Ibiza. What thoughts come to mind when you hear this name?
The first time I heard mention of Ibiza was reading it on album artwork for CD covers, back in the day of Tower Records, when CDs were sold in long, thin boxes rather than individually wrapped in cellophane. I remember seeing titles like Ibiza Nights! Or Ibiza lounge. At my young age, I had no idea what that meant. Just that it must be some crazy night club. And I think on some level it is ok to refer to Ibiza as some crazy night club. Seeing Ibiza written on so much music gave me the impression that it must the origin of all electronic dance music… or at least an incredible club somewhere to dance. I was probably sixteen.
But there is so much more to this Island.
If New York is the city that doesn’t sleep, I don’t know what to call this tiny unique Island off the coast of Barcelona in Spain. Dinner begins at 11 o’clock or even midnight, and the first clubs get under way at around one or two in the morning. It is one of the only places I have ever visited where not just a club, but all clubs, who’s tickets to get in range from $40-120, close at the time most people are getting up for work in the morning. Much of Spain is like this with the eating though and I always ask myself, what on earth are people doing between the hours of 5PM to midnight that they will intentionally choose to eat this late? At least for the first time in my life I could understand the purpose of building a siesta into the middle of the day in Spanish culture. How else could one possibly function?
Admittedly though I was surprised to find Ibiza, different than what I expected. If you haven’t been before, pause for a moment and imagine what you think it would look like in your mind. My only expectation was that I would be landing on a tropical green and lush landscape with crystal clear aquamarine blue waters, much like arriving in Hawaii or the Maldives. This however is really not the case. There is nothing tropical or lush at all about Ibiza other than that it is surrounded by the ocean on all sides and the water is in fact on occasion, warm. Appearance wise, it’s more like an extension of Barcelona or other Spanish cities. Except in so many other unique ways, it’s not.
In terms of getting around, I’ve got to say that learning foreign languages early in life, feels like one of the the best decisions I’ve made. I have been at a total loss in Holland, Austria and Germany, but in Spain or Italy, I practically feel right at home. And here they speak such a clean, beautiful Spanish. I’ve been thrilled to see that all of the slang and foul language that is rampant in California, simply doesn’t exist here. I’m sure there are words for such depraved expressions but much of this stuff here has no meaning, which means even if you say an offensive word, you’re not being offensive at all, you’re just not understood.
When I was in Italy, the Italian came back almost like riding a bicycle. Eighteen years of not speaking it, save texting and emailing for my company, and yet when I got off the plane in Rome and felt that sweet melodical rhythm in my ears, I knew I was in the right place. Similarly, this was the case in Spain but it did not come quite as easily. Over the next few months I hope to have a much stronger command over Russian!
But we’re in Ibiza now and the sun and temperature is piercing. It’s so hot that you’re inspired to do little else apart from sleeping, eating and beaching. Being in a car with no a/c feels like you’re in the mojave desert at high noon. People here therefore miss no opportunity to wear as little as possible, and somehow, dehydrate themselves and drink as much alcohol as possible.
The water in some parts does in fact have that slight azure blue tinge and these days it does feel warm as bath water. But the difference here, is that topless for men and women – and in some cases bottomless seem to be perfectly acceptable. Couple that with an almost never ending pulse of electronic music and you’ve got a recipe for an endless summer. Whether you are walking on the beach, passing by touristy stores or in beachside restaurants, the pumping of electronic never ceases.
A couple super sweet Dutch girlfriends helped me get to the island by finding a place for us for the first day. This leads of course to some acro and meeting one of their other friends who was just an unbeleivably kind and friendly guy. He was one of those guys who seems like very little ever bothers him, yet he still possessed the fiery latin personality. “Rey” seemed well connected and liked and people often deferred to him and respected him, so it felt like we fell in with the right crowd. He’s also a musician, producer and DJ. So, before we knew it, almost from the moment we met, he took us into his world and began to show us some of the best parts of Ibiza.
The day we met for instance he took us clear across the island to a huge drum circle and gathering. Hundreds of people gathered on a rocky beach as the sun began to set. This was also the place where I met one of Europe’s foremost surgeons. A small and curvy bleach blonde woman, who every time I saw her did not have a cup, or a glass but a full bottle of alcohol in her hand. Sometimes two. Sometimes more for later. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. Here is a woman who must be unfathomably precise with her hands yet, in her spare time promotes the Ibiza lifestyle like nobodies business.
Anyhow, of course it didn’t end with the drum circle. We we’re then whisked off to yet another part of the island that was said to have a high vibration and energy field. A vortex if you will. That was where the picture below was taken. We spent a good amount of time here, observing the beauty of the world, and aside from people’s phones not working, and mine beginning to consume 4x the amount of data it should have from being in this funny vortex, it was really quite remarkable to witness.
The next day, my Dutch friends and I had finally found an airbnb that seemed really clean and luxurious but little did we know, because we weren’t with our friend, that we were at Playa D’embossa. Seconds away from where ALL the nightclub activity happens and frankly neither of our first choice had we known. It worked out to be a great spot though and on the one nights, after a visit to his apartment and gifting me his double CD he produced and created, dubbed “Sex on the Beat,” our friend Rey, invited us to a club. We practically walked right in. Aaaand shortly after, we were ready to walk right out.
Now I love good music, and I enjoy loud music. But this… this volume was like nothing I had heard before. Ear piercing, almost ear splitting and no matter where you stood, it was all the same. How were people not covering their ears? It was so utterly, unbelievably loud. Even screaming into someones hear made it difficult to hear them and it was painful! We tried different rooms and still it was the same. I think we wound up in the roof area where Minority Report was being screened in a little room. I sat on the couch and watched Tom Cruise. Suffice it to say that my clubbing experience was short lived. I am glad I got to see some of the places and experience what it was like but, no need to repeat.
Now, other days were spent finding beaches with rocks to leap off of into clear blue water or hitting a daytime beach party where Rey was DJing. I’m not into the party scene but I did enjoy briefly getting swept up into his world. In acrobatics, we move and inspire people individually or perhaps in tiny groups. But being a DJ, it seems like you get to move and excite the masses. The beat drops and people just lose it.
I remember being out at around 11 at night and overhearing a bartender ask some girls where are you going? They answered that they had just been to one place and now going to this other one. He said no, no, no, what club are you going AFTER that, and after THAT? (!!!) That one sentence was indicative of the culture here at Playa D’Emboss, but I did quickly tire of music culture lifestyle (I know that’s sacrilege to some of my friends on here) in this particular area and finally, thanks to the help of my another German friend, was able to discover a cleaner part of Ibiza, the port, or the old part of town as it were.
Apparently this is where all supermodels are bred. And not just women. I have never seen so many well groomed, tall, muscular men with perfect hair, stubble, confidence and euro charm in one place in my life. They seem to mirror the tall, overly confident, boobs in your face, tan women everywhere. EVERYONE seems to be fit, in their colorful nike’s, jeans rolled and tank tops. Women too took license to dress more scantly of course.
I remember stopping at a raw restaurant called “Don’t Panic if it’s Organic” – a restaurant I simply had to check out because that was the name of one of my mix tapes back in my raver days when I was 18, created by a DJ named Simply Jeff. I think he was referring to a different type of organic plant matter though. Here again, pick the prettiest woman and most attractive guy you can imagine and these were the restaurant owners- from Norway I believe, I don’t mean to dwell on appearance, but much like seeing a fawn or a gorgeous landscape you can’t help but notice it.
Yet here in the marina, even in this more Elegant™ part of town, we were not fully away from the clutches of the music scene, but what was here, was certainly much more tame and palatable. But even here, half naked girls in heels and boots along with dancing men carrying a trolly with a booming speaker would make their way to every open air restaurant they could, music pumping, doing dance routines and promoting the club they worked for. Then the cries would come, “A donde vamos esta noche???” “Amnesia!!!” or “Space” or “Privilege!!”
Now even in this “maritime” part of town — which felt a little like being in Greece with all the little white buildings and warm island atmosphere — everywhere you turned, the music continued, just at a more reasonable version of loud. Music burst out of every restaurant, everyone was eating outside, everyone in sandals. People everywhere. And people seemed genuinely happy here. Streets so crowed you had to just slowly make your way down and take in the sights. The warm air from the water gently blowing over my skin, little shops that sold clothing that draped over you like soft gauzy linen… This was more my speed and truly every night I spent here, there was a palpable positive atmosphere. Great food, great energy and you could dance in the streets, shop, sing and get lost in this White Ibiza.
Food wise, it took time to find something really good, so when my German friend Constanze, helped me find my spot, I made my ritual to dine here time and time again, even branching out to try their other locations in other parts of the island. “Passion cafe” it was called. About 100 smoothies and exotic drinks on one side of the menu and everything from hormone free, humane meats, vegetarian, vegan and raw food on the reverse. It was an oasis amidst all of the french fries and papas bravas so commonly found on a Spanish menu. Deep fryers and and burgers were replaced with goji berries, nuts, coconut water, kombucha, fresh baked goodies and elixirs.
I ate there several times in a row until towards the end of my stay yet another AcroYogi friend pulled me out of my Passion and to yet another part of the island. The hippie side if you will. You see there are a few parts to Ibiza… the part where the locals live, the crazy party side, the marina area where both families and the young and well to do hang out, and then this almost polar opposite side compared to the clubbing where people happily and consciously live in trailers and tents, and sometimes flat out camp while connecting to the universe. It’s actually hard to imagine two such cultures can co-exist on the same small place, but it’s very nice to see and contrast is after all how we decipher what we really want and is what creates extremes in life.
So we go to another beach to meet up with some of her girlfriends and practice AcroYoga It wasn’t a nude beach per se but here even some of the men let their manhood swing freely. I might have considered stepping up to bat, but I could not for the life of me figure out how how to maintain my usual abundant length when coming out of chilly water… some however had mastered this unnatural feat and you could see on their face they were proud of it.
Nevertheless we picked a random open spot near the ocean to lay our things down and shortly after the other girls came. But before they did- and of all the people in the world to lay our towels down next to, there sat a professional circus hand balancer, who incidentally also knew my friend! Immediately hand to hand ensued and we were pleased to see we could both base and fly each other through some advanced tricks. Its nice and unusual to come across someone like this. I’ll try to find a shot of me basing him in the pretzel. Then of course more acro with the girls on a sunny day in Ibiza. They spoke to me of workshops and more upcoming Ibizan retreats they were having right on the island and it all sounded very tempting.
Later that night we attended a moment workshop lead by a well known French guy. I love when I happen to be in town when someone important is in town and I get to experience something I would otherwise never get to do while living in California. Of course we have it all in the US but there are still countless people and teachers and doctors and movers and shakers who will never make it over to the US. This was so different than clubbing- he helped us get into our bodies, free up restrictions and discover an internal freedom that stuck with me for some time.
When you travel like this and are not sure where you are sleeping next, where you will go next and how you will get there, somehow, someway – due in no small part to the good will and generosity of others, things do work themselves out. I am happy that I purposely spent so many years doing things on my own and exploring things by myself to figure out how to be comfortable like this. That trusting and that knowing, which needs constant practice, has been a valuable part of my journey. But we do need people, and I was in fact able to catch a ride by someone who happened to be going in a similar direction. He was the only one. So he took me 40 minutes out from the middle of nowhere and dropped me off again, of course, in the Marina where I lazily found my way home but not before one final dinner on the water.
Eventually though it came time to finally leave Ibiza and make my way back the alternate universe known as the rest of Europe. After all, long can you really stay in a place where Paris Hilton earns up to one MILLION dollars in an evening for one DJ set? About a week to ten days I’d say. Well, it’s always a treat to not have to go to an airport, check luggage, pay for luggage and so forth. I love trying out different means of transportation so I bough myself a ferry ticket back to Denia, a neighboring city, 3 hours away by boat in Spain where my close chiropractic friend lives with his family.
First class was something absurdly reasonable like 5 Euro extra so I sat in the quiet part of the boat while hundreds or perhaps a thousand tourists made their way back in the back. Some other hollywood classic was playing on the screens dubbed over in smooth Spain Spanish so I watched bemused for a while and then drifted off as the sun set on this island and I finally reached land.
And that my friends was a week in the life of Ibiza.
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