Some terms and general information about Club Med life.
Gentile/Gracious Organizer: The young staff that lead most of the activities at the club. They are the Sailing staff, the tennis pro, the food chefs, the entertainment crew, the SCUBA team, etc. They are generally organized into teams, such as the sailing team, the SCUBA team, the Land Sports team, the entertainment team, etc. GOs are certainly not in it for the money, and they are on duty about around the clock. GOs sign on for six months at a time and they are usually moved to a different village every six months (generally early October and early April). The better the job they do (the happier they keep the GMs (see below), the more likely they are to get their desired next location.
Gentile/Gracious Member: All visitors to Club Med are club members. So you will be a GM....
Some implications of GOs and GMs
Unlike most resorts, Club meds do not have 'staff' and 'guests', they have GOs and GMs, and there is a difference. There is a much more cooperative and "everyone is together" feeling. GOs eat at the same tables with GMs and they frequently can be very entertaining and interesting. We generally get to know a couple of GOs pretty well and they really are friends.
Although the GOs will do everything for you if you wish, the environment just seems to encourage doing things together. After sailing, we make it a point help haul the boats up the beach; we carry our windsurfer sails to the loft, etc. You don't have to, but it just seems natural.
chef de village
The head guy, the boss... he runs the place. You will find different styles of Chef's... Some play key roles in the entertainment, some mingle a lot with the GMs, some you almost never see... CVs stay at a village for 1 to 2 years (and there is a minor ceremony when the chefs change).
chef of Animations
Normally 2nd in charge and the main person leading the entertainment (if the CV does not). Some CAs go around doing silly stunts and pulling jokes on other GOs and GMs. In this case, they are frequently (affectionally) referred as the "Village Idiot".
Most clubs have large tables for 6 to 10 in the main restaurant, with some smaller tables in the annex restaurants. This group seating is a tradition at CM and is one of our favorite parts of the experience. It's a little intimidating at first, but once you get used to it, it's really fun. You get to meet lots of interesting people from around the world. Some of our best times at Club Med have been while sitting around the table after dinner, having "just one glass of wine" and talking to the other GMs and GOs at the table.
Think of this as 'silly' line dancing... think of 'YMCA', Macarena, and the like. CM has choreographed a number of songs (mostly latin beats) with simple movements and the GMs are invited (encouraged) to join in the dancing with the GOs.
Every evening, about 9:30 or so, the GOs put on some form of entertainment. The quality varies from "marginal high school talent show" to "almost Las Vegas". It's amazing how different (in quality and entertainment value) the same basic show/script can be, based on the effort and talent that is put into it.
Well, they changed into Bar coupons... Rather than paying cash at the bars, you bought books of Bar Coupons at reception and used the coupons to purchase drinks. Beer and wine has always been included at lunch and dinner, but all other drinks were paid for. Now, many of the clubs, especially in the American Sector, are what Club Med refers to as "Totally All Inclusive" and all drinks are now included. The good part is the hassle of the beads or coupons are gone. The bad part is that the drinks tend to be rather weak and the price has gone up some to pay for the "free drinks". This aspect of the club also attracts a different type of GO... more interested in the "free" drinks and less interested in the sports oriented activities.
For the competitors amoung the GMs, there are a number of competitive events throughout the week. Some are rather silly "pool games", some are "participation" awards (for the people that go snorkeling every day, for example) and some are truly competitive (sailing regatta, tennis tournament, windsurfing race, volley ball, etc.). On Friday evening an awards ceremony is held, handing out medals on ribbons to the winners.