Question: Does summer in Ibiza mean the end of the world as we know it?
Having just completed my first winter on the island I am jittery with pre-season nerves. I’m anxious that Opening Weekend signals the end of civilised winter and the beginning of a summer fraught with hordes of hard-drinking, creatively sunburnt tourists charging around the island on dodgy mopeds. Is there really a great divide between “us” and “them” though? Or is it possible the invaders are more finely attuned to the tempo of island life than I’m prepared to give credit for?
Exhibit A: the Space queue at half-past one. Personally, I’m only here to see my friend Dan Tait play the Flight Club Arena. The line is crammed with season pass holders, and moving slowly, so there is plenty of time to ascertain the majority language is Spanish. An hour or so of idle eavesdropping finally takes us into the main arena, where — again — the crowd is overwhelmingly Latin.
Later in the afternoon we sneak off to get some lunch and bump into a couple of British friends who have just been turned away from Space for certain, er, indiscretions. Perhaps the superior ability of the locals to blend in and avoid unwanted attention from the Guardia explains why they’re more visibly out enjoying themselves.
Exhibit B: DC10. Thanks to the new opening hours law I expect my favourite grimy disco to be jam-packed by the time I arrive at 2PM. It isn’t.
My friends and I waltz in to the mostly empty car park and one of the first people I spot a friend from San An and his (Ibicenco) posse. Of course DC10 is the spiritual home of the island’s massive Italian contingent but so many of them have been around for so long they practically count as natives. More to the point, the club fills in the gradual, amiable fashion of a local watering hole: by 4PM the terrace is comfortably full of people chatting and dancing, by 7PM packed, by 10PM in the grip of a secular revival meeting with much raising of hands and voices.
Exhibit C: The aftermath. Despite horror prognostications about wild after-parties and roaming herds of bellowing Brits all is calm as we drift woozily out of DC10 at 12.30AM. Our afterparty consists of Massive Attack on the stereo and a few bottles of rotgut cava in preparation for a day at the beach. And there is notably no evidence of anyone else doing anything more exciting (at least not in Playa d’en Bossa).
Exhibit D: Tuesday. The weather makes up for its hitherto Trabant-like unreliability by allowing enough sunshine for bikini-wearing and ice cream-eating. Early evening brings a phone call from a friend who pops down to the beach to share another bottle of cava (something of a theme of the weekend). This merges seamlessly into a lazy dinner at our local grill, Cafeteria Parador, where neighbours are scattered around the terrace feasting on garlic-rich meats and heavy Ibicenco blood sausages. We linger late and enjoy a nightcap before retiring at the utterly respectable hour of 1AM.
Conclusion: For all my first-timer fears summer seems to promise more of the stuff I’ve come to love over the last few months. Spontaneous afternoons at local watering holes, cheerfully polyglot crowds in the clubs, late dinners at out of the way restaurants and lingering afternoons at the beach.
I may have to reconsider all this come July but for the moment I’m delighted and not a little relieved to discover the ease with which Ibiza rolls with the seasons.
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