My Life In Travel: David Haye, WBA World Heavyweight Champion
'I love watching the posers on South Beach in Miami'
Saturday 24 April 2010
First holiday memory?
I went to Bognor Regis when I was eight. It was sunny, there was a beach – pebbles, no sand – and, being an eight-year-old, I thought it was about as good as you're going to get.
I like South Beach, Miami. I've been out there five or six times. I like the weather and they've got great gyms over there. The food is amazing; I wouldn't advise going out there on holiday if you're on a diet.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
I don't go on holiday in England anymore. It's the weather factor. I've been to a few health spas for weekend breaks, but that's not really a holiday, is it? I normally try to flee the country for somewhere warm.
What have you learnt from your travels?
If you find somewhere where you had a great holiday, don't try to improve on it. I went to Barbados and had an amazing holiday. And then for some reason I thought: OK, that was great, we've done Barbados, let's try the Dominican Republic. For the whole holiday, all I thought was: why aren't we in Barbados? Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong, and the whole time I just wanted to go back to Barbados. If it's not broken, don't fix it. The grass isn't always greener.
Ideal travelling companion?
My wife, because she doesn't bug me. We get on well.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
Because my whole life is fuelled by adrenalin and everything is so intense with my daily regime, when I go on holiday I like to completely unwind. I like to wake up when I wake up; I like to go to the beach and relax.
Greatest travel luxury?
My laptop and my iPod. I need to be in contact with the world. If I'm going away and I don't know what's happening then I can't relax. If the bailiffs are knocking at my door I need to know what's going on!
I normally go on holiday after I've just fought. I don't really read too much of my own press, but when I'm on holiday I may have an afternoon where it might be raining or something, and I'll pop into an internet café and just have a little read about what people thought. I'll go on to some boxing forums and see what the fans think, and who they want me to fight next.
Where has seduced you?
I've spent a lot of time in Northern Cyprus. It's unspoilt, the people are amazing and it's very clean. It's just a really nice place, and not too far from England as well. I've got a place there and I also built a gym there.
Better to travel or arrive?
I don't mind the travelling, as long as I've got a nice seat. I'm not big on packing, though. I always leave it to the last minute, and end up buying stuff when I get out there, so I've got about 50 different pairs of holiday flip-flops and shorts.
Worst travel experience?
When I was coming back from Barbados recently we were flying in to Gatwick, and they said they couldn't land because of bad snow, so we were being diverted to Glasgow. But as we were flying to Glasgow they said we couldn't land there, so we had to go to Amsterdam. We finally landed in Amsterdam and everyone had to get off the plane. We spent about six or seven hours just sitting in the plane at one stage, and not moving. It was an absolute nightmare.
I box for England so I've been all over the world. There are some dodgy hotels in Eastern Europe. I think the worst one was probably Poland; the food was absolutely terrible. I was just not a fan.
The Mina A'Salam in Dubai. The service there was amazing. They had someone standing outside my room waiting for whatever I wanted. I remember phoning and asking to get a shirt pressed for the evening, and there was a knock at the door maybe 15 seconds later. I gave him the shirt and he came back within four minutes, the shirt pressed to perfection. I got another phone call asking: "Is your shirt OK? If you want us to press it again, let us know. We'll do it now."
I always find it funny driving down Ocean Drive in South Beach, just seeing different characters posing.
Best meal abroad?
I love eating out; anywhere with a lovely view. I love eating good, local food as well. There's a nice place in Barbados I found called The Cliff. That was the best meal I've ever had, I think. I had one course from everything on the menu and it had an accompanying wine with it as well: I was smashed by the end of it.
First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
Take a dump. My ritual is that I walk through the door, go directly to the toilet and unload. I don't know what it is; it's something about a new hotel.
I'd like to go to Thailand, I've just never had the time. Everybody who's been has said it's a beautiful place and I've never been to that part of the world.
London. It's where I was born and bred and I know it inside and out. When I'm here I stay at the Park Plaza Riverbank because I love the service and it's got the best views of London, looking over the river, the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament. Whenever I've got pals who come over from abroad they always say that London's the best place – although, when you're rolling with the heavyweight champion it might seem a bit different!
I'm going to Las Vegas: Floyd Mayweather is fighting Shane Mosley; two of the best boxers on the planet going at it, so I'll be there.
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