“What the f— is Ushuaïa?”

Date: 1 September 2015.

Location: Ibiza Aeroporto, Talamanca, Espagna.

“Would you like something? Drinks? Drugs?”

Say what you like about wealthy Moroccan nightclub-managing, boat-owning party boys, but their hosting etiquette does their mothers proud.

I move to pick up one of the drinks on the table, thinking it mine.

“Oh, no — not that one cherie.” He flashes a grin and nudges his glass away from me and pushes another forward. “That one has MDMA in it.”

Just like that, so casual. 50m away, two floors down below our balcony, the crowd roars as the opening strains of another Avicii favourite play.

“Unless you want MDMA?” He gestures back with the glass.

I politely demur.


Midday in Ibiza is like 6am in the rest of the world. You could, in theory, get up and function, but it would be a serious struggle and the rest of the world would still be in REM so why not wait until a more civilised hour?

And very optimistically I've booked a 12 o'clock flight home from Ibiza.

My alarm goes off at 9am. I want to scream. I don't, but only out respect for Joey who's dozing in the bed next to me. Only a few hours ago we were on the balcony at Pacha, the original Ibizan nightclub, while Steve Aoki played. He had kicked off at 3am.

Last night was night four of four in Ibiza. Thank goodness, for I'm not sure we would have survived (or ever ought to attempt) a fifth.

On Friday we arrived and joined the very trashy, very Ibza Pukka Up sunset boat trip.

On Saturday night we went to a rave in an 'abandoned zoo' where everyone bore glittery animal body paint. Right there, that sentence, tells you pretty much everything you need to know about Ibiza. There were a lot of people with very dilated pupils. In what looked like the seal enclosure, 200 of them watched a person in an owl onesie dance on stage. 250ml of water set you back €5. The music was trance. It was… an experience.

On Sunday, we rested. Our villa was conveniently close to the Mercadonna so we could grocery shop every day and at least eat well — provided we managed to Chandler out of the pool/somewhat dressed and he came along to carry the heavy stuff (ie the merrily clinking bottles of vodka and gin) home. Typically, the rest of each rest day was spent lazing by the pool or attempting read in the heavy Spanish sun. When evening fell on we made dinner. So, on Sunday, after tacos, we did a cheerful round of shots and headed for our first big club.

Which brings me back to Ushuaïa and our new friends and their generous offers of Class A drugs.

It's quite difficult to do justice to the scene that was playing out in the background of that conversation. We were at Ushuaïa, one of Ibiza's megaclubs and certainly its newest and coolest. Ushuaïa is a big hotel wrapped around a lagoon of a pool. At the end of the pool is a stage. Most nights of the week the world's biggest DJs take it. One pure white Euro-styled room at this wunderkind hotel will set you back a cool €800. A room with a stage view, more. These boys we've just befriended have three rooms. And an excellent stage view. We don't know much more out them except that they speak French, have expensive taste in room service vodka and, when Joey gave them a wave from the crowd and asked if we could come up, one of them was down in an in instant to escort us up.

Settled on their big balcony with top shelf spirits and a top shelf view of Avicii we watched as five thousand people below moved to the beat. It was truly surreal.

On Monday we managed to make it out of the villa before nightfall and explored Eivissa town. This little harbour town could have been anywhere in Spain, or anywhere on the Med for that matter. I was suprised by Ibiza in many ways: the desert and beach scenery is truly lovely, the town is charming and the megaclubs for which the island so famous are truly tucked away and don't overflow into everyday holiday making life if you don't want them too. An equally pleasant surprise was how well we all got on. Not sure if you know this, but large groups of girls don't always get on great when thrown into a hot villa together. We had one or two totally minor squabbles and, as I knew full well in advance she would, Jory let a little too loose and needed some taking care of. However, all in all, we were practically the Brady Bunch of (kinda) wholesome group fun. Perhaps Chandler mellowed us out? Perhaps we've grown up?

Then Monday night arrived. This was what we'd been training for. Monday night was the David Guetta summer season closing party at Ushuaïa to be followed by Steve Aoki's Playhouse at the infamous Pacha nightclub — starting after 3am. Having paid almost AUD$200 on tickets alone, there was to be no sleepy sneaking off before dawn.

Dressed up for the first time (Pacha has a stricter dress code than many venues on the island, most of which tolerate bikinis, board shorts and thongs), we traipsed knowingly into Ushuaïa like pros. Then the skies opened up and the party really started. Afrojack played on stage and the crowd danced in the summer rain. We wove our way to the front for Guetta, and he did not disappoint. The DJ sets in Ibiza are about much more than the music (they have to be for, lets be honest, the DJ could just press play on a pre-recorded mix and would we know the difference?). There's the venue, the vibe and all the crazy theatrics. Guetta had dancers and fireworks and a girl who flew over the crowd attached to a hundred white balloons. Around midnight — wet, sweaty, exhilarated — we left and, after a quick diversion to a corner store for drinks, tripped down to the dark beach to kill time and play truth or dare. Chandler dared himself to go for a swim. The time vanished. Then, it was time for Pacha.

Pacha is another of the island's megaclubs but is all things opposite to Ushuaïa. It's indoors, cavernous and all very 1970s disco hobbit house. Its one huge, vaulted, central pit is surrounded by twisted passages and low-ceiling bars; it's all white rock walls, twisted passages and mind boggling, claustrophobic, dark staircases for those who want to get away from the main stage. You can't get away from the music though. The walls vibrate with thudding bass. It has a certain appeal. We marvel at the hugeness of the main area and then go in deeper to explore this cave of a nghtclub.

Almost immediately, Joey pulls a Joey stunt. Upon seeing a guy step behind a black curtain, she neatly follows and tugs me along by the hand. We run up some stairs … and find ourselves on the VIP balcony. There's a private bar, the the best possible view and almost no one about. We stare at each other in mute amazement. Talking would have been pointless anyway: Aoki has started. The others don't follow us (I learn later that they'd seen someone else try to slip behind the curtain and get thrown out immediately so thought better if it) and it's right around then that I drop my (very old, very cracked) iPhone off the balcony and into the three thousand people below and give it up for dead. I'm sure it's not the first phone to die a noble death at an Ibizan megaclub, and long may it party on. There's nothing much else to do but enjoy the music. Aoki is undeniably brilliant. At one stage he mixes The Circle of Life into My Heart Will Go On and the crowd erupts with joy. Joey and I share another wide-eyed open-mouthed look of pure amazement. Around 5am, we call it a night. To my surprise, we've beaten the others home. However, they tumble in soon after us. We have midnight snacks (/breakfast?) and pass out.

My alarm goes off at 9am. I want to scream. I don't, but only out respect for Joey who's dozing in the bed next to me.

Head spinning, I shove everything into my suitcase, give Joey a forehead kiss goodbye and treat Paris to the same, scrawl an incompressible still-drunk note to the gang and run for the local bus. Here at the airport I clear security and peruse the shops. A 'What The F— is Ushuaïa' teeshirt takes my fancy but I sagely decide it may not get much wear in my everyday life and is probably NSFW and the office gym. Besides, I've already made on inebriated purchase this weekend, an Avicii tank top. That will have to do me. Then I go in search of breakfast. The food situation is piteous: two dodgy cafes with sad focaccias and a Burger King. I opt for the latter and order a Whopper from a very judgmental looking sleek Spanish girl.

(I'm not proud of this but, two hours later when my flight gets delayed, I will return to that counter with a view to ordering chicken nuggets. I will get served by that same Spaniard. She will recognise me and be even more judgy. Low point.)





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