a new Ibiza blog feature – Beefa Papa – Tales of an island dad

April 23rd, 2008 - 3:40 pm Posted in ibiza, Tales of an island dad | Comments (0)

We’ve been sent this through a friend and we liked it so we’re going to share it with you dear readers… This will hopefully be a regular ish feature on the blog – the only conditions were that they remain anonymous and we don’t edit it… (we’ve put it on a white background in case you want to print it and read it at your leisure) – so here it is:

“Saddlebags and Dust”

The Easter break was now long gone. A period pretty much like any other passage of time on the island, except people feel less guilty about doing nothing.

So, after the egg-hunting and the hot-cross bun searching it was time to get back to normal; starting with a stream of bile from my darling wife, which included the second worst possible 4 letter word in Ibizaese – W O R K, the king of the most disgusting Ibiza words being JOB of course.

I had pointed out to my little viper’s nest that no-one works in Ibiza… and on reflection, as unadvisable riposts go, this one was right up there with Ann Boleyn’s comment to her tubby-hubby Henry that he might want to lose a few pounds.

In between hurling more abuse along with the remains of the Dinner set we had received as a wedding gift, ‘Her Indoors’ pointed out, that these people are either stinking rich or drug dealers, a combination which accounts for almost 40% of the ex-pat community here. Since I am neither of these – although the latter becomes more tempting as each day passes – I racked my brains to find a way in which an ex Advertising Account Director used to looking after 250 million dollars worth of blue chip International Accounts every year could make a few euros.

As luck would have it, my mate Sid mentioned that he was going to get rid of “a load of crap in my garage” at the San Jordi flea market on Saturday. I said that I could top that as I had “a load of sh1t in the stables”, so we agreed to join forces. Sid had done his research and told me that we had to be at the San Jordi stadium at 5pm on the Friday night armed with a piece of string to mark out the area we wanted, so later that day I met him there at 4.45 to suss out the scene.

There was the usual ragbag of multi-national misfits you become used to living in Ibiza – some looking around nervously, like us, wondering what happened next and others, who clearly did this for a living, taught with anticipation, equipped with tent poles, police tape, measurement devices and knives (possibly to stab anyone stupid enough to invade their ‘patch’).

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The signal was unclear but bang on 5, they were off, like a pack of wild housewives at a closing down Sale, stampeding their way to what they thought was the best selling point.

Later we learned that these prime locations were around the outside to the left. Apparently people when they walk in to the stadium turn to the left and keep on going around the outer perimeter. Perhaps this is a northern hemisphere thing. In a similar market in Peru maybe they turn right. Who knows.

Sid and I, along with a couple of ‘Market Virgins’, just laughed at the spectacle of adults of all shapes and sizes charging to what they thought was the best place. We sauntered behind trying not to look as desperate muttering to ourselves “life’s too short” and found ourselves what we thought was a pretty good spot on a corner on the inside of the outer rim. It suited us to be off the beaten path. We were the rebels in left-field. The trendy boutique in Notting Hill rather than tacky Top Shop in Oxford Street.

We were told by the Germans staking their claim opposite us that 4 metres costs 6 euros, which I thought was pretty reasonable (as long as you sell more than 7 euros plus I guess), so we staked out 4 metres either way from the point of the corner with the string and added a label with our names on. Stories swept across the dust about people coming in to the stadium early the next morning and occupying your secured location – a sort of Market stall coup if you like – so I added “I’ll fecking kill you if you are here tomorrow” to my name just for good measure.

However, the Germans told us that if we got there at 7.30, that this should befine and they asked whether we would look after theirs if we arrived earlier and vica verca. I had a warm kind of siege mentally glow and it felt good see England Germany detente alive and well and living in a dustbowl in San Jordi.

Upon returning home, to my surprise, one of my boys – 8 year old Albert (a normal name in London where he was born, but a seemingly stupid one here where all the ex-pats kids have monikers like Lunar Landing Deck or Angel Dust or the like), told me he was really keen to help and immediately put himself to bed in anticipation.

So, after a reasonably early night myself, limiting myself to just the one bottle of red wine as I wanted to be razor sharp the next day, I awoke at the crack of a sparrow’s fart – 6.30 of the am to be precise and loaded the car with the boxes of “sh1t” I had put aside the night before along with a tressle table.

If my 20 years in Advertising had given me nothing else but an advanced bullsh1t detecting instinct and of course an outstanding knowledge of the best restaurants in London and New York, it was that the importance of presentation at point of sale was paramount, so my stuff was going to stand out and at least be at waist height so people would notice it.

I woke up Albert asking “are you sure?” – which he was – and after a cuppa tea, we set off down South on our little adventure.

Sid was already at the stadium when we arrived at 7.30 so we parked the car behind his and got my ‘stall’ dressed up. The place was starting to fill up and I soon became transfixed by a man who had parked his bicycle almost opposite me. Now, I thought I had sh1t but compared to this man’s sh1t I was selling the contents of Buckingham Palace. Painstakingly he unloaded his saddlebags onto a blanket on the floor (great presentation) revealing the unholiest crap you could possibly imagine, including a spoon, still dirty, a cup, chipped and tea stained and a ladle with dried up bits of soup on the side. This man fascinated and bothered me in equal measure. Albert was certainly not going anywhere near him today. By 8.30 we had finished setting up and already we had our first customer. He was interested in a large painting I’d had kicking about various residences in different parts of the world for years and my price was 20 euros I said, 15 was the reply. I was suffering from coffee-withdrawal so couldn’t muster an argumentative response and took his money. He looked pretty pleased with himself grabbed the painting and walked to the stall opposite and to the right. A stall selling paintings. His stall selling paintings, where he proudly put it on display. Fecking cheek.

The day crept by slowly. It was hot and dustier than a camels arsehole, but trading was brisk. By lunchtime we had turned over 100 euros. I say turned over because if my time is worth say 20 euros an hour, then I’d broken even, but I reminded myself that we were now living in Ibiza so that hourly rate should be halved – at least.

Most people haggled, annoyingly, something I just couldn’t bring myself to do. Far too common. One guy asked me the price of 2 pristine Victorian lampshades that didn’t fit any lights here, so I said off the top of my head “10 euros”. He grimaced, visibly in pain thinking that he was playing ultimate poker hand and said, “in that case I take one”. I didn’t want to sell one of a pair so I replied despairingly “8 then?”. His stupid little face lit up. A small, shallow victory for what was clearly a small, shallow man. I couldn’t believe it when he gave me a 10 euro note. I felt like keeping it and telling him to feck off but said “There you go, there’s your 2 euros mate. Go mad and have a coffee on me.”

Now and again I asked Sid to look after my patch and had a wander around with my boy and was pleasantly surprised at how good some of the items were. Everything from new socks to new garden equipment, from antique hat stands to Russian army helmets were there to be haggled over. I spent half my earnings on all sorts of paraphernalia including a pair of Levis for 2 euros. Now that’s a bargain.

Packing up time – 3pm. Things were dying down and we had to get back for The Grand National. Albert had been brilliant and taken 20 euros off a granny who had taken a shine to him but he was now asleep under the table. The ‘Pic Pimp’ opposite hadn’t sold my painting today but I reckoned him on a regular and thought he was might be playing the long term game. He was probably holding out for 17 euros so he could wallow in that 2 euro profit. Desperate stuff but not as desperate as old ‘Saddlebags’ across the way. He was packing up after selling only a pair of second hand walkman earphones complete with earwax. He would be back another day to earn another 50 cents. Nutter.

As for me, would I return? Well, Sid was 100 euros better off selling a load of his old clothes and I was 200 euros up. We’d met some interesting folk along the way whilst suffering sand-blasting and grit eye but overall, we’d had a good time. Sure I’d be back cos it’s amazing how much of your crap you can get rid of.

Remember – “One man’s sh1t is another man’s stool.”

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