The journal of Paul M. Watson.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

On being fake

Greek view Carine and I popped over to Greece yesterday and stayed the night.

Hah, I wish. This is Club Mykonos, a resort up the West Coast of South Africa styled, as the name suggests, after Mykonos in Greece.

Carine is studying there for a week and I drove her up. Now Club Myk is pretty famous amongst South Africans as not only is it Greek styled but it is also a dastardly casino. People seem to love casinos, god knows why.

I had never visited it before mainly due to a part of me being a bit of a snob about things like this. "Themed" resorts don't exactly tickle my fancy. They bring to mind cheap plywood walls painted to look like the Seychelles/Tuscany/Hawaii/Greece with the ruder, more real grime beneath it. Fakely smiling stewards in themed costumes who flop into their fraying chairs at night in front of the telly and beat their wives for lack of a more fulfilled life. Paper umbrellas that turn to mush and fall into your Hawaiian drink.

You know, fake. Just plain old fake with no redeeming value. Themed resorts, how awful.

Well, Club Mykonos had me pining for the Santorini, the Naxos and the Paros that I visited a few years ago faster than you can say souvlaki! It is really quite decent. Lost amongst the narrow, white-washed walls of the resort I still knew it was fake but it was good enough that it felt good. When I walked out and saw Langebanne in the distance I didn't feel cheated. I felt it was a nice place to spend a few days and that while it had a passing resemblance to Greece it didn't go overboard and demand that you believe in it.

Maybe that is the key? Be themed but don't treat your customers like children. Realise they know it isn't the real thing and provide a solid under-structure to balance. Play with a bit of the magic that you are copying but don't pretend you managed to steal its soul.

So I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't go into the casino and the place was quite deserted (middle of the week and winter is still in its death throes) which helped but even full the whole resort probably has a good feel to it.

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