Sunday, 19 May 2019

Ibiza Rocks... Part One

San Antoni, Ibiza.  I don't think there are many places that summon up immediate images and stereotypes, as well as sending either chills or thrills down the spine.  Back in my teens I wanted to escape the rural backwater town I grew up in and, with a bunch of female friends, escape to San An's bright garish lights and loud music to work for a summer season - I never made it then, though my friends did.  Since then it's not somewhere I've ever desired to visit - I can't help but think of rowdy and, dare I say it, chavvy young Brits passing out in the streets, fighting in the streets, pissing in the streets, throwing up in the streets... you get the idea.  Anyway, I could probably get the same experience on a night out in Oldham, so why waste money going all the way to the Med?

So, the party-capital of the Med was definitely off my list of places to go for a week-long holiday.  That is, until I learned that in May of each year, hard rock and heavy metal fans descend on the town for seven days of hard drinking and hard music.  "So," you may say, "what's the difference with the usual bunch of SanAn visitors who just want to listen to loud music and drink loads?"  It would become apparent as the holiday wore on.  Anyway, seven days of a rock music holiday... well, a girl just had to check that out...

First problem - flights.  Yes, it seems the choice of flights from the UK to Ibiza are a little restricted out of season.  The fact that I needed to travel out mid-week didn't help.  So, Wednesday (my start day of choice) meant either Thomas Cook or Ryanair.  With having no faith in Ryanair since their recent 'staff issues' or wondering if they would drop me off in, say, Bacelona and make me swim the rest of the way, that meant Hobson's Choice - Thomas Cook.

So, before December last year my tickets and flights were booked.  Whooo-ho, I'm going to Ibiza...

Fuck, I'd forgotten how bad that song really was.  

Last Tuesday was spent packing bags and nervously weighing them, shuffling clothes and important possessions in-between my small hand-luggage allowance and large case to get the right weight/item importance against the maximum hand luggage/hold luggage weight allowances - Einstein would have been proud.

I was up the following morning at 1.30am, and my taxi trundled me off the Manchester airport by 3.00am.  All was going well up until going through security.  I found myself in the shortest queue, only a middle-aged blonde woman in front of me.  "No worries", I thought, "I'll be through here in a flash."  Boots, watch and bag were all ready to put in the tray for x-raying.... but the blonde dithered about.  Three bags in one tray - not allowed.  So, bags removed, split into different trays.  Then the security guy had to tell her to take her watch and metal belt off.  She took them off and stood holding them.  The queue behind me was getting longer.  "Put them in the tray," said the attendant, trying to not shout.  She put them in the tray and stood still, blocking anyone else moving forward.  After a minute of  indecision she was finally persuaded/told to move and my line began flowing again.  As I wasn't wearing much (my tight denim catsuit) I strolled through the metal detector and out the other side to wait for my trays of belongings.  Just as my tray went through the scanner the conveyor belt ground to a halt. Airport staff tried in van to get it going again.  Buttons were pressed (airport equivalent of 'turn it off, turn it on again', I think), hands waved over hidden sensors... to no avail.  By hand, all the baggage on the conveyor belt had to be moved to a new belt.  Without the dithering blonde holding everyone up I'd have been out of the way long before now.

Half an hour later I was finally through, a little more stressed than I had been.  Thankfully, the flight itself was trouble-free and just after 10.30am we landed in Ibiza airport.  I'd made a point of checking the buses from the airport to SanAn in the interests of saving valuable drinking money - €4 on the bus versus €30 taxi.  Yes, it took the best part of an hour, but I could cope with that.  Sadly, the timetable I'd been looking at was perhaps for the summer season only, and the direct buses were not running.  That meant a bus into Ibiza town itself, then another over to San Antonio.  My plans had gone slightly awry, already, it seemed.  Nevertheless, 2 hours or so later I arrived at the bus terminal in San Antonio and made my way towards my hotel for the week - the Tropical.  My first impressions of SanAn were... it's not as bad as I thought.  There wasn't much in the way of old buildings - everything looked like it was post-1960s, but it was clean... moreso than Manchester city centre on a weekend morning  Also, no Brits laid sprawled in the streets, though I wondered if I would be the first given the increasing heat and lack of fluids.

On the hot Spring air, though, suddenly I heard the heavy thud of drums and bass, rousing guitars, the scrawling gutter-voice of the late Bon Scott at full volume... yes, that's AC/DC shattering the airwaves in San Antonio.  My spirits lifted for the last yards of my walk, then even more so when I realised that the thunder of AC/DC was actually coming from my hotel... or more specifically, the outdoor hotel pool.  Brilliant.  I checked in, unpacked and sauntered over to the pool - AC/DC now replaced by more growling rock and heavy metal.  The area around the pool was nearly full - and all of the inhabitants were rockers.  Not everyones idea of fun, but I was in paradise.  For those not sure of the genre, here's a quick intorduction...

I bumped into friends from different areas of the UK that I'd met at various rock events and had a quick catch-up and a few drinks before deciding to explore and get some food.  I got chatting to one of the guys working at the bar, wondering what they thought of the crowd... "We like this week," he said, "lots of fun, no trouble."  It wouldn't be the last time I heard such comments.  Back to the hotel, a change of clothing (into denim hotpants), and a stroll to see SanAn's delights.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - San Antonio, Ibiza.
Parts of SanAn are not pretty.  Bars, bars, some cheap clothing shops, take-away outlets, bars... I managed to find a health-food cafe, though, and after a refreshing salad, wandered back to the hotel pool and poolside bar.  I have to admit that the rest of the afternoon was spent getting a bit drunk and chatting with groups of friends, to the background music of heavy rock and metal.

The plan then was to head over to the main club were the bands would be performing - Eden nightclub - for around 8.30pm.  I changed into my pink leopard-print playsuit that I'd bought for my Venice trip last year and, after meeting in the hotel lobby, headed off with friends to the official opening night of the heavy rock week.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - San Antonio, Ibiza.
Outside the club a massive bungee ride lit up the darkening sky.  "I must have a go on that at some point," I promised myself.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - outside Eden, San Antonio, Ibiza.
Inside the club I had another drink, the effects of hot sun, copious amounts of alcohol and a long, long day beginning to take their toll.  I stayed for the first band - Everyday Heroes - I know I saw them as I got a photograph...

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Everyday Heroes, San Antonio, Ibiza.
 ...but I can't actually remember them, sadly.  I do vaguely remember staggering back to the hotel later on and hitting the bed, and then suddenly it was Thursday morning.

I decided on a long walk the following morning, so headed off towards the marina and sea front.  On the way I found a fantastic cafe/restaurant - The Skinny Kitchen - and had a great brunch to fully refuel after the previous night's excess partying.  I'd certainly recommend this place, should you ever find yourself in the town and want to avoid greasy British food.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - San Antonio, Ibiza.
Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - San Antonio, Ibiza.
Nicely refuelled, I carried on my stroll around the west-side of the town, passing legendary haunts like Café Del Mar, a favourite of the 90s generation.  I could see why - its sea-front location looking out to those perfect Mediterranean sunsets was ideal.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - westward sea views, San Antonio, Ibiza.
With the hot sun calmed and refreshed by the delicate aroma of salted sea air I continued walking, passing a few more hotels and bars... as usual I was tempted to enquire what kind of watersports are on offer...

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - watersports, San Antonio, Ibiza.
... before finding a long stretch of path with only grassed car park to the island side and those lovely sea views to my left.  A few local inhabitants were also out enjoying the morning sun.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - San Antonio, Ibiza.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - San Antonio, Ibiza.
At the end of the long path were a more exclusive collection of hotels than were situated in the main town.  Away from the rowdy clubs and bars, it was actually quite lovely.  I sat and enjoyed the peaceful view, a gorgeous boat rocking gently in the blue swell.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - San Antonio, Ibiza.
With the sun beginning to burn down I headed back to the main part of San Antonio.  I was back at the hotel pool just after midday - time for another change of clothing and time to hit the pool area.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - denim hotpants again, San Antonio, Ibiza.
I'm not ashamed to say that the rest of the afternoon was spent... being a Brit in SanAn - poolside bar, lots of drinking, lots of friends, and LOUD music.  Only it was rock music, the atmosphere (as always at these kind of events) friendly, pissed-up and fun and there was absolutely no hassle from anyone.

That evening there was an official welcome party at the Ibiza Rocks bar.  That meant a long walk along the beach front to the bar, and rejoining around twenty friends for another night of... er... drinking and LOUD music.  Only this time, I totally forgot to take my camera.  Hmmm... maybe there was quite a bit more drinking than anticipated.  The bar staff had similar thoughts to the guys at the hotel pool bar.  "Since the rock events started for this week in May, it's our favourite week of the year," said the head waiter, "people come along, have fun, great music, never any trouble."  Perhaps there is a big difference in listening to loud music and getting drunk and listening to LOUD music and getting drunk.

After Ibiza Rocks a bunch of us made our way to the infamous 'Strip' - the main street full of bars.  At one end, though, stood Ground Zero - the 'official' after-party bar of the week. Ground Zero is usually a bit of an 'indie' bar (shudder), but this week was given over completely to rock - as in proper rock, not that Killers-type of shite.  It was lovely and cool inside, the music was superb - anything from Bon Jovi, Journey, Boston (come on, who doesn't want to sing along as loud as they can to 'Livin' On A Prayer', Don't Stop Believing' and 'More Than A Feeling') right through to Black Sabbath, Metallica, Slayer, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and Rammstein.  A brilliant night, and I  remember walking back to the hotel in a large group at around 3.00am.

On Thursday... no Friday... er, Saturday?  No Friday - yes, definitely Friday... I think... I woke as usual quite early (yes, despite the drinking fun).  Another trip to The Skinny Kitchen for brunch, another trip back to the hotel pool and bar for the afternoon.  A pattern was starting to develop here, I realised.  A lady approached me and said she was in charge of the music - did I have any requests?  A little later the sonic wall of Led Zeppelin's 'When The Levee Breaks' exploded from the speakers.  I was in Heaven as Bonham's drumming thunder pounded the beat to classic Page riff and Birminham-Blues wailing of Mr. Plant.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Tropical Hotel pool, San Antonio, Ibiza.
At 4.00pm I headed over to VeganPoint for another delicious salad, this time taking it back to the hotel and eating on the balcony, serenaded by the poolside heavy rock directly opposite my room.  At one point there was a rumble of thunder, lower than even the music... I knew the sounds straight away from my visits to various historic motorsport events.  Yes, the heavy iron beat of an American V8 trundled into view - a classic 1960s Ford Mustang.  With a pretty blonde driving.  A vision from the rock gods, indeed.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Ford Mustang, San Antonio, Ibiza.
Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Ford Mustang, San Antonio, Ibiza.
 That evening we trouped back, en masse, to Eden to watch another band - this time Falling Red.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Falling Red, San Antonio, Ibiza.
After their set a group of us headed over to the nearby Tapas Restaurant Bar for a late meal.  Fantastic food, eaten al fresco and under soft glowing lights... and again I was impressed by some of the food available at San Antonio - it really isn't just burgers, pizzas and chips if you seek it out.  We didn't got back to Eden to watch the other bands - this time we headed over to Ragnarok, another rock bar in the centre of San Antonio.  There may have been a few more drinks consumed there before heading back to the hotel once again at around 3.00am to sleep it all off... no doubt there was going to more late nights ahead.

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