Date: 29 August 2015.
Location: poolside, villa, Ibiza, cava to hand in giant plats tic cup bearing my nickname.
I wake with a jolt. Paris has clutched hard at my thigh. On her other side, by the window, Twiggy’s face is frozen in confused horror. All around us the faces of our passengers mirror hers.
My immediate terrified thought is that something on the plane has exploded. There’s an airlessness in here that suggests so. It’s as though everyone’s breath has been sucked out and there’s a horrified silence. But no, thank god.
There’s a fight.
Yes, on the 6am flight from London Stansted to Ibiza there’s a fight. Of course there is. A drunken partygoer passenger has assaulted crew members and there’s a tussle. Her friends get rowdy. There’s a lot of yelling and swearing (and a lot of unashamed gawking by the rest of us). In a matter of moments she’s handcuffed to something at the back of the plane and a few of the bulkier guys are helping the crew intimidate her friends back into their seats.
Twiggy, our resident criminal lawyer, notes with glee that it’s a criminal offence to disobey cabin crew, far worse to get physical with them. They might have had to turn the plane around, she adds. A spirited discussion ensues between us lawyers about the applicable law during flights: UK law if we’ve left from London, right? Yes, we are easily the biggest nerds on this plane. Paris yawns, catlike.
Things settle and then the crisp voice of our captain comes over the intercom: “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll shortly be beginning our descent into, well, it was meant to be Ibiza, but it’s going to be Barcelona.” Very mature booing follows this announcement. “Your safety and that of our crew has been jeopardised. We need to remove a passenger.” And so we make an emergency landing in Barcelona and one very drugged-up British girl who’s more than old enough to know better is escorted off the plane by Spanish policia. The policia get cheers and wolf whistles.
Looking around — there are velour tracksuits, girls in full cakes of makeup with fake lashes, jewelled pedicures slipped into diamantéd high heels — and listening to the commentary around us — “Stupid bitches, innit?” “She’ll have to hand over all the poppers she’s shoved her butt now yeah,” — is both hilarious and alarming. Until now, Twiggy notes, she didn’t really know what a ‘chav’ was. Now she does.
It’s been an exciting morning and the three of us are intensely grateful to be greeted by hot sun outside the airport and then by a bikini-clad Monica at the gate of our villa. Chandler is already floating in the pool with a Spanish beer in paw.
“What’s the name of that song that goes ‘we’re in Ibiza bitches’?” he calls out. No one knows. (I’m pretty sure it’s ‘We’re in Ibiza bitches’, artists who use the word bitches in their song names not tending towards creativity in song names.)
We’d had a few dramas sorting accomodation for this long (long) weekend. None of us have been here before and it’s so hard to know how the island ‘works’. Ought we stay near a beach? Near town? Which town? Paris had very prudently booked us a backup apartment in one of the hotels in downtown Eivissa however we’d all heard stories of what it’s like to stay in an Ibizan hotel: bloody battles over sun loungers, trance music parties around the pool all night, vomit raining off balconies. A villa seemed a more palatable option for 7x almost-30 year olds. However, taxis are notoriously sparse here so how would we get home? And what would happen if someone wanted to head home early? All of this debate played out in leisurely manner over Facebook messenger in the weeks preceding this one until we were left with a much depleted selection of houses within our price range that met our requirements (pool, close to old town) and a 24-hour deadline to cancel our backup hotel. There was a scramble and I up maxing out my credit card by booking us a little house on Airbnb with no reviews. I was suitably nervous.
So, what a lovely relief to walk into a very Spanish, airy villa in a sweet neighbourhood with an electric blue pool and a warm round of !holas! from a very smiley Monica, Chandler and our new addition, Marmite (British, hates this nickname). It took us less then two minutes to get into that beautiful pool ourselves.
Later in the day we trekked north to greasy San Antonio to meet Joey (tour guide friend, remember her?) who’d swung a weekend ‘working’ on the island. She’d also swung us cheap tickets to Pukka Up, ‘the world’s biggest boat party’. When I say cheap I mean cheap by Ibizan standards. This island is extortionate in some ways. Groceries and our expansive villa are so laughably affordable. Then cover charges and drinks in clubs are cruelly steep! Think €60 for entry to a club, €20 for one drink. It makes your eyes water doesn’t it?
Six of us were working off very little sleep and a 3am wakeup call so I thought we’d done pretty well by the time midnight rolled around and I was still standing but ready for bed. The boat trip had been a fun — if mega trashy — four hours of cruising, drinking and dancing to very loud house music on the deck. Joey’s entire tour group was also on board so she was playing a weird hybrid role, answering their questions and making sure they were happy (even though she was off duty) and, at the same time, getting drunk and hanging with us. Post boat we needed food and had pretty decent paella (and, pizza — sorry Spain) at a nasty tourist place in the west end. Then we braved the main strip of bars. I was forcefully reminded of Patong, Phuket. Also of the Gold Coast, Queensland. The place smelled of cheap beer and desperation and there were wasted English folk littered about, and just slightly less-wasted English folk pushing flyers on us. “Take a flyer or give me a kiss,” was a common refrain. Past that, at the top of the hill, was Ibiza Rocks, a u-shaped hotel around a pool, at the end of which was a DJ blaring incomprehensible house music. I’m not sure if it was lack of sleep, the early stages of a hangover or because I suddenly felt too old for this — the girls in front us were basically sporting my wardrobe from Year 6: tattoo necklaces, bum bags and platform runners — but I was done. The tentative plan had been to head to Privilege, the world’s largest nightclub, but that would kick off at 3am. The only possible occupation for me between that moment and 3am was sleep. We called it.
Besides, this weekend promises plenty of late nights yet: tomorrow (Saturday, a quiet night on this island due to DJs putting on gigs around the world before return ‘home’ to their nightclub residencies on the island) is Zoo Project in the abandoned zoo, Sunday will be the Avicii closing party at Ushuaïa, Monday the Guetta closing party there then (well after midnight) Aoki at Pacha. I’m in no danger of getting too much sleep.