12: Raving Mad in Ibiza
My birthday was approaching and of course this meant a party, but what to do when so far away from home without my usual party posse – why find the world’s largest party to go to! That’s how Mara, Julie and I ended up in Ibiza.
Ibiza (correctly “Eivissa” in Spanish) is one of a group of islands known as the Baelerics, about a 9-hour ferry from Barcelona or 45 minutes by air. Ibiza has long been a fave European getaway known for its beautiful beaches and nonstop party atmosphere. When house and trance music became popular, the island’s club owners were successful in convincing Europe’s best DJ’s and promoters to spend their summers spinning in Ibiza. Now Ibiza is considered a mecca for house and trance lovers. Prior to each season the summer lineup is published and posted on their island’s website so clubbers can make their travel plans.
Package tours abound, mostly out of England and Germany, that include hotel, airfare, and some club discounts. The other option is to rent a condo or house. Whatever you do, don’t show up in high season without a reservation… as we learned the hard way.
We booked our air to Ibiza and then forgot about booking a hotel until the day before we left. Thirty phone calls later we had a room for Sunday, but not Saturday when we arrived. We figured we’d wing it as we had been all along and would find something when we arrived.
We arrived at the Ibiza airport and immediately realized our error. The airport looked like an ant hill, teeming with bodies moving about frenetically trying to find luggage and get taxis. You couldn’t move two feet without running into someone. “Oh shit” was pretty much my prevailing thought as I looked at the thousands of bodies around me.
Luckily for us, an airport reservation service found us an oceanfront room for three in Play d’en Bossa, a very cool beach area near Ibiza town. The only problem was the $145 price tag – about 10,000 pesetas each – way way more than the 300-3500 pts. we were used to paying. But hey, it was my b-day, and everyone was a good sport about this splurge. The room boasted an incredible view of the ocean and even brought the ocean indoors with salt water showers – and taps (toothpaste and salt water don’t go together, by the way). But no matter, we hit the pool, then got clubbed up and went in search of the best party.
Radio 1, Britain’s major dance station, was broadcasting from Ibiza that weekend and Privilege, the world’s largest club, was their venue for Saturday – so Privilege it was. We scored some discount tickets, but the bigger score was the cool New Yorkers we met at the cash machine. I was talking with them about fake tickets (sometimes a problem), when Ted and Sam invited us to join them at their table at Privilege.
Their “table,” which came at a price tag of 200,000 pts (about $1,200 US) had an incredible view of the entire dance club – which was about the size of an airplane hanger. Privilege estimates a capacity of 800-15,000, but from my vantage point it seemed the whole damned island was getting on a groove below us. We “rocked” and “rolled” until 8 am, our new friends paying for our drinks the entire night!
Leaving the club in total daylight was just plain strange. I’ve come home in twilight before, but full sun in heels and a black catsuit felt like the walk of shame. And walk we did, as apparently there is only one taxi for every 10,000 people! Rather than wait in the taxi line from hell, we did better hitting the roadway with thumbs out or, as one successful technique Sal used, falling to his knees with his hands clasped in prayer.
For double the taxi fare, someone will eventually stop and give you the 10-minute ride (though luckily I got 3 rides without having to pay – must be my cuteness). Most of our crowd then moved on to the 24-hour “after party” at Space, a club in Playa d’en Bossa that opens at 8 am everyday. I crashed at the NYer’s place for a few hours before moving to our next hotel in Ibiza town. Ibiza Town is where the ferries dock and the freaks come out. Tons of sidewalk cafes line the streets and offer overpriced bad food. But it’s a good vantage point to watch the club “parades” (essentially performance art ads for the various clubs) and see some of the strangest couples and most extreme outfits I’ve ever seen. My favorite outfit of the night was the chica in the black patent-leather hip-high spiked boots, and S&M leather bra and a strip of leather as a skirt… a strip that didn’t even try to cover her ass and revealed her lack of undies to anyone that glanced her way.
But Ibiza Town was not the end of the rave… more in the next story…