Last year I did something crazy, after possibility the most traumatic year of
my life I decided to go to Aiya Napa with Club 18-30 all by myself and have a
blow out. Though it may not seem the most socially intelligent thing to
do, especially for a guy in his late 20’s, the experiment was a bit of a success,
I had a great time, drank, pulled, shagged and made some great friends, some
of which I am still in contact today.
Unfortunately it left me with a wetted appetite, and left the gold crown of
clubbing destinations Ibiza still inexperienced. I have always had a thing for
Ibiza, most likely it was those summer adverts for Ibiza dance compilations that
would be on late night TV, with hot slinky women dancing away to trance in the sea
Subsequently I had been trying to prime various friends about going this summer, for
many of us this would be our last summer before many we hit 30 next year. As so
many have settled down only one agreed, and when he flaked, I decided, ‘shoot,’
I have done it once alone I can do it again. Actually just days before two
very different friends said they had wanted to go – idiots!
So I find myself in Gatwick departure lounge sipping Rescue Remedy waiting for Easy
Jet (I seem to have experienced a sudden and inexplicable fear of flying.) On board,
I sit next to a middle-aged woman with bright red hair. She is a nervous flyer to an
extent that in take-off she almost pulls her seat apart. When calm she explains how
she loves the liberalness of Ibiza, and that her dad and step-dad settled down there
twenty-years ago. She has to reiterate the dad/step-dad thing to me several times
before I understand what she is saying – I never was the sharpest pencil in the
case! The woman starts to flirt with me outrageously, to the point that I can see
her daughter getting annoyed and I find an excuse to sit in a spare seat at the back
of the plane.
The landing can’t come soon enough, and refusing to pay for a taxi to San Antonio, I
wait the eternal wait for the hourly bus. Though it’s a bit of a sardine experience
it gets me there simply and cheaply enough.
One thing that you notice almost immediately about Ibiza it is a vein island, full
of narcissism and vanity, good looking people have groomed themselves to look their
so called ‘best’ here, be it naturally and often unnaturally.
Eventually finding the Hostel Torres about midnight, its clean, tidy and not full of
people who shout at the sight of a can of Strongbow. Its two minutes away from the
West-End yet down a quiet street, so essentially a bit of a score. I go of into the
night looking for dinner and stray directly into the sweltering madness of the
West-end. Here along its narrow lanes, the glow of neon meets the smell of sugary
alcohol, dozens of tiny shoe-box-shaped bars serve hundreds of young excitable
drinkers. I ask a PR of one of the quieter bars where I can get something decent to
eat, like many she’s from Glasgow. Disturbed by the fact that I’m alone, she wishes
me good luck and cautions me not to get drunk!
Unpacking in my room by chance I find a message written on the back of one of the
drawers reading, ‘Becky Blowjob from the Cyan Valley from South Wales partied like
fuck in July 2003.’ Thinking about it Becky Blowjob is probably married with
kids now, and daunting for me I was in my second year of Uni that year. It
ponders in my mind that perhaps 2003 should have been the year of my first visit
to Ibiza, the right and correct age to experience the island and if lucky some
of Becky’s oral skills.
My last work project has left me shattered and though floating around in the modest
hotel swimming pool feels like luxury, I’m beginning to worry that I’m feeling
insular and unsociable. Having your lips glued together while on holiday solo isn’t
I get some dinner, then go down to the sunset strip. The sunset is somehow
truly special despite the fact there is a sunset somewhere in the world every
minute of every day. But here the crowd’s applause feels entirely justified and
gets me in the mood for the coming of Swedish House Mafia in Café Mambo.
Inside Café Mambo it’s a lot easier to just talk, and I eventually settle talking
to four girls on the porch where everyone is crowding. They find me
interesting enough for me to hang with them for a bit, and the music is momentous
and works perfectly with the falling light and carnival atmosphere. In all honestly,
I’m not entirely sure what Swedish House Mafia do exactly, but they do it well and
get everyone jumping to it.
Afterwards we all head to Ibiza Rocks Bar at the other end of the San Antonio strip.
It’s a great venue, however Monday night is, wait for it…. bingo night, and its
done in an apathetic ‘T4’ way, complete with an Amy Winhouse lookalike number
caller. Feeling the night culturally doing a downward slide we move onto the
ever-reliable Liniker’s. The Ibiza version seems to lack some of the tacky fun
spirit of its other branches. Now slightly drunk I start to worry that I’m going to
start flirting with these girls and as they are the only people I’ve spoken to,
I make my excuses, swap numbers and leave with the intention of an ‘early’ night.
On the way I stop by a tiny and quiet English pub down one of the West-End
side streets for a quick beer, I befriend the bar’s PR Rebecca (who is
ironically Scottish) and chat to her for a bit. Some girls from Leeds sitting nearby
overhear and become interested in me. Suddenly I find myself in the underground club
of 70s/80s/90s bar with these two girls. The club is possibly one of the crappiest
looking places I have ever seen. One of the girls leaves, and I’m left alone with
the other, Grace, a pretty pixie like girl with strawberry hair and a slinky body.
She keeps buying me shots of slush-puppy-vodka and suddenly we’re full on snogging.
After ten minutes or so I hear that daunting ‘I’m just popping to the toilet’ and
unsurprisingly she doesn’t come back and I stand there like a lemon.
I check out the main San Antonio beach, its horrible, covered in fag ends and
has murky water.
Evening arrives, I take my old SLR camera out with me and try and get some
arty-shots of the West End, becoming board I end up playing pool with random people.
All night only one PR tries to entice me into his bar. I’m so honored by this one
I go in immediately and find myself drinking in a Welsh bar, I start chatting
to some girls from a Glasgow hen party. They’re fun loving and seem to take a shine
to me. I decide to move on, and go in Hush, but its almost 80% guys (not to
dissimilar to the typical London club) so decide to call it a night. A PR I’m going
to call ‘Bob’ tries to tempt me into a strip club, unknown to me then this is
somebody I’m going to soon learn a great deal about.
On the way home a pretty girl called Hannah asks for a drink from my water
bottle, she’s just had her camera and purse stolen. I do what any gentleman would
do for a lady in distress and flirt unashamedly with her. With the help of
her friends, she tries to smuggle me into her hotel room, however the
hotel receptionist catches us all on CCTV and says I have to leave. Dam!
Cock-blocked by a receptionist, does he not know this is Ibiza?! Bravely in front of
her friends she decides to be “naughty” and go back with me to my hotel. We
walk down the road kissing and writing messages on dirty cars. About ten feet
from my hotel she suddenly decides that she must not be “naughty” and I then
walk her back. So I walk back again, to my hotel alone, with a boner.
I find a smaller beach in a bay at the very top end of the sunset strip. Its
only two-hundred-feet long and stony but the water is clear and warm. On the beach
I start thinking about if I like San Antonio, the sunset strip is great, but
the Westend is cheap and uninspiring. The bars seem to lack the scale and fun
of other resorts, particularly Ayia Napa. Many of the bars here have quite
lame themes, one bar is called ‘The Godfather Bar’ yet has nothing to link it
with the movie apart from Marlon Brando’s face posted on the menus. Plus, and
I assume its for noise pollution all the bars with music inside have closed doors,
even Linikers has a shopping mall style double doors – making the inside a very
different environment from the outside. It’s a very small difference but somehow
significant, to me anyhow.
Walking back from the beach I drop by to see Hannah is okay after being robbed
last night, unfortunately her ‘anti-slut-defense’ is turned up and she won’t
even look me in the eye. Her friend is keen on me though.
After buying a ticket to Ibiza Rocks, I go for some dinner nearby. I meet three
guys from Swindon staying at Ibiza Rocks. Going inside while Azari & III are playing
I bump into the Glasgow hen Party. Its nice to see some familiar faces, so hang with
them for a bit. The atmosphere of Ibiza Rocks is amazing, the sun goes down while
the vibe comes up. The warm up DJ is great in his own right, I have a lot of respect
for a DJ who leaves the stage with his perspiration towel dripping wet! The
headliner ‘Too Many DJs’ perform well and the crowd loves it, it’s a great night.
The hen-party invite me to some drinks at Highlander bar in the West-End before we
go to the after party at Es Paradis. They keep ordering me shooters like B52s and I
end up leaving them there as I go onto Es Paradis, by now I’m pretty trashed.
Es Paradis is quite a unique club, its enormous and must be amazing for its regular
‘Fiesta del Aqua’ (water party) twice
Bumping into the Swindon boys, for some strange reason one of them asks me to
introduce him to some hot girl a few feet away. Confident as ten B52s I go over
there to introduce him, but she immediately says she’s not interested but points to
one of her friends as being recently single. I see her and suddenly I want to
marry this girl, half Swedish and half English, a real blonde beauty. I hold off
my proposal for a moment and we chat and soon kiss.
The Swindon boys ask me to open up another group of girls for them, then another and
another. It turns into a game of how many openings I can do, becoming increasingly
ridiculous. One of them points to a super hot dancer type wearing nothing but a
skimpy bikini and a handbag. I go over to her and open with “I’d just like to say I
think your handbag really suits your look.” We look at each other and both laugh at
the absurdity of my opener!
Returning to my Swedish friend for a top-up of affection, I see one of her friends
is chatting up one of the Swindon boys. Suddenly this girl is kicked out for not
wearing any shoes, so I give the poor lad a motivational speech that he shouldn’t
let a beautiful girl get away and that he should chase after her into the night…
Behold a minute later she sneaks back in, while he’s ran of into the night
alone. There is a lesson: never give advice! Anyway I get my just deserts as
my Swedish friend becomes bored with me and I walk home alone again.
I decide to get a bus to check out Ibiza town. The town is naturally beautiful
though it has its own camp garishness creeping out in places. I clime the
mound overlooking the city and harbor, takes a good hour to walk up through its
winding lanes that are filled with hippies and posh tourists. The views are well
worth it and are genuinely breathtaking and I reach the top just before sun drops
behind the Ibiza mountains.
As night sets in I walk round the small winding streets of the old town, which
are like a posh equivalent of the West End. The bars are very swish and filled
with some of Europe’s most attractive and glamorous citizens.
Feeling a bit average I decided to return to my ilk and board a bus to San
Antonio. Walking through the West End I bump into the Swindon boys. They get me a
drink, tease me about my unfortunate advice from the night before and we end up
doing a crawl through the usual places, Ibiza Rocks, Liniker’s and ending up
at Ground Zero. There I meet another Scandinavian girl who barely speaks
English, but after a game of thumb-wars we end up snogging. When having a breather
I turn to the Swindon boys for a few seconds and somehow she vanishes in that time.
Being my fourth pull of the week and without a lay yet, its really getting annoying…
We end up in Hush which is awful as usual. In there I recognize the manager who was
on a reality tv show called Ibiza Uncovered. The summer it was on I had surgery on
my collarbone and was laid up at home frustrated. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons
why I always wanted to come to Ibiza, and I told him about it but unsurprisingly he
wasn’t very interested.
All heading off to bed, I stop by the Welsh bar and end up chatting to all
the west-end staff. The barmaid takes a bit of interest in me, but even after a
few shots it doesn’t go anywhere. So I hit the sack.
Last night I’d arranged to meet the Swindon boys at Mambo for a few hours
before their late flight. However I never find them, and instead find the Glasgow
hen party. The previous night they saw David Guetta at Pacha, paying for VIP,
with one of them vomiting everywhere and getting them kicked out. This is their
last night, and they were going to Es Paradis for the water party. Genuinely sad
to be saying goodbye, I go for a few drinks with them. After saying goodbye I run
for a prearranged bus to Pacha.
The bus rammed as always but this time with young and old clubbers alike,
ages ranging from seventeen to fourty-seven. Pacha is an awesome venue,
spectacularly lit, but absurdly pretentious. The funniest thing has to be the
dancers they have; beautiful, fit, silicon-enhanced women wearing ridiculous
costumes and a glum face that stinks of superiority. One was dancing in a giant
plastic champagne glass on a balcony, a little too close to the edge for health and
safety purposes. The music that night was minimal electronica, so abstract
and formless that I didn’t stay for long, leaving even before Pete Tong (who
was headlined). On the bus back I chat to some Indian girls I met from the bus going
there, they tell me they were leaving because their friend was ‘shit faced’ said in
a thick Deli accent.
In bed by 5am and drifting off to sleep I hear an argument going on down
the corridor, I try to ignore it but suddenly hear the splintering sound of smashing
glass and a girl’s scream. I run to the door and opening it see a 19-year-old girl
running up and down with blood spurting out her arm.
I’m not exaggerating here when I say it was of ‘Kill Bill’ proportions, the
white walls and floor quickly became splashed with red. Running back into my room
to put on some shorts I grab a towel. I chase the girl down the stairs as
she’s leaving a trail of blood everywhere. Drunk and irrational and now scared
for her life she won’t hold still for me to wrap the towel round her arm. I call for
help to a Northern Irish lad who’s staying in the room next to mine but he
chooses to walk away. I call for the receptionist to call an ambulance, but he
appears more interested in mopping up the blood. The girl becomes floppy,
half conscious and she’s so covered in her own blood that its difficult to hold
her, like a wet fish. A crowd gathers, with many conflicting views on first aid
but one manages to tie a t-shirt round her arm. Still being difficult to hold
her still we sit her down on a coffee table while I support her. To add to all
this she’s not wearing any knickers and as she keeps slipping down, her
skirt repeatedly is pulled up over her fanny. Her friend calls the girl’s
brother who’s working locally as a PR, he quickly turns up and behold is ‘Bob’ from
one of the West-End strip clubs. There he has to witness what a brother
never should, his little sister plastered, basted in her own blood with her
fanny patch exposed in front of a crowd. Understandably he hits the roof, but
we manage to calm him and he concentrates his attention on keeping her
conscious. To assist with keeping her awake they repeatedly throw ice cold water
over her, most of which goes over me, but I’m covered in blood anyway so am past
45 minutes later a private doctor turns up with a suit-case full of goodies. He asks
Bob, another guest and myself to carry her up to her room so he can do the stitches
on her arm. As the lift door opens, Bob witnesses for the first time the corridor of
blood, and begins to freak-out again.
In the room the doctor gives the girl a saline drip, which sobers her up, and
she hurtles into fear and embarrassment. Another one of my Northern Irish
neighbours runs into the room and aggressively insists we should be getting her to
a hospital, but with suddenly-found courage and tact Bob manages to persuade him out
of the room. We start to clean her up and get her ready. Luckily an ambulance
arrives to take her away before the doctor proceeds with the stitches – I really
wasn’t up for helping with that.
When leaving the doctor and the hotel manager pat me on the back and thanks me
for be being the only calm adult in the situation, I can’t help feel the irony
I come to Ibiza for some youthful fun before I hit 30 and I’m championed as
the responsible adult.
Returning to my room through the corridor of blood, one of the Northern Irish lads
is crouched on his hind legs staring at the blood like he’s someone out of
Apocalypse Now. Freakishly he completely ignores my presence, but he’s soon bashing
on my wall irritated by the noise of running the shower and taps as I’m trying to
get the blood off me and out my CK briefs.
After my neighbors freaking me out all night, plus the cleaners practically
doing back-flips when seeing the corridor, tiredness is getting the better of me.
I chat to some girls at breakfast and arrange to share a cab with them to
Zoo Project. Unable to get tickets they don’t show so share a cab with two guys from
Ibiza Rocks. I’m so exhausted now that I can barely be bothered to keep talking to
all these people. Curiously I seem to have got myself to such a calm state where I’m
not even starting conversations anymore, people are literally just coming up and
talking to me. Its just now I’m too tired to hold a conversation.
The fatigue only gets worse inside Zoo. I no longer feel part of the fun,
but observe it. People jumping up and down to electronic tunes covered in
body paint, amongst the old animal enclosures as the sun goes down: it’s a sight
to behold. Sneaking off for a power-nap in a quite spot, I get pulled aside by
a masseuse, who’s determined to fix me with a back massage. During the most amazing
massage of my life she tells me how she’s been coming to Ibiza now for 11 years and
its her spiritual home. This sort of shames me a little for thinking of Ibiza as
just a shallow pleasure island, people clearly get a lot out of this place.
After Zoo, I decide to say my final goodbyes to the west-end. Walking around
that night is the first time I feel a little alone, with all the people I’ve
met moved on, and so tired I can barely hold a conversation.
I say goodbye to Rebecca at the English pub and then bump into Bob. He tells me how
he’s put his sister up in his flat with a pile of DVDs and painkillers. She’s had an
expensive night, with the hotel bill which they were thrown out off, the private
doctor who charged €120 for his time, plus a dozen or so stitches. I’ve learned
enough about this girl to know she has a bit of a temper problem, taking out her
frustrations physically on her mother, brother and windows. Hopefully her recent
experience will inspire her to find a better way to deal with it. Saying goodbye I
can’t help feeling a lot of respect for Bob, he’s obviously got things to deal with,
but he’s out here having the time of his life, doing something I sort of wished I’d
Then it dawns on me, as this holiday is drawing to a close, I may have come
here alone, I have barely been alone. If I was a writer my head would be
swimming with inspiration and ideas now, inspired by the many sights and
unique characters I’ve met. Some of my more cynical friends back home turn
their noises up at the idea of Ibiza, they just see the stereotype, yet I in
reality I don’t think I have met a stereotype out here.
My last day, I decide to get the ferry to Formentera an island people keep
telling me wonderful things about. The ferry seems to take forever, but gives me
a chance to see Ibiza from a distance. When we arrive I rent a bike and cycle across
some salt lakes and over some sand dunes, eventually finding some of the whitest
beaches I’ve ever seen. The water is crystal clear yet ridiculously blue. I went to
take some photographs of it, but didn’t bother, it would never look as special in a
picture as it was for me then and there, it was special place to find on my last
Back in San Antonio after dinner I go to watch the sunset for the last time, it
goes down on cue and the party, for others at least, begins.
Curiously enough my fear of flying on the return flight seems to have vanished, and
on the flight I chat to a pretty girl from Sussex while her friends sleep. I should
have got her number, I don’t know why I didn’t. She tells me that she’s looking
forward to eating vegetables again; I don’t believe that was an innuendo.
So there we have it another ridiculously long review. One of the Swindon boys asked
me if I would go to Ibiza again, and I said that now I’ve done it I’ve kinda done
it, I’m not burning to go like I was. However I also said I’m sure if a mate or two
mentioned it, I would be very easily persuaded to go again.
I of course didn’t get to go to Bora Bora beach, DC10, Amnesia or Space which
I really wanted to go to, and that’s a shame. Maybe a mate’s stag do will come
up and I can steer them to give Ibiza a go, or even Napa, there’s a side to me that
really wants to go back to Napa but not alone – I admit my life is changing gear now
and I think its unlikely I’ll go on another clubbing holiday alone, its time to try