My Very First Water Party
I’m just going to be honest here, and you can judge me as you will.
And most likely, you will.
I’m at a point in my life where I pretty much consider myself too old for the club scene.
Well. Maybe not too old, but too crotchety.
Maybe that’s it. Whether I’m headed out with Justin or with a few good friends, I’d much prefer the mellow sanctity of a martini at a jazzy bar, a spicy margarita and faux mariachi at my favorite Tex Mex hole, sipping a SoCo and coke with a splash of lime and dash of salt at a local dive while listening to a solo guitarist as he stands, essentially naked on the stage, because — as far as he’s concerned — he’s showing us a piece of his soul.
Yes, I’d much prefer that to finding myself surrounded by a mass of wobbly-drunk, sweaty, crop-dusting strangers. (I’m not exaggerating about the crop dusting — I actually saw a guy lift his leg when he did it.)
And I don’t think it’s a married thing. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t my scene when I was single, either.
Lucky for me, aside from the wild, expensive dance clubs for which it is famous, the island of Ibiza is packed full of stunning natural landscapes, interesting architecture, and a slew of culturally diverse inhabitants. Our server from Bratislava, who was fluent in 3 languages and working on a 4th, couldn’t hide his elation that he’d finally saved the money he needed to move to his favorite vacation spot and was now living the dream.
He served us this sangria.
And I’ll never forget our quirky, art-loving hostel director who, upon figuring out how she wanted to spend her recent and substantial inheritance, arrived in Ibiza for a week-long vacation and simply never left.
Even the Spaniards don’t want you to fill out the paperwork, she reasoned, while explaining how she’d managed to remain an illegal, business-owning resident for the past 16 years. It’s nothing but headaches for everyone involved.
And based on my very limited experience in the country and stories offered up by my sister-in-law who was there on a work visa, I’m thinking she was probably right.
Ibiza at dusk.
So I was more than satisfied on Ibiza, using a rental car to explore our small corner of the island, searching for its signature smooth shells on the beach with Becca, playing paddle ball with Brad in the surf, laying in bed with Justin while listening to inebriated teenagers try to find their way back to their hostels by bouncing shouts off the city walls and timing how long it took for their echos to return. Apparently.
Playing paddle ball. Yes, my exposure sucks.
But Brad. Young, unmarried, still-able-to-consume-copious-amounts-of-liquor-wine-and-beer-in-a-single-night-without-sporting-a-massive-next-day-hangover, Brad. Brad had a rather fuzzy-yet-exciting memory leftover from the last time he’d visited Ibiza, and he was determined to recreate the experience with our group while we were there. It was his birthday, so we couldn’t argue, and I’ll admit — his proposal did sound intriguing.
The plan was to buy ample supplies at the grocery store and then stay up eating and playing drinking games in our room until 1 a.m.
Photo by Brad Thayer. Since Justin’s and my room had 3 beds for some inexplicable reason, ours was the designated party room.
Crackers, white cheese, Spanish ham, chorizo, olives, chocolate cookies, crackers with chocolate, chips, orange juice, rum, our cheap-ass 40s, and soda.
Then, Becca and I were told to get “club-ready,” which — thankfully in Ibiza — simply means putting on a swimsuit underneath a strapless beach dress and trying not to poke our eyes out while drunkenly applying a fresh coat of mascara. The boys threw on swim trunks and t-shirts, we wrapped our 40s in plastic bags (yes, we were classy — and they were only like €1 each, which is $1.50), and headed out into the chilly night air to walk about a mile to Club Paradis, for which we’d earlier bought pre-paid entrance tickets for €15 each (that was half the price!).
The “house music” (aka. techno) assaulted us immediately upon entering, but I will say this: the enormity of the room, the sunken dance floor, the crisscrossing catwalks with scantily clad dancers, the pure energy of the place was exciting as hell and made me feel like I’d suddenly been transported to Vegas. We pushed our way down into the dance pit, which managed to resemble a giant hot tub under some Greek columns with a bunch of fluffy pillows covering the steps. Beautiful — and I mean imported-from-Eastern-Europe beautiful — costumed dancers did their thing on the catwalks overhead, while some creepy metro guy with spiked hair and high tops walked around playing amplified bongos, and I couldn’t help but think, as a random stranger with only 1 lens in his sunglasses walked up and pet my face, that this whole scene would be best experienced with a hit of ecstasy.
But it was too late for that.
Image from Ibizavote.com.
So we danced. Or at least, Brad, Becca and Justin danced while I attempted to dance. But my buzz quickly wore off from all the stimulation, and after 2 1/2 hours of back-and-forth between the crammed dance floor and the blissfully air-conditioned ladies’ room, I was ready to leave before the main event.
But I didn’t.
I stuck it out.
Because the thing we were waiting for was something I’ll undoubtedly never see again in my lifetime. Most likely because I’ll never stay at a club until 4:30 in the morning again in my lifetime. With each dramatic climb of the techno, we thought the moment had finally arrived. But it hadn’t.
Until, finally, it had.
In a surprisingly anticlimactic change of music from heady techno beats to a cutsie rendition of “Singing in the Rain,” fountains burst forth from the top steps of the dance pit and began filling it with water.
A fact that no one seemed to notice, because we were inside, dancing, and it was raining, people! We’re about to be in a pool! In a club! With our clothes on! Except apparently those are optional because some definitely came off.
Now. If you’re one of those people who gets nervous about swimming in a public pool because some kid might have peed in it, imagine standing in a pool at a club where everyone is wasted. Aside from the flip-flops, plastic cups, and random pieces of clothing I saw floating around on the surface, I can’t imagine what might have been in that water. And after almost getting squashed by a 180-lb. guy who never learned that pools aren’t for rough-housing, I decided it was time to get out. I didn’t want to be a pooper, but I’m sorry — I refuse to be that girl who ends up in the morning headlines because I had my front teeth knocked out on the dance floor steps while partying a little too hard at El Paradis. Stone sober. No way.
Image from spotlight-forums.com.
However, once I was free from the sloppy stew that had once been a dance floor and shivering uncontrollably on the sidelines, I was able to appreciate this as one of those moments I’d likely never come close to experiencing again.
And while I can’t say that’s a bad thing, I also can’t say that I’m not happy we went. If I had it to do over again, I’d definitely bring money for more drinks at the bar. I’d hide a sweater somewhere in the club. I’d take lots and lots of vitamin C. And I’d put my game face on because if anyone’s losing a tooth, it’s the 180-lb. guy who thought he could push me around.
The walk back to our hostel was freezing. And we had to get up in 4 hours to check out and catch a ferry to Formentera. But I slept better than I had during any night on that island.
Maybe because I’d finally moved past the pretty beaches, the sunsets, the shells, and the water, and embraced the true nature of the beast — the thumping, gyrating, strobe-light phenomenon that is, for better or for worse, Ibiza.
So how about you? Do you love going to clubs, or would you rather stay in your jammies eating ice cream and watching reruns of Seinfeld?