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Review: Roadtrip to Folk Ibiza

Forum cynic, Olly, provides a great and alternative account of how to experience Ibiza, "the one the billboards don't tell you about".

Well it's about 2 years since I first gatecrashed this forum with a not universally-acclaimed Ibiza review and as I set off on my hols on 15th July I did wonder how different this one might be. No Fat Phil B! No discoplayer! No sardine tin-like apartments in downtown San Antonio! No swedgers for breakfast, lunch and high tea! You can question my sanity but I chose something altogether different this time around. I chose to drive from Lewisham to Ibiza and back for no reason other than the fact I am obsessed with my car to the point I am virtually wedded to it. The roadtrip evolved from being a mildly exotic adventure across France to a simple exercise in motorway endurance. Various friends who had committed gradually de-committed leaving me facing the choice between abandoning the roadtrip and getting a cheap flight or persevering out of sheer bloody-mindedness. I opted for the latter.

Of course, it is nice to be able to stop off in Barcelona and see the relatives, especially as one of them is into her final years (months?) and what better backdrop to a sea voyage than my beloved Barcelona. Worth noting that ferries are not cruises and open air showers are not the swimming pools mentioned in the Acciona blurb. There is therefore very little to do, in the absence of ready sex, narcotics or cinematic options. Worse, you could be the only 30 something bachelor on a ship of families, kids and pensioners. So you try and stretch out your one book (Jane Bussman's Once In A Lifetime - excellent, irreverent look at acid house) and all all those spotlight notes you've printed off on A4 but never bothered to read. Eight hours on deck. Asphyxiating boredom in the blazing sun. There are (possibly) worse ways to die.

Ibiza Old Town - first task was to identify the guest house HUESPEDES VARA DE REY. Not that hard to find but with stairs that are definitely hard to climb when your feet are sunburnt and bitten to shreds. The couple that run it are an oddball pair of Argentinians. The fella (a dead ringer for Carlos Santana in a straw hat) had all the urgency of handicapped tortoise, but somehow the pair of them got things done and the rooms are quirky, cool and enchanting if not cheap. How I winced when the €50 I thought it cost a night was actually €80 a night. But these things will happen.

As the first night drew to a close I received word from 2 girls in London that they still hadn't sorted out accommodation, so I managed to secure the honeymoon suite with the 4 poster bed, the see-through shower window, and the view of the (suspect) accordion players in the square below. This room was in fact so intimate you can even watch your partner on the crapper. This was to prove quite significant later in the week. However, I had the small matter of Formentera to navigate first. As I said in 2008, I love Formentera, the desolation, the lighthouses, the cafes in San Francisco, the caves by the rocks where you see Bo Derek clones emerge to the wafting sound of quiet guitars, which is exactly what we saw. My hostess, a dear friend of mine, born and raised on the island, knows every nook and cranny on that island and I insisted she take me to the furthest outposts. I seriously suggest scooters. The island roads are custom designed for scooters which you can also squeeze on the small ferries.

The wrench of leaving Formentera was soon forgotten as I had an interesting appointment with a DJ friend of mine at a bar in the middle of nowhere and somewhere you will only ever find by accident or with the help of a microscale map (not the treasure hunt X i was given) The Monkey Bar on the road from Ibiza to San Joan is the kind of place I absolutely love - run by a very eccentric and well known gent by the name of Vaughan who apparently also has a hand in the Rock Bar in Ibiza and the Funky Room at Pacha - next door to the Monkey Bar is Aura, a place I was to spend a lot of time in over the next week. The Aura garden is a tad too Richmond-Upon-Thames for me. I was wondering if they were all dressed for a polo tournament. I was waiting for an irate Jonny Rotten to spring from behind a bush - the FILTH AND THE FURY! except he didn't - but the bar inside I liked very much and the music policy is first class and FREE. Danny Rampling who officially retired from djing in 2005 was DJing with Steve Proctor. Am hoping this set got recorded because it was seriously brilliant...

The Wednesday was to provide the first taste of drama......

I was on a beach in the North East, near Figuerol when word came through that the girls would be delayed. I tried to arrange to meet Grego but then word came through that the plane was coming early (!) then late and then NOT AT ALL! (British Airways @ City Apt must have seemed such a cool option at the time of booking) The airline eventually announced to stunned passengers russian roulette-stylee that it was simply too heavy and that some passengers would have to go, and those who had the cheapest tickets would have to leave, these included one of the DJs I was due to see play during the week. The girls did make it but 2 hours late. 2 hours during which I was sat at Ibiza Airport cursing everything and everyone.

Sunset Ashram

They turned up and one of them suddenly announced she was feeling really ill (having overcooked the pudding at lovebox) and would have to miss out on the night. First thing in the morning however, she complained of severe kidney pains and so I was tasked with not only finding a hospital, but also getting her to hospital, waiting in a dark corridor (man spanish hospital corridors are grim), translating, finding a pharmacy and getting her home! so utter panic, driving through ibiza town, pigeons flying, going down the wrong street, all in a race to see a doctor (*remember your E111 or cough up €80 - gulp) This soured the holiday because she was on antibiotics and in a foul mood thereafter to the point of being quite aggressive in the guest house. The see through glass had not gone unnoticed by either girl and both complained to the receptionist who shrugged and then later put up a hissy note about using shared showers without permission... I sensed that all was not going well with this trip, although the magnificent hashish I was given later that evening by a wall at the foot of Dalt Vila did much to take my mind off things.

The Friday saw us take off to Salinas, which I had vowed to vist for a long time. It is a truly wonderful beach, although mass displays of nudity by the elderly and infirm are not quite the visual feast you slyly want to peruse from behind your sunglasses. Sa Trinxa was the obvious port of call for lunch and it was all going swimmingly well. The soft rocks crew and James Hillard from Horsemeat came and joined us and the music was all set up nicely, and then the Dj started to rev things up TURBO BOOST tech house at 2pm when you're tucking into a pasta. Nobody could hear anyone else speak. So I opted to have a word with the Maradona-esque figure looking self-important by the DJ booth.

"Por favor, estamos comiendo! No se puede hablar! Algo mas tranquilo?"
"No! that - before! We go down! Now! We go up!! (he grinned through his 5 teeth)
"Algo mas balearic?"
"This EEZ balearic"

tail between legs I gave in..

Nice beach though.

ok, so it was time for some parties. this is Ibiza right??

The event I primarily went for was called Folk Ibiza, more a loose collection of music events in different locations than an actual festival - music fans from Manchester, London and Ibiza itself, joining forces to offer something different to the clubbing mainstream. People rooted in disco, balearic beat and acid house wanting to recreate a neo-hippy vibe for no profit whatsoever.

The party on the saturday night was to be held at a bar called Putamayo Cafe near Los Chiringuitos on the far West of the island, [Ed- Putamayo is in San Antonio near Cala Gracio], and I have to say it was one of the best nights I have been to in 20 years. The bar is stunning, a true Garden of Eden, run by a lovely Dutchman with a very cavalier attitude to everything. The DJs included Ian Blevins and Kelvin Andrews (soul mechanik/sure is pure) but the star turn was undoubtedly none other than Gypsy Moreno OF THE GIPSY KINGS (!) (pictured below). The place went OFF. A seriously beautiful night, lovely people, friends for life, amigos para siempre.

but a royal pain in the jacksy trying to get hold of a taxi....

A problem some people were to experience again the following day at the Sunset Ashram at Cala Compte, which has to top all the sunset experiences I've ever had. The parking is crazy, the food is overpriced asian cuisine (€25 for thin slices of beef!) and half the tables are reserved well in advance but possibly worth it in the context of the occasion. The music was amazing - everything from China Crisis to Madonna (La Isla Bonita - from naff pop to the most obvious record on the planet, within seconds) - it was great. Then some of us went to Space. I put a few comments in the we love thread. I didn't really enjoy it, but I think it says more about me than the club.

I think macro-discotecas just don't do it for me anymore, even with the right music. Not staying that long also meant I was never going to experience it properly in any case. And we had to check out early the next day... it was a bit of a military operation checking out of the guest house. The 2 girls had fallen out and decided to never speak to each other again. Oh brother. So I whisked one of them away to someone else's apartment at Port de Torrent. A lovely area to muck about in by a pool until the ferry I was due to catch in the evening left but which I missed because I wrote the wrong times down.

Oh dear

Oh dear Oh dear

Oh dear Oh dear Oh dear

So after 30 minute panic hurtling around the bay (hospital scenes revisited) I decided to rejoin the others for one final hurrah at Aura - and it was almost worth the €216 ticket for the next ferry. Hearing Ce Ce Rogers Someday and The Bangles Walk Like An Egyptian mixed into Lumidee Oh Oh and some banging stuff near the end just amazing tunes throughout and I got to meet so many people including Kelvin (Sure is Pure) "any chance of an mp3 of that d:ream track "I like it" you know from 1993" - the look on his face was priceless. And with that the holiday ended as quick a week as i remember, gutted for all the things that went wrong and for the people I didn't get to see - don't really regret missing the clubs although there were times when I missed the Scots. The ferry leaving Ibiza was a weird one, weird emotions, no doubt contaminated by a fair amount of night time nutrients, but on the whole i had a much more favourable impression of Ibiza, the one the billboards don't tell you about.

Ce Ce Rogers - Someday

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