeville.

Xavier: Well, good, good. I have a lot of Clarendonians on this show. I’m sure they’re going to be bigging up themselves when they stay here. Sian sey (said), you know, Spalding, which funny enough, my mother’s side of the family is from Clarendon and I know Spaulding so great. They’re going to be bigging up all the Clarendonians who are going to be commenting

Xavier: I’m going to go to you, Sian, because I know you had a taste of some high school in Jamaica. Which school are you representing? 

Sian: Well, the one and only the best, Manchester High School in Mandeville. My father was in fact, head of the school at the time. It was quite an interesting journey being a first former there when he was ahead and my mother taught me Spanish. So, I had them both in my face. 

Xavier: Oh, oh, wow. Oh, wow. Folks before as I mentioned their sisters, and you had a First Form Experience; I’m sure you have told Glynis what High School in Jamaica is like because you left a little before you could get in, but if you were going, where would you have gone to? Would you have also gone to the same school?

Glynis: Well, funnily enough, I did go to the same school as my father because he was a headmaster in my school in Wales when we ended up living in Wales. Just as the stories I’m sure, many a Jamaican has experienced his beautiful presence as an educator, because he was an most incredible man, as a pupil at a very large, Comprehensive High School in Wales. And it was brand new, there was more than 1000 students there. My Dad really took them by storm. I was proud to be his daughter. It was a bit of putting at times because he was too much. He ended up getting sacked from that job. And I grew up thinking it was normal that people change jobs all the time.

Xavier: But they do in today’s world they do (laugh).

Glynis: This was growing up in the 60s and 70s, because my father, being a Welshman with Jamaica in his heart actually did have a huge opinion. 

Xavier: All right. You guy’s had such a journey, you kind of talked a little bit about it Glynis, in terms of, born in Jamaica, spent a childhood in Jamaica, but you all have a journey, your journey to the, Mallorca Island. I’m going to start with you Glynis. Can you tell us and maybe it’s a different journey for you Sian, but your journey, how did you get to this island? And folks, it’s just to clarify, it’s an island, I don’t want to say owned by Spain, but Spain is the kind of the [4:47 inaudible]. It’s in the Mediterranean, I’ll let you talk a little bit more about that. I won’t dive into your journey there.

Mallorca Street

Glynis: Well, I always say to people I was born foreign and I’ll probably die foreign and I say that because while mom is Jamaican, my dad was Welsh. And I was born in Jamaica left before five, went to England went to Wales, grew up, left school went to university, and luckily for me, I had the best summer of my life in 1992 working on a Super Yacht, I’m not cut out for working on Super Yachts. And so that summer season luckily came to an end. And I found myself coming to Mallorca, just because I didn’t want to continue working on boats. Because at that time, the season, Summer Season was Mallorca, and then Winter season was the Caribbean. And I’d already done the Caribbean. I didn’t want to cross over the Atlantic, because I’d already done that in 1966, so I thought, well, I’ll come to Mallorca, and I had pretty much the idea of Mallorca as Maduka and from an English perspective, which is full of drunken English Tourists, and I thought, oh, it wouldn’t be very nice. But luckily, they’re all located in one teeny weeny bit of the island, and then the rest of us who are adventurous, have the rest of the Mallorca to explore. I never left I’ve been here since 1992, and, if I stay here, I will die foreign. As I say, born foreign die foreign. It’s helped me in my life to be foreign. 

Xavier: All right. And Sian, your journey? 

Sian: Well, I haven’t been here that long because I came in 2017; coming straight from Saudi Arabia, where I’d been teaching in Jeddah, and where I’d been for some. No, I didn’t come from Saudi Arabia. What am I talking about? I was in Saudi Arabia. Then I moved to  Ras Al Khaimah which is in the Emirates. I’ve been teaching in Saudi Arabia then spent four years, five years in Ras Al Khaimah. And I went back to London, I didn’t have a …. my husband and I didn’t have a house or property in London, and I stayed with my mother. And she suddenly announced that she was gonna (going to) move to Mallorca. And it was all a bit of a shock, and ended up here Mum buying a house and I’m thinking well, you know, I come and stayed with her in London, I think I prefer to go and stay with her in Mallorca. And I came over 2017 bought a small apartment, not in the same village as my mother and sister, I hasten to add eight kilometers away and up a mountain, so that’s perfect positioning. So that’s how I arrived here.

Xavier: Nice, nice.

Glynis: But Xavier, we have to sort of say, why did our mother come and live in Mallorca? Because of the best child.

 Laugh

Sian: But she dragged me alone.

Glynis: Yeah, that’s only, because you were carrying her suitcases. She didn’t have the heart to tell you.

Xavier: Listen, the sister rivalry. Oh, I know, I have three girls. I know the sister rivalry. You think the men are competitive, because I have brothers too (laugh). It’s sounds like, in terms of getting there and settling there; there is no real barriers per se. Is it because you…? It sounds like y’all (you all) have British Passports, and obviously, your Jamaican Passport allows you back then to be British, but is there any major barriers to coming and living in the Island? And then I’m also going to touch on a little bit on where you’re located, if it’s used as a trans location, where the folks from other places, they land there and then they tried to get into Europe, but I’ll touch on that before, after sorry. Are there major barriers to.….? How do they look at foreigners because you mentioned the term foreigner, think twice?

Glynis: Yeah, the Spanish are very accommodating the Spanish are beautiful people. My experience in Mallorca has always been the most incredible experience. The small town where I live now is very welcoming. The Mallorca people are…. Because there’s so in touch with nature, there’s a simplicity about the style of living and the way of living. Sadly, Tourism is what we have to contend with here. And Mallorca is trying very hard to be more sustainable in its touristic offer. But I would say that, when I first came here, in the old days, we’d have to have a visit from the Guardia Seville from the authorities who would come knocking on your door and lots of papers, and you’d have to answer lots of questions and they check where you live. Because of the European Union, then things became very easy for British people to come and settle here. But we’ve had something that has got an X in the middle of it, in the last few years, Brexit. Now it’s all gone completely ridiculous. But luckily, both of us; I’ve been a permanent resident here for a long, long time. And Sian is a permanent resident here now. That does make it a lot easier, but Brexit has completely changed that.

Xavier: Umm, I see. 

Sian: But Glynis, you also have the advantage of both your sons are actually Spanish not British. 

Glynis: Yeah. They’d rather be Jamaican if they had to be anything else.

Sian: And mine

Glynis: Yeah, that they’re happy not having anything to do with Britain apart from British parents, so you know.

 Laugh

Xavier: Well, you know, you can get them if they really want to be, you know, you can go get them their Jamaican Passport, and they will be happy campers and probably, they will walk around and say, Hey! I’m Jamaican. You can go, I’ll put a plug in here for your Consulate Office where the closest Consulate Office is.

You touched a little bit on the people, and I’m gonna (going to) go that route, and it will come back the other route in a little bit. But you touched on the people, what are the people there like, and Sian, I’m gonna (going) to talk to you first on this. What is your experience with the people on the Island? What is it been like? 

Sian: What, you know, the funny thing is that, I mean, I have very strong memories of Jamaica, and I did go back a few times. The people, as Glynis said, very welcoming, I find them extremely friendly. I’ve never had a problem. And they remind me in some ways of small village, Jamaica. You’ll be walking down the street and somebody, you pass you, you won’t walk past somebody without saying hello. Whereas in England, you can walk past everybody and not say hello. But here, you greet them. And even though they speak Miopean on learning, Castilian Spanish, so we have this kind of incredible mix up of language, and I throw in my English, but it doesn’t matter. Because if you’re smiling, if you’re happy, if you try, you are welcomed. And it reminds me so much of Jamaica, sometimes when I drive around, going up into the mountains, and I think oh my god, this reminds me of when we used to go from Spalding, down to Mandeville down to Porus, so you turn left or right, depending on where you want to go. There’s, so many similarities. I’ve come from one small island and I think I’m ending up in another soul. But I love it.

Xavier: Glynis, you have been there a while, so your experience with the people? What has it been like? And you started to talk about some wonderful people? 

Glynis: They are wonderful people. I mean, like Sian says, you just don’t go anywhere and not say hello, for example, if you walk into a bar or a restaurant, somebody’s eating, you wish them a good meal. You know, that’s just so and you walk into a shop, and you say hello to the whole shop. It’s very rude not to. And we had good training, because I used to think that my dad knew everybody, because he would say hello to everybody. And as a child, I’d be running alongside him and I’d say who’s that? and he’d say, I don’t know. So, when he used to come and visit Mallorca, he used to drive me crazy because there’s one neighbor I’d rather not talk to, and my dad would engage in conversation with everybody. And I’m like, “Dad”, don’t talk to that one (laugh). And I remember if I said I was popping out, and my dad was on holiday, and he’d be here at home and I’d say popping out and then I show up about 45 minutes later, because it’s hard to pop out. It’s…. You bump into somebody in the street and you have to go through the whole house of family, who was born who died, who got married, you can’t walk into a corner shop and just think you’re going to pop in.

Xavier: Sounds like when you’re walking through the countryside in Jamaica, and you are there and you’re talking to everybody, you’re catching up with everyone, 

Glynis: It is discourteous, if you don’t speak to the locals, it really is, especially one thing that Mallorca has managed to maintain is the, the jewel in the crown in the small towns and villages where people know each other, they’re not sleeping towns where people come and sleep and go to work, we still have the luxury of knowing our neighbors, of communicating with our neighbors, perhaps even in the capital, which is Palma. We still, you know, it’s easy for me to go to Palma and bump into people I know, but it has lost that; the small towns and villages if you don’t say hello to somebody, that’s only because there’s some kind of fallout in the past that hasn’t been resolved for the third generation still. But everything else you have to say hello, or that is a (makes cutting gesture across throat) not good.

Xavier: Sian, you talked a little bit about this, and I understand and I don’t know what the situation is now. But I believe from the background I looked at, there are two official languages, and then I know that was kind of changing, and maybe you touch on it, but Catalan which I know from the mainland I’ve had friends and I’ve interviewed a few folks on the mainland, and I know there are some controversies; I don’t want to get too deep into it, but I understand Catalan is the language there Spanish and English. And so, how are you navigating through that? Sian, you’re new there, so which one are you learning? Is it?… are you learning Catalan? Are you learning Spanish?

Sian: I am trying to learn Spanish, Castellano. And I say try because oh boy, I think I’m too old to be learning languages. But I’ve now got to the stage where I’m gonna (going to) say whatever I’m gonna (going to) say and I think I made a mistake Glynis and is with one of the neighbors opposite Mums when it’s very hot here at the moment and instead of saying I’m feeling hot, I said to him whew! I’m really hot

(Laugh) and it was funny you can imagine. I realize I’ve got it all wrong, but you know what, I’m just gonna (going to) have a go; I’m just gonna (going to) say whatever. And I find that if I have the courtesies and I will use it especially with the older people you know what ‘bon dia’ instead of ‘buenos dias’. So, ‘bon dia como naama’, it’s , good morning, how are you? And they always they’d stop and in gauged in this long conversation and I’m like, “ Oh my God but, as I say just smile and nod. I do not know what I have agreed to; I’d I have said, ‘si, si, si, si.

Xavier: I was about to say that, Si, si, si, si, si and nod. Glynis are you….. you have been there quite a while.

Glynis: Along time, yeah

Xavier: You speak both Spanish and Catalan?

Glynis: Yep (yes) As my son would say badly, but it gets me places that otherwise would remain closed. And the thing is, I would call it  Mallorquin,  But yes, your right, it is part of the Catalan language and.

Xavier: Stop for a minute there because you touched on something there and I don’t want to get this wrong. It’s a Catalon, Catalan, sorry, that is spoken on Mallorca the same Catalan that is spoken in Spain, in Mainland Spain? 

Glynis: Right. Catalan is the official language of Catalonia and the variation is spoken in Mallorca which is called Mallorquin, and then in the other Balearic Islands, Menorca is Menorkeen and in Ibiza is Evesenco. They’re variations and then in Valencia is Valenciano but they all come from Catalan, so we will just… It’s like Spanish in Spain and Spanish in Latin America, there’ll be variations on the language. I was very blessed to have. I did my degree in Spanish with no idea that I would ever eventually live in Spain, I just did it because we went to Barcelona, and it was the most magical; that was when I was with a Ska Band called Maroon 10 and we are still going strong after 30 years, that’s our brother, who started it with another friend. And I used to pretend to sing in the band. But we went to Barcelona, and that’s how I discovered Spanish, and I wasn’t aware of the two languages. And there was this fan, Jordie, who used to write me the most amazing love letters, and it took me a long time to realize he was actually writing in his language, which was Catalan, And I could never understand what he was going on about. I just throw them in the bin. But, speaking, Menorkeen has really opened up doors to me that I would encourage anybody just learn the local language as well, because we are imposing our will on a people who comfortably get by daily, and then we show up and insist that they speak another language. Well, the local, they’re bilingual, but the stronger language is Menorkeen. Because if you live in a small town or village in Mallorca, that’s all you’re going speak, most of the time. You can’t even listen to the radio and watch TV and your own language; all of the official documents will be in your own language. If you venture out of your small town or village, you speak Spanish. So, who’s got to make the effort here? If I’m living in their small town, I’ll make the effort and it has helped me so much. I walk into a government office, which can be the worst nightmare because it’s there are not happy….

Xavier: Anywhere in the world (laugh)

Glynis: If they’re not happy, you’re gonna (going to) have to come back. But if you walk in and say, in Menorkeen, you greet them, and then you tell them why you’re there, I have never been asked how come I speak Menorkeen. I’ve had all of the stamps on the paper, and I can see in their face, there’s an appreciation, but they’ll never say anything. They’ll be like, hmmm, okay, that one’s passed. You don’t have to come back. So, it’s a beautiful language as well. But Menorkeen

Xavier: Yes, I’ve heard.

Glynis: Yeah, and it’s not a written language, Menorkeen. Catalan is a written language. 

Xavier: Okay. Okay, wow.

Sian: I think that’s such an important thing. I mean, we had a good grounding in that our father was Welsh. And he was schooled at a time when you do not speak Welsh in the school, you’ll be put in a corner with a dunce cap and things like that. He was a passionate Welshman. Very, very passionate. And you know, the funny story he did tell me once, when he went to Jamaica, he rocks up there in Clarendon in Spalding, Knox College, and he goes off wandering, and ends up somewhere, a tiny little place, and he meets the people he’s chatting away. He hasn’t a clue what is being said, because, of course, they’re talking, you know.

Xavier: Patios 

Sian: Patios, absolutely. So, he thought, I’m gonna (going to) try Welsh, and he was invited to dinner and it was this so he was speaking Welsh, they were speaking Patios, and just got along. That’s why he always said that he just loved Jamaica. He was a Welshman who was actually should have been born… He was a Welsh-Jamaican, he should have been born a Jamaican in Jamaica. But….

Xavier: Well, you did that for him (laugh). Interesting. In terms of, you just said, you know, speaking the language kind of getting the culture helps. I’m sure. Some of folks may think, again, you have the great accents. You say anything in the British accent or close to the British accent, we will… we… for me, I’m convinced you’re correct. It doesn’t matter what you say right, as long as it’s a British accent it’s correct. But I’m sure when you first got there and you got to know folks, you may have mentioned to a few of them, I am actually Jamaican. And when you do, what is the typical reaction of the folks there when you actually and I’m sure it’s typically a deeper conversation than, you know the hi, hello on the street. What’s the typical reaction? And I’m gonna (going to) start with you Glynis in terms of what’s a typical reaction. 

Glynis: I have to tell people this all the time because I get so riled up when people say, hi it is inglese. Oh, you’re English, and I really can’t bear that. I’m constantly telling this, in fact, just two days ago, I was still arguing with my friend of 20 odd years, who still calls me English, and it drives me crazy. One beautiful thing is, the fact that even the young kids, when you say Jamaica, they know where it is, and they know that Usain Bolt and Bob Marley, and Bob Marley has been dead all of their lives. It’s not like they grew up with Bob Marley like we did. Young kids, they know where Jamaica is. As soon as I say that, their eyes light up, and they’re like Bolt, Marley. It always adds a little bit of, you know, credentials to it.

Xavier: Aww, I see. 

Glynis: If I say Welsh, they’ve got no idea. Welsh. What is Welsh (laugh). Then I would have to say a footballer (laugh)

Xavier: What about you Sian? 

Sian: Well, you know what, I’ve had that all my life. Coming to England, you say? Well, I’m Jamaican. And I have never, I’ve never really considered myself anything but Jamaican. So, it really would get me; they’d say, you’re not. And I say I am Jamaican, and always pushing, pushing, because I want them to say, why do you not think I am Jamaican, but I had fabulous. That was when I was much younger. I remember I was in in England, in London, at the time had a lot of sort of racial tension, Powell, rivers of blood, etc. that happened then, but when I trained to be a teacher, and my first Teaching Practice, I remember going into school in Ladbroke Grove, and talking to the kids, and they were saying, so where are you from Miss, and it was a lot of Afro Caribbean, particularly boys in the class. And I said Jamaica, so they would…. Remember these kids are born and bred Londoners, they don’t know Jamaica. They were like sucking of the teeth and everything else, and saying, cho (darn) where you from? So, I thought, well, this is where I’m going to have to exert my Jamaicaness upon them and actually talking the lingo. I remember, once I did I kind of a really bad class and I lose stuff, and the next thing, I’m greeted in the playground by this mother, and she looked ferocious, she had a scar down her face, and she really was frightening. And she came up to me to say that, suh (so) yuh (you) tink (think) yuh (you’re) Jamaican nuh (don’t). Mi son com (my son come) home and tell mi (me) seh (that) im (he) ave (have) a Jamaican teacher, a wah (what) yuh (are you) a talk bout (talking about). And Oh my God, what do I do here? And so anyway, you smile, you laugh. And I told her where I was from and guess what, she was from Clarendon too. So, we’re the best buddies. And then she said to me, anybody trouble yuh (you) hear, yuh (you) come get me. I will sort them out. All I could see was this scar on the side of her face.

Xavier: You made a friend.

Mallorca City

Sian: I did. Absolutely. Do you know what? As Glynis says, you just have to say Jamaica. I think the best experience for me was when I went to teach in Saudi Arabia. And I was in the middle of the desert. I mean, the desert is huge. We’ve gone off, it was the weekend and the weekend then used to be Thursday, Friday. So, there were two cars, and we’ve gone into the desert as it was getting dusk to have a picnic, and we set up the picnic. And the next thing over Sand Dune comes this GMC, they call them Jim Seeds, big people carry you know, and I couldn’t see anybody driving it. And it was full of kids, and then I realized that there were women adults because they were wearing the abaya and the scarf. And anyway, I thought, why the whole desert and you decide to come here, but actually they slowed down, they all shouted Hello, hello, and then went off. The next thing, coming over the Dune was this whole long line of kids and the little boy, whom I realized had been driving the GMC with all these people in it; he’s asked me in sort of limited English could we come because he wanted us to join them, but just the women; remember this was just women, myself, my friend Heather and my son who was 11 at the time went over. And there we found this beautiful mat on the ground and there were four ladies, and they were saying, aah! Aah! Americani, Americani, and I say no, no, no, no Americani. Inglese! Inglese! and my friend Heather said yes, she was English and they work try their English and they looked at me and they said, Inglese! Inglese! And like Glynis, I don’t want to be known as English. I said no, and I thought this will fool them. I said, Jamaica. Jamaica! And the four women, pulled back from me and they said, Bob Marley. This was in 1996. Okay. And they said, and I looked at them, and then they made us sit down, and they got these drums, and these women started to beat the drums, and four women sat and sang “No woman, nuh cry”, and then they told me their story. And I tell you what, I thought, well, you know, Jamaica, we have touched everywhere.

Xavier: Wow!

Sian: These women were the wives of an elderly gentleman. They were from the Sudan. And he was dying, the boy was 11, so he now became the head of the family. And they knew the poignancy the meaning the spirituality, the love, and the hope of those words of Bob. 

Xavier: Wow! 

Sian: Was unbelievable. 

Xavier: An amazing story. Wow! Wow! The reach, wow! I’m blown away. I’m going to switch up a little bit, and we’re about to talk about food. 

Sian: Oh.

Xavier: What would be that one thing, that if I was to visit, or any of our viewers were to visit, Mallorca that you would say, Xavier, you have to try this? I know I’m limiting it to one, but if you want to go two that’s fine, but we can’t go more than two. 

Glynis: Oh my God.

Xavier: Glynis, so I want to start with you. What would that one thing be? 

Glynis: Well, Mallorcans are just so beautifully simple. You’d have to try Bamboli and Bamboli is just bread rubbed with the tomatoes, and then whatever you want on it, whether it’s the ham, or the cheese, or the tuna or the whatever. But it’s just the simplest meal of all time. You’d have to have Bamboli to know that you’re having a true Mallorcan experience with Sobrassada, the pigs blood. 

Xavier: The pigs, wait, wait, wait. Let’s go back, the pig’s blood? 

Glynis: In Mallorca, every December will be what they call the killings, and they’ll take the fatted pig and they’ll string it up and kill it and I remember this family used to look after my son, Noah, and Noah was five, six years old, and I went to pick him up not realizing that they were into the killings. And there is the big huge pig is hanging, and he was delighted to be helping cutting it up, because that would feed the family for the whole following year, because they use every bit of it. The Sobrassada is the meats all of it stuffed into the sausage and we had some recently which I must say was very, very nice with honey. 

Xavier: Ok. Alright. And Sian, what would you recommend? 

Sian: Well, a mean Rice nuh (don’t). I’m coming from Jamaica with our rice and peas. So, Paella definitely which has everything thrown into it. If you give me anything with rice, I’m happy. I mean, I would love if they kind of add a bit more pepper and kind of did a jerk chicken kind of thing. But no, I’ll have Paella definitely. Yeah (yes).

Xavier: Do you get your Jamaican fix of anything there? Or is it that you order on Amazon or order somewhere else and they ship over the canned Ackee or the canned Callaloo? And so

Sian: It was easy before Brexit, because anybody coming, you would just say, look, imagine Sainsbury’s and supermarkets in London, they have tinned Ackee, and of course, my brother lives near Brixton, but you would get Jamaican food. You’d be able to buy things. They would come, they would be bringing the yam, they would be bringing the canned Ackee (laugh).

Xavier: Oh wow! You love your yam. 

Sian: If somebody had come from Jamaica to London, and then coming on, you’d have guess what would the round thing in the aluminum foil would be? I don’t know how old that Breadfruit was, but it would make the journey, but definitely Ackee, oh my goodness, Ackee, but now we have Brexit you’re not allowed to kinda (kind of) bring food in, so I don’t know what’s gonna (going to) to happen.

Xavier: Oh man.

Glynis: And we have COVID so, we’ve got no visitors coming. What can we say? 

Xavier: Oh, wow.

 Glynis: We are hungry, feed us, feed us.

Xavier: Speaking of which, Glynis you know the island; I mean, you both know the island but Glynis you have been there you have a business that you run there and let me go off a little bit now you do weddings there which should be very interesting. And so, you know, the little crevice the corners, the beautiful spots and everything like that. What has that experience been like doing weddings and running a business there and so on?

Glynis: Well, don’t get me started on running a business in Spain. Today Actually, I’ve been doing my tax return because we get to do it four times a year plus the annual tax return. And we get to pay for the pleasure of waking up in the morning before we start our business. But apart from that, I’m a Celebrant which means that I create beautiful ceremonies for all of life’s wonderful moments including weddings, baby blessing naming’s and celebration of life. The wedding industry has been going from strength to strength because like Jamaica we are a destination wedding. We’re also close to Britain and close to anywhere in Europe. We really were growing strong, and then last year, I discovered that having a business that is sustainable, would probably be better. Because of course, I did three weddings last year instead of 50, because COVID brought us to our knees. 

Xavier: Oh man.

Glynis: But the good thing about the good thing about change is, of course, whereas the Spanish haven’t, known, because I’m in a profession that’s not recognized as a profession in Spain. So, I’m a pioneer of change, which can be quite lonely and frustrating, but I see the change. I’m moving towards that so the Spanish themselves are now going to be demanding more personalized ceremonies in these important moments in life. They’re still very religious, very Catholic here, but that is changing just like it changed in Britain, and just like it changed in Australia, where the Celebrants profession began in the 70s. I’m now looking at death, because we all die, so I have a guaranteed customer base in front of me.

Xavier: Hmm. So, and then Sian, you’re a teacher, you’re still teaching?

Sian: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, I had enough of that gave up. I am retired. 

Xavier: Okay, well, good. I hope to get there one day (laugh).

Sian: Yes. I have a book inside of me, actually, I think I’ve got 10 books inside of me, but I’m not started writing one yet (laugh).

Xavier: Glynis, I want to come back to because, doing weddings, and Sian, I’m not trying to sidestep you because you’re married, but I’m going down the single road. You have done the weddings here, and I believe you’re single there. 

Glynis: And indeed. 

Xavier: And I’m sure it must be interesting. I’ve heard folks that say, listen, dating in this particular country, it’s very different than dating in another country, because of the customs or… I remember one conversation where they said the chase is a little different, and depending on your nature, you either like it, or you don’t like it. And that’s just how Jamaicans are, we’re black and white, there’s no in between, we love it or we don’t love. Talk to us a little bit about the customs, of dating, and so on? 

Glynis: Well, sadly, I’m over the age of 50, would you believe, and… 

Xavier: I wouldn’t have known.

 (Laugh)

Glynis: I am divorced, and I get on really well with my ex. I would be interested in providing ceremonies for divorcing of people, but apart from that, everything’s online. I have had quite a few couples who have met online, and surprisingly, they’ve been young as well, which did surprise me because I thought I would have thought young people find it easier to meet. And so, I’m not really enamored of online dating in Mallorca only because I know a lot of people, and my name is… there’s not many Glynis German’s, so I’d have to use an alias and put a different photo up, and then be very rigid in sort of finding out who I’m going to answer to because I did try online dating once. It was plenty of fish, and what did they do? They hooked me up with my ex, it was single men you may be interested in and there his face comes up, but I’m not interested in him. So, that kind of put me off. I’m just holding out that my soulmate. Once I’ve changed the world, and done all the I need to do, which will be another 20 years maybe I’m holding out that my soul mate will wait for me. 

Xavier: All right. All right. 

Glynis: And in actual fact if my soul mate wants to live in another part of the world even better.

Xavier: I gonna (going to) ask, you’re retired Sian, Glynis, you have traveled the island, I guess. A couple questions here; how large it is in terms of going across the island, and then if there was one thing that you would say, Xavier, viewers watching, if you were to come to Mallorca, this is the one thing I’d want you to do. Or the one thing I’d want you to experience. Because sometimes it’s not about the viewing of a thing, it’s about maybe it’s a festival, maybe it’s a custom, maybe it’s a time of the year where …. The first question, one of you could answer for me. How quickly can I get around the island? I’ll start, I’ll have you do it Glynis, because you obviously probably have been around the island, how quick can you get around the island,

Glynis: I have to laugh, because somebody is flying in to see us on Saturday, and her daughter’s picking her up and bringing her to us. And then she’s going to make her daughter take her back for dinner, and then bring her back again. I’m like, woof, that’s 20 minutes in the car each way, because that, like for me now, that’s such a long distance. And it’s funny how we adapt because I used to when I lived in London, I commute up to London, which would take me half the day, and so 20 minutes, being in Mallorca now, we’re like woof! hang on a minute, we just got to plan this because going down south east of the island, that’s an hour, that’s a long way. So, we would never do the island in one day. 

Xavier: Wow! 

Glynis: No way

Xavier: Wow!

Glynis: It’s like, no man, we’re just gonna (going) do that area today. Tomorrow, we’re going to that area might be a little bit closer, but we’re not gonna (going to). We’re too Island based now. We don’t do the whole thing. But I reckon, walking, that’d be a great walk, because they’ve set up a route from the southwest, all the way to the northeast. And there’s refuges along the way, 

Mallorca Church

Xavier: Right

Glynis: And we are a world heritage in Mallorca, we have the Tramuntana Mountain Range, which extends all over the southwest to the northeast is absolutely magical. I would say to people come to Mallorca, adapt. Don’t bring us your nonsense, okay. Shops close at midday accept it, because what we’re going to be doing is we’re going to be eating. Okay? And then, just everything takes time, and, and if you’re going to come here and rush, which is when I see couples coming here to their destination wedding, I have to just be like, calm down now you’re on holiday. Because it will take people a few days, won’t it Sian that they’ll get a few days of adapting, then they’ll get into the rhythm, and then they’ll think why do we have to go? So, take the time. 

Xavier: So, I’m going to use Sian so, I’ll give Glynis some time to think about that one experience, that one place, one thing. You’ve had some time to think about it. And I don’t know if you have come up with anything?

Sian: Well, this is Spain. Spanish people love fiestas. They just adore them. I tell you what, they have a saint or a holiday for 366 plus days of every year. So, in my village, which is actually at the foot of the Tramuntana Mountains, we have a two- week Fiesta in, Oh God, when is it, Glynis? August. July, August, and we have these demonios. And we have these drummers. And we have these fireworks, I tell you, it is just great. And we have floats, and the children are everywhere. And it’s just it’s just brilliant. I mean, they do love a good party, you know, dancing in the square, music venues going on everywhere. Children having fun, adults having fun, and it’s just wonderful. I just love the fiestas.

Xavier: Alright, and Glynis What would you recommend in terms of the thing to see, do or to experience?

Glynis: Definitely those pesky demonios. Basically, being brought up in Britain, because I’m younger than Sian. So, we have this one day of the year in Britain, the fifth of November when we celebrate fireworks. Now, I grew up seeing pictures of scarred children who hadn’t used the fireworks properly. That was our propaganda to be careful. Well, there’s none of that here. If you come to Mallorca, okay, make sure you get in the thick of things, because the demonios will be throwing Cart wheels at your feet, and all sorts of bangers, and you’ve got to cover your hair, ware your old clothes and just run screaming through the streets, because it’s great fun. But I have to say, the best festival of all in Mallorca is in September in my town. We started with the floats, okay, because where I am is a wine producing region. if anybody listening, Mallorcan wine, José L. Ferrer, that’s a very famous well known world reputed wine here in Mallorca. We have a wine festival. When I came to this town, 20 years ago, it was a mere four days, it was expanded to three weeks, it’s exhausting, my liver can’t bare it you know, I don’t understand why they keep on inviting us to AA Meetings at the end of it.

The best parts of all, and this is what just fills my heart, is the last Friday. And the whole village is just crazy. The days before the, women have been cleaning, they’ve been sweeping in front of the houses, they’ve been washing the shutters and the windows and man, it’s looking good. We’ve been hanging our flags out. And then the last Friday, we spend the entire day cooking a stew, okay, which is called Filayous, and it’s noodles with mutton, and you have to spend the whole day cooking it because it’s mutton and it needs to be cooked for the whole day. And then in the evening, we set up our tables outside our homes, we decorate, and the whole of Mallorca comes to eat in our village, if they have an invitation. And my American friend, when she came for the first time, it looks different because of course, if everybody’s tables are outside in the street, then you obviously gonna (going to) have to park a long way away from the towns. She was wandering, and she got completely lost, and this old lady stopped her and said, “Where are you going? And my friend thought, “Yeah, right, you’re really gonna know who I’m looking for”. And she said, “Well, I’m looking for my friend”. “Yeah. What’s your friend called? And she’s like, “she’s called Glynis. She said, “Oh, yes, come with me”. Fifteen thousand visitors to our town, this lady took her to my house. And my friend when she got here, she was still in shock. Like, how did that happen? That is one of the best festivals in Mallorca, but like Sian says, 366 plus days.

Palma in January, has live music in all of the Platas; all over the city in January for their San Sebastian is the most amazing festival as well. That so much so much classical music, that as well, everything.

Xavier: In terms of music, are you hearing any Reggae there or is it just you know? I mean, I know you said it’s an island and I think a lot of islands now kind of take on this Reggae. Reggae kind of give that laid back feel. And I know it’s a popular tourist spot. In fact, I think I read somewhere where the airport in Mallorca has more visitors than airports in Spain.

Glynis: Yeah, yeah. Sadly. (laugh) 

Xavier: You’re hearing Reggae. Sorry. 

Sian: You talk about reggae. I mean, it’s Reggae, Ska, the Spanish particularly Glynis, in Barcelona and around there because as she was saying, my brother is in a band Maroon Town, and they played all over Catalonia and Glynis sang with them. But funnily enough, I just gone in to get a newspaper from the young man who runs the little Tibacca at the end of my road, and he was playing something and I said, wow! this is fantastic, and we got talking and of course, I said,” I was from Jamaica”. And he said, “Yeah”. But we did get talking about music and he used to play in a Reggae Ska Band and with a bit of kind of Spanish fusion to it. They’re all into I mean, reggae, is that Reggae is one unifying genre of music, which Everybody knows. So yes, we hear it everywhere. 

Glynis: There are some Reggae Bands on the island, but I just have to give a plug because my son is a musician, and he plays Gypsy Jazz Swing, 

Xavier: Ok, ok.

Glynis: You can hear any genre of music, we’ve got some African brothers who are living on the island to a bringing their music, which is always just a beautiful fusion of everything. And there’s a classical interest, you know, anything you want, you can hear it. 

Xavier: Good, good, good. 

Sian: And the thing is, a lot of these things are free. 

Glynis: Yeah. 

Sian: This is the most amazing thing is that, we don’t have to pay a lot to get some culture, it’s free. It’s what it should be the music of the people that people are gonna (going to) hear it and with our fiestas that they put on, they provide you with so much entertainment. I mean, you know, from classical, the everything, everything and free. 

Xavier: Wow, wow. In terms of…. Listen, you guys have provided such great information. I know, I typically, you know, try and keep it to about 40 minutes, but this has been really good. And the conversation has been really flowing. But you touched on something there that I wanted to touch a little bit on, and then I’ll get to like the final questions. All right. I got three more questions, I promise, I promise (laugh). 

How diverse is the island? You spoke about some African brothers that are there playing and so forth, and we have diversity with you guys in terms of country, Jamaica, but how much more diverse? Again, I’ve mentioned earlier, your kind of out there in the middle of the Mediterranean, and it might be a point where folks, on boats come out to or …. and, so how diverse is it in terms of countries, and in terms of cultures?

Glynis: Well, the European diversity is well represented. There is a large British population here, sadly, the British tend not to integrate so much. And the same goes for the Germans. That’s not entirely true, but that is certainly the experience. There’s a lot of Latin Americans who have come to Spain, and who have come to Mallorca rather than go anywhere else in Spain, because we are a tourist destination, so people would have come for work purposes. Diversity, yes, inclusivity, sadly, very, very lacking in the country on a whole, but I was on, I was on a walk with my friend a few months ago, and the local school up in the north of the island were coming back from the walk we were just about to start, and the two of us sat on the wall, waiting for them all to come past. And it was beautiful, just to see all of the shade of color in a small-town School, which 10 years ago, didn’t happen. And to see that now, it’s the next job is, how are we going to be more inclusive in this country that some people still think that being Spanish is being of one color? Well, like we say, in Jamaica, “Out of Many One People”, same thing here.

Xavier: Anything to add to that, Sian, I know again, you’re the new resident there.

Sian: Yes, it is true, but again yesterday because it’s summer schools, School’s out for the summer, and they have Summer Schools and I was sitting in having a coffee as one does every morning in the Plata, and a group were going up to the theater. And it was just wonderful seeing such a mixture, which you wouldn’t have so much seen here some years ago. But it was lovely and they were all chattering away and it’s wonderful. It really is but inclusivity respect and more Jamaicans for goodness sake (Laugh) Show them how to do it. 

Xavier: Well, you know what, When I heard about the island, I was like, this is intriguing. And I’m gonna (going to) have to try and make a stop there at some point in my life. 

Sian: Definitely

Xavier: I’m winding down as promised, I’m winding down. The first, first of my last two questions is this one. It’s a scenario. You land in Jamaica., and you get off the plane. What is that first thing you are doing? Whether it be I’m visiting here. Whether it be I’m eating this, whether it be I’m going to the beach. What would that first thing? And I see Glynis, you are, are bubbling and ready to go. What would that be?

Glynis: The patty and the grape drink man, I’ve got to have my Patty. That’s my first thing, I’m not even going to leave the airport. I want you to bring that to me. Because I’m going to eat that Patty and drink the grape juice. 

Xavier: All right. We know what to bring for you there to Mallorca. 

Glynis: Yes, definitely. 

Xavier: Sian?

Sian: Patty, most definitely a Patty, but I think I would get a .…. I don’t know. Do you still get down the steps you used to at the airport in Kingston? You could go into the things nowadays. 

Xavier: Yes.

Xavier: I would just breathe in that air, and I would just listen, as you drive from the…. Look how long ago I was there. When you drive from the airport in Kingston, you go along Rockfort and all of that way. And it’s the noise. I just want to hear the noise and I want to see the people dancing. I want to see those rasta carts. I want to have snow cone. I really want to, but those were my vibes. I don’t know how it’s changed. 

Xavier: All right. All right, well, listen, you still walk off. And you can still smell you know, breathe the air, and so on. Alright, so my last question is this one, and I’m sure if you have seen any other videos, you know what it is? And before I do that, though, do you guys have any words of advice? Any closing thoughts? Because the next question, is it.

Glynis: Any advice. If you come to Mallorca, okay, get yourself a Mallorca and best friend to learn the language. Don’t hang out with any of your people until you have mastered the language. 

Xavier: Alright. 

Glynis: And then once you’ve done that, you can have the best of both worlds because you’ll have the best of the Mallorcan World. And you can have all of your foreign friends because Mallorca has become such a hub. An international hub that you can meet people from everywhere and it’s a tiny island. Best Friend first to get the best of Mallorca, and then you can hang out with the international buddies later. 

Xavier: All right, anything from you Sian? 

Sian: I tend to agree with that but I’m still not very proficient in either of the two spoken languages here so I’ll just continue my Jamaican vibe and smile and say, “ a wah gwan” (what’s going on) and that’s that.

Mallorca Beach

Xavier: All right, that leads me to my last question which is, you guys are going to have to teach me how to say in Mallorcan, the most unofficial way to say goodbye?

Glynis: (Laugh) adéu.

Xavier: Adéu. And is it literally bye, bye or is it like catch you later or something like that? 

Glynis: It’s bye, well you could say if you wanted to say catch you later you could say, “fins ara”. Fins ara which is until later.

Xavier: Fins ara 

Glynis: Fins ara. Yes.

Xavier: All right, well, ladies…

Sian: Adios, hasta mañana! Or has whenever (laugh)

Xavier: Well ladies, I appreciate you spending the time. Folks if you are in Spain, you got to go out there and check out the Mallorca Islands and listen, I’m putting it on my list. So, it is “fin yaka”

Glynis: “Fins ara”. “Fins ara adayo”. “Fins ara” 

Xavier: “Fins ara” ladies. 

Sian: “Fins ara”. Thank you

Photos  – Deposit Photos

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Kayley Ulett