Book Review: People From Ibiza by Jose Corbacho & Juan Cruz

I was roaming around my favorite bookstore in Ibiza, the Hiperbole, when a bright pink book with giant yellow letters caught my eye. “People from Ibiza,” I read. I saw the back cover that reads, “summer is the only time of the year that we allow ourselves to be who we truly aren’t. We change. All of us,” and I knew it would be a fun read.Wanting a summer page-turner without giving it much thought, I threw it (respectfully and delicately) in with the others.

"We change. All of Us."
“We change. All of Us.”

The recently published novel People from Ibiza (the title plays off of this song by Sandy Marton. Watch the video and you’ll notice his favorite dance move resembles something like a sperm searching for an egg) by film directors Jose Corbacho & Juan Cruz turned out to be educational, as well as entertaining.

Set in, you guessed it, Ibiza, the novel tells different stories of the most stereotypical tourists that come to Ibiza. It becomes slightly Love Actually-y or Valentines Day-y when some of the stories slightly intertwine, but for the most part they follow their own paths.

As a person who has lived in Ibiza but that is also an outsider and an observer, I found the various profiles of the tourists on point. There was the Liverpool lads, the Italian, the gay German couple, a French chef, and Spanish family. Combining their fictitious stories with landscape descriptions and satirical descriptions of events and places around the island, it’s a novel that’s especially fun to read when you can recognize what they’re referring to.

“Ibiza siempre ofreciendo un abanico de posibilidades”

Reading requires deep thought and correct vision.
Reading requires deep thought and correct vision.

The above quote from the novel, “Ibiza always offers a wide range of possibilities” holds most certainly true when you’re living or visiting. The authors explain the plethora of subcultures that exist around the island, and one that I found frighteningly accurate was that of the West End:

Que mejor lugar en Ibiza para unos ingleses que los alrededores de la bahia de Sant Antoni de Portmany, y su emblematico barrio del West End. Han pasado muchos anos desde que llegaron a esta bella ensenada los primeros turistas extranjeras que visitaban la isla, sin duda atraidos por las mejores playas ibicencas que se encuentran precisamente en esta zona. Pero ahora en el centro de Sant Antoni hay mas happy hours, beer’s corner, fast food y drink and party que otra cosa.

(What a better place in Ibiza for some English guys than the surroundings of the San Antonio bay and its emblematic neighborhood West End. A lot of years have passed since the first foreign tourists arrived to this beautiful cove, that without doubt were attracted by the best Ibiza  beaches that are in this very area. But now in the center of San Antonio there are more happy hours, beer’s corner, fast food and drink and party than any other thing.)

I happened to read that paragraph just as the tourists were beginning to come in huge numbers. I had worked all winter in San Antonio, and during my breaks I ran along the sidewalk that follows the bay. I new something was up when I started getting unwanted catcalls and weird comments in English.

Then as weeks passed, running became impossible, and I was forced to look at new and different wardrobe choices (yes, chokers are in here. Remember these?)

Ibiza is Whatever You Want it to Be

If the novel does anything else, it reaffirms that this island is for everyone, from everyone, from all social classes, backgrounds, and tastes. You can find it all. And then make fun of it.

One of my favorite parts of the novel was the precise description of the island and its many facets. The authors write:

..Pero hay cosas que no las explican en la Wikipedia, como, por ejemplo, que hay tantas Ibizas como personas han pasado por la isla.
Para unos, Ibiza es la noche; para otros, el dia. Para unos, la playa; para otros, el campo. El amanecer o la puesta de sol. El frenesi o la calma. La carne o el pescado. El rock o el dance. El azucar o la sal. El blanco o el negro. El yate o la priagua. Verace o la moda Adlib. El caviar o las patatas. Los clubbers y los hippies. El champan o las hierbas ibicencas. La marihuana o la cocaina. La Cala Benirras o Ses Salines. La discoteca Pacha o Amnesia…
O todo a la vez. Si, mejor todo a la vez.

(Pero there are things that Wikipedia can’t explain, like, for example, that there are so many Ibizas as there are people who pass through it.
For some, Ibiza is the night; for others, the day. For some, the beach, for others, the countryside. Sunrise or sunset. Chaos or calm. Meat or fish. Rock or dance. Sugar or salt. White or black. Yacht or canoe. Versace or Adlib. Caviar or potatoes. Clubbers or hippies. Champagne or yerbas ibicencas. Marijuana or cocaine. Benirras or Salinas. Pacha or Amnesia…
Or all at the same time. Yeah, it’s better to have all at the same time.)

Overall, the novel is no literary masterpiece nor will it change the state of the union, but it was fun to read, and already brought me a sense of nostalgia while I was still living on the island. My recommendation? Read it and enjoy it.

Nota aparte: Not to mention, the book is excellent for those who have a grip on Spanish but want to improve their vocabulary. I learned un mogollón of new phrases. How about entrar al trapo (fall for something, get caught up in, get involved in) or meter baza (to butt in)? How could I continue to live my life without those?

Corbacho and Cruz end their detailed description of Ibiza in the novel with a question, that I will rewrite here… ponder this!

Lo que parece seguro es que, hoy en dia, el mundo se divide en dos: aquellos que han estado alguna vez en Ibiza y los que se mueren de ganas por ir alli.
En que lado estas tu?

(What seems certain is that today, the world is divided in two: thsoe who have been to Ibiza, and those that are dying to go.
Which side are you on?

You better love it enough to stick it on your car
You better love it enough to stick it on your car

Mis Tetas, And Their Debut In Ibiza

“Ninguna teta es perfecta.”/No boob is perfect.

That’s what Erika Irusta R. tells us in the chapter “Mis Tetas” of her book Cartas Desde Mi Cuarta Propio: Colleccion 2013.

She reassures us:

…pero en el cuerpo todo es maravillosamente imperfecto. Asi que una colgara mas, otra menos. Las cuestiones de simetría pueden ser menos sutiles de lo que imaginamos. Tienen vello. Los pezones pueden ser grandes o diminutos.
(…but in our bodies everything is marvelously imperfect. One might hang more, one less. Issues of symmetry can be more subtle than what we imagine. They have hair. Nipples can be big or small).

If living on an island where everything goes has taught me anything, it’s that there is a wondrously big world of possibilities out there, especially when it comes to boobs.

Having never seen so many different types of breasts in my life, I caught myself observing them. I am fascinated. I am in awe. Not in an objectifying way. Not in a creepy way. More as a child (perhaps similar to the one I au paired for), an infant in a world being exposed to its possibilities for the first time.

For people that grew up in societies where going topless at the beach is not only allowed but expected, it is probably not an act of bravery. It just is. It’s probably not given a second thought. But for me, and by being exposed to their “toplessness” and willingness to be comfortable with themselves, no matter what their breast shape, size, color or “imperfection” is most inspiring.

This year was the first time in my life that I reached a personal level of comfortableness with my own body, and the society I was living in could match it and welcome it.

This is where you come in, Ibiza

Ibiza is a unique, absurd, and entertaining place in almost every aspect of life. While it sometimes was difficult for me to swallow or understand, I can’t deny that it is place that somehow (for almost everyone I know) makes you do things you wouldn’t normally do in your everyday environment.

For me, one of those things was going topless at a beach.

For people who did not grow up in an environment that was very hush-hush about bodies, my “journey” might seem completely trivial. I was not only conservative about my body, but even scared of it.

What I didn’t realize, even having traveled previously and having been exposed to other lifestyles, was that I was encouraging of people to do what they wanted, to be proud of their own bodies and not let anyone stand in their way…yet I didn’t let myself do the same (hypocrisy strikes again!).

But when I came to Ibiza, my perspective changed. When you see something (in this case, boobs) on daily basis, it no longer becomes taboo. It’s “normal.” And what’s even more “normal” than seeing so many boobs, is one realizing that, contrary to popular belief, there is nothing normal.

Therefore, my beach times here became the perfect storm of an accepting environment, a changed attitude to be able to shed my bikini top and enjoy my day as I wished.

Take Your Shirt Off,” – T.Pain

The first time I took my top off, I was at Illetes in Formentera. I had gone for the weekend with an Italian friend I hadn’t met too long ago. Her open and general give-no-shits attitude served as silent encouragement for me to do what I had always wanted.

I took it off and laid on my towel. As much as I was enjoying it, I was still slightly self-conscious. As people walked by, I found myself turning over on my towel. It took me 20 minutes to stand up and walk to the water. Sweating profusely, all I really wanted was to go in the water. But I was regretting my decision and mortified by the thought of people looking at me.

I was scared of what they might possibly think. What if they thought my boobs were ugly? What if I disgusted people?

And then it hit me: it doesn’t matter.

It truly doesn’t matter.

This is my body. This is my life. I will never see these people again. And if I do, it still doesn’t matter.

How on earth could I be so deathly fearful of my own body.

I had always said “I don’t care what people think” (within reason and as long as it didn’t damage others) about so many different things in life, and most of the time, I was able to stick to them. But with the topless issue, up until this point, I was horrified about what they thought.

And when I say horrified and deathly fearful, I mean it. The only person who was ever allowed to see my breasts was my older sister, and it is because we are extremely close. No one on dance team in high school, none of my college roommates, none of my friends. And my previous boyfriend…only in the dark.

I once had to do a Samba dance performance and my afro-brazilian inspired top of my costume was difficult to put on and off, and one of my friends was helping me. We were stuck and I had to pull my arm through a strap, and I realized there was a moment where she would have no other option than to see my boobs. My heart was beating so fast, and I started sweating. I felt like perhaps I would have panic attack. Not from the performance nerves, but because one of my closest friends might somehow see my boob.

Part of my body that is mine, and is the way it is. I was so uncomfortable with myself.

So in that moment, at illetes beach, it was the first time that I truly understood what it means to be okay with myself. For the first time in my life, I felt a sense of tranquility that has never happened before.

Ghandi said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

And at that moment, I found something like a unison between those three elements.

Life After Freeing the Nipple

Since beginning to go topless, I’ve had a string of reoccurring dreams of me driving topless, but that’s beside the point. I haven’t dared do that yet, and I’m not sure I will. Right now I’m interpreting those as subconscious happiness and acceptance of my body.

In life while I’m awake, this side of the railroad tracks isn’t wrong. It’s neither good nor bad, like almost everything. It’s different. It’s more carefree. It’s easier.

It’s how I felt when I realized (after years of reading about feminism and having it make sense, but not completely understanding) that I didn’t care what people thought if I had dark leg hair. Life becomes less stressful. If you’re hot, take off your pants and put on shorts. And you don’t have to have a panic attack because you didn’t shave earlier.

Saying f-you to society feels great!

We have so much pressure on so many ends to be so many things. From the moment that I became conscious of its absurdity until the moment I finally took action to change it was long. But it’s a great feeling when you finally do it. I don’t owe anyone explanations. I don’t have to apologize to anyone, or change anything about me to fit in. I am the way I am. And that’s it.

Maybe, someone will approach me on the beach. And in a very direct (we like to say “Spanish” to generalize), non-Anglo-Saxon way, the person might say “your boobs look weird,” or “your boobs have weird shaped nipples.” And I’ll say, “yes,” but take no offense. Because they’re right. But it doesn’t mean they are putting a value statement on them, or wanting me to be afraid of them. It just means that they are telling it like it is, and I can accept it.

And it’s not to say that I’m perfect either. I still am self-conscious in certain company. I am still weary of being topless in crowded beaches or where I might see someone I know.

But it’s all part of the process, and I am very proud of myself for how far I’ve come. Erika Irusta R says,

“…si les hablo. Es posible que este viviendo un ataque de amor por mis tetas y que por ello les hable sin para en un simpático monologo. Ellas siguen mudas pero yo me siento feliz de mantener esta relación.” (Yes, I talk to them. It’s possibel that I’m living through an attack of love for my boobs and because of that I talk to them withought stopping in a funny monologue. They are still silent but I am happy maintaining this relationship).

I’m not sure I’ve reached that point yet, but with more of a conscious effect, I could get there someday.

Erika goes on to say:

“podemos amarles tal y como son o podemos ser creativas con ellas y buscar las maneras que nos acerquen a nuestros deseos. O podemos hacer ambas cosas”… (we can love them exactly how they are or we can be creative with them and look for ways that they get us closer to our desires. Or we can do both things…”

If anything, I hope that this year in Ibiza has opened up a pandora’s box of acceptance of myself and others. The liberating feeling of finally realizing that there is nothing wrong with you is one of the best accomplishments I’ve had so far.

For me, it’s triumph over all society’s damaging opinions, voices, and control. It was empowering in that for the first time, I felt in charge of my own body. And I loved it.

I hope that everyone can experience this feeling. If you even draw your own boobs and accept them for how they are, it’s still strides ahead.

Have you gone topless at a beach? What was  your experience?

Do you live in Ibiza? What else did it teach you?

7 Things I Already Miss Most About Ibiza

I’ve officially moved from Ibiza. Nostalgia has hit me smack dab in the face. Writing from Barcelona right now, I look at photos and my eyes well up with tears. It was a year that I didn’t expect, and instead of being full of wild parties, it was full of important learning lessons.

From dogs slapping my ass and wild grandmothers to being confused my the island (there were also parties too!), the island never ceased to amaze me. I remember arriving and hearing people rave about the it. “It has a special energy,” they would tell me. They explained, “it will trap you in.”

I once picked up an Argentine hitchhiker on her way to work (totally normal in Ibiza, don’t freak out). She said, “this island will suck you in and spit you back up. And if you’re strong enough, will welcome you back in.”

I thought she was jive talking, and didn’t really have a reference to base her explanations off of. Until now, of course.

After just two days of being gone, I feel a void. A typically void that is common after having a positive experience in any place. But perhaps, just perhaps, my need for Ibiza is special and may warrant future visits.

In the midst of my nostalgia, here is the first post reflecting on the island: the 7 things I already miss the most.

1. Sobrasada

Sausages at the Medieval Fair in Ibiza. May 2015.
Sobrasada at the Medieval Fair in Ibiza. May 2015.

Sobrasada, a traditional sausage from Ibiza (also found in other Balearic Islands) had me hooked since the first day I tried it. Squeezing the mushy insides from a transparent casing and spreading it on traditional pan payes gives me almost as much joy as sleeping.

Even better? Put it in the oven for a 1-2  minutes after spreading it on the bread and see the orange tinted grease oozing over the bread, leaving an even more savory taste in your mouth.

2. Flaó 

Perfection: Flao at El Bigote in Cala Mastella.

Originally used as a celebratory dessert around Easter, the cheesecake-like cake proved to be very addictive. The yerba buena added  gives a unique taste and refreshing lift (Try to make your own! Two recipes here and here).

Best served with cafe caleta after a long lunch in the sun. Best place to buy it in Ibiza? Forn Can Coves en Puig d’en Valls.

3. Pan amb alioli

el bigote ibiza
Payes bread, alioli, and olives at El Bigote in Cala Mastella.

Pan payes, alioli and olives on the side are excellent starters. Who cares about garlic breath, it’s irresistible. Any restaurant that doesn’t offer this at the beginning of the meal is a huge disappointment.

4. Podencos

Statues of Podencos In Santa Eulalia, Ibiza.

Also referred to as “those damn Ibiza dogs.” The first time I saw one, it was a domesticated creature with its owners around Ibiza Town. I immediately thought of the dog “Skeletor” in the movie 50/50. These dogs were said to have been brought to the Mediterranean by the Phoneticians. Just a few weeks ago along the Sant Josep highway I saw a pack of around 25 of them. Scared me half to death. You can also see a statue of them at the roundabout near the port in Ibiza Town.

podencos ibiza
Bad photo, but, I was trying to be a responsible driver. Carretera Sant Josep, Ibiza

5. Frigola


A liquor common in the Balearic Islands made from thyme, its sweetness makes it better than yerbas ibicencas and its smoothness can even cure a sore throat. I love it so much, I have many times shared this love with my friends via whatsapp voice memos.

6. Puig d’en Valls

My favorite city

Among friends, we refer to this small town outside of Ibiza Town as “The Puig” (pronounced, “the poooch”). It’s a place where ibicenco is spoken more than Spanish, and old women still stare at you when you walk into their grocery store. I had to pass by it every time I went into “the big city” and was entertained without fail.

7. The fact that everything about it is completely absurd

From the people who walk off the plane like they’re in an Estrella Damm commercial to old hippies screaming at you not to touch their things at various mercadillos around the island, it’s a confusing mix of people and happenings that can only be described as absurd. Every heard of cultural appropriation? They’re the queens of it! If you have a big house in Ibiza, chances are you have decorated it with between 25-37 giant golden Buddha statues. The fact that its inhabited by the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen makes up for it.

Regardless of the aburdity or the cultural appropriation or having it spit me out at times, Ibiza was everything they said it would be and more. It may seem cliche, stupid, and ridiculous, but believe me, it will be unforgettable in any way you allow it to be.

What do you miss about Ibiza?

Daphne and Allison Present: Official Ibiza Dance Tutorial 2015

Maybe you loved my Ibicenco video (for its quality filming and editing) and thought, I hope she’s planning on doing more.

You’re in luck.

After months of being a third party bystander, with absolutely no personal interest in the matter (guess where that line comes from!), we have a few house music dance moves up our sleeve. As you’re walking around Ibiza Town, chances are you’ll hear some beats drop, and believe me when I say you should be prepared to throw that hand up or step touch the shit out of that sidewalk at a moment’s notice.

Parties and painfully boring (personal opinion) house music becomes infinitely more entertaining if you employ some of the moves we suggest in the video, and even more so if you add in a sassy facial expression. Even better than that? Dancing around people, “having a laugh” and making new friends.

Daphne and I spent an evening this week in Playa d’en Bossa, observing the tourists, participating in naughty behavior and making a general raucous. From that lucrative evening comes the following video.


I’m Sad You’re Over, Winter In Ibiza: Top 8 Winter Activities

It’s official. This island is no longer “mine” (as if it ever was). The hordes of tourists have already started piling in, stealing my most coveted parking spaces, screaming in all languages until wee hours of the night, and asking me how I’m in here for holidays (that’s vacation to you, sir).

As you might imagine, such daily occurrences have left me nostalgic for simpler times. Times where I could complain about “traffic” when it was just another car on the road and there were always free (marked by white paint) parking spaces at my disposal. Times where you saw the same creepy men over and over again  instead of seeing new creepy men every day (Sigh. I just want to see the same creepy men! Is that too much to ask?).

I’m kicking myself now for having thought for one second during winter that I wished it was summer (I also can’t say that I hate my life now. I love the beach. Also, that’s absurd thought in itself. My life is awesome!) In Wendy Beentje’s post “Why I love Ibiza” she refers to winter time as the “other Ibiza.” She explains,

Contrary to summer, this time of year allows the islanders to take a break from work and actually make time for one another. Meeting up happens at local events and several markets around the island. I ended up having difficulty choosing between the artisan Sunday Market in Sant Joan and the good vibes of Cala Llenya market. Both come with excellent live music.

I coincide with Beentje’s opinion on the quaintness and closeness the island offers in winter (It is also important to note that, this is my first summer here, therefore I still have no point of comparison). My weekends were jam-packed with social events: hiking, concerts, coffee dates, collaborative dinners and more. As my friend Grace (you may recognize her from this post) liked to reflect, people on this just know how to have fun. Family and friends are of the upmost importance, and there is always time to stop and say hello.

Among my activities, I had some extremely entertaining moments and cultural experiences. Below you’ll find a list of 8 of my favorite events or activities that took place in winter in Ibiza. The list is by no means exhaustive, and heavily influenced by what I was able to do given my work schedule.

If you are in Ibiza in the winter, make sure to check these events out, and be aware that you’ll probably need a car (buses are quite infrequent).

  1. San Mateo Wine Festival
My friends and I roasting sausage.
My friends and I roasting sausage.

An annual event that takes place in December, the San Mateo Wine Festival  was my favorite event. After being a little scarred from the nighttime offerings in Ibiza town, going to this event was so refreshing. Local farmers showcased (and gave for free!) their delicious red wine, and for a small price you could buy all the best Ibiza treats – sobrasada and flaó, to name a couple. The music was lively, the people were happy and talkative, and best of all, it was my first time seeing pagés dancing.

My favorite.
My favorite.

Don’t fear the cold wind in the winter months – fires pouring out of bathtubs will keep you warm!

The best bbq I’ve ever seen
  1. Almond Blossoms in Santa Agnes
Reminds me of Indiana

People had been raving about seeing these for a long time. In attempts not to miss them, my friends and I somehow managed to drive all the way north to Santa Agnes three times in January before actually catching the blossoms. It’s a lovely afternoon easy, relaxing hike to enjoy with friends. See my friend Daphne’s post here.

My friends on a hike around Santa Agnes
  1. La Pintxa Sant Antoni

Read about my experiences furiously stuffing my face with creative pinchos here. As I mentioned in the post, it was a great opportunity to experience San Antonio at night without the yelling and horrifyingly drunk/drugged people. The food was fabulous and the hot fires inside the restaurants were even better.

  1. Can Jordi

I only had the opportunity to visit Can Jordi  a few times, but each time was a pleasant experience. This small bar on the highway to Sant Josep hosts live outdoor music in the winter every Friday night. Musicians and styles vary, but the crowd is always enthused, the food is always my favorite (coca, sobrasada, and flaó), and bonus: the parking attendant is attractive and funny.

  1. Monólogos: Kokotxa or Casanova

Various bars host “monólogos” – stand-up comedy – in the winter. Check for signs around Ibiza Town or San Antonio to know when they are. La Kokotxa is in my opinion, quite seedy but I always have a great time there. The music is of my preference (Top 40 Latin or Spanish rock). Pub Casanova, which I liken to the sister bar of Kokotxa, has a similar vibe and plays similar music styles. The last comedy show I went to at Pub Casanova was Jose Boto, who made some very insightful yet hilarious reflections on people’s behavior during winter in Ibiza. Namely, how lazy we/they are to travel from one city to the next (Ibiza to San Antonio feels like forever).  Daphne also gives her experience at one of Kokotxa’s comedy nights here.

  1. Sundays at Sluiz
Bonus: They have postcards you with weird'funny phrases on it you can send to your friends and family.
Bonus: They have postcards you with weird’funny phrases on it you can send to your friends and family.

Sluiz, probably my all-time favorite store ever, is like someone threw all different furniture and decorating styles together, sprinkled some Ibiza dust on it and called it a day. It is the most eclectic and outrageous conglomeration of goods that for expensive prices can be yours. Aside from being a store, it also boasts a charming café that is home to flamenco concerts every Sunday starting at 4pm. Grab a tea or coffee, curl up on the comfy couches and enjoy.

  1. Traveling, Repeating Themed Concerts
Dressing up in Ushuaia ANTS costumes for La Movida. No, it didn't make sense. But yes, we had fun.
Dressing up in Ushuaia ANTS costumes for La Movida. No, it didn’t make sense. But yes, we had fun.

Different themed parties, such as Flower Power (famed Pacha weekly event during the summer, and massive local gathering in the winter) and La Movida  (named after La Movida Madrileña) are hosted by different town councils and happen every so often during the winter.

Who can resist 3,000 excited, dressed up Ibiza residents dancing all night in tents outside? It’s freezing, but that won’t get them down! The music for me is exceptionally fun, and the relaxed and community atmosphere makes it a must.

         8. Cañas’n’Roll 

Best all-day party ever. Sponsored by the Sant Josep town council, every Saturday in November and December the whole town converts into a bar-hopping, music-listening, and hamburger eating mess. Live music at all of the bars are the perfect combination with beers or wine and pinchos. Going from bar to bar you can enjoy one music and culinary style and then quickly switch to the next.

Friends and I in Sant Josep.
Friends and I in Sant Josep.

What are you favorite Ibiza winter activities? What did I leave out?

MOLT BE: Our Love of Ibicenco

In the image that Ibiza has in the world – that of parties, drugs, sex (the usual) – there is a cultural identity that is often forgotten – its linguistic heritage. In fact, many tourists who come here (as evidenced by many conversations we’ve already had) are completely oblivious to the fact that both Spanish and Ibicenco is spoken here.

Ibicenco – the variety of Catalan spoken in the Pitiusas (Ibiza and Formentera) has been one of the most entertaining aspects of my life here.

Living in an ibicenco household, our dinner table conversations flow between English (which the girl speaks with me), Ibicenco (which the girl speaks with her family), and Spanish (which I speak with the family). Although I understand most of the ibicenco that I hear, my level is basic and my conversation extremely limited (I even spent too much money at the beginning of the year on two textbooks to learn, but failed to dedicate enough time to it).

Therefore, what I am able to pick out of a conversation is usually the same basic phrases. And due to my basic level, I have come to love and appreciate those phrases. By love and appreciate I usually mean throwing them in a conversation after I’ve been drinking, or trying to be funny at school.

In order to really show you how much entertainment we get from this language, you must know how much of that entertainment is self-provoked.

While the language itself isn’t funny, our interpretation and image of it is what gets us every time.

Please enjoy this odd and poorly edited video of us speaking Ibicenco.

Molt Be! Muy Bien! Very Good!

The Ugly Side of Ibiza Town: A Photo Story

One Saturday, my friend Erin proposed to me a photo project: The Ugly Ibiza.

Did you try to google this island and hope for this view?
Photo: Allison Yates

Why on earth, with such beautiful scenery, breathtaking sunsets, and turquoise Mediterranean water, would one want to find the “ugly” parts of it? Just google “Ibiza” and thousands of picturesque views (and not to mention wild parties) will appear on your search screen.

(It’s important to note, that like any term such as “good,” “bad,” “beautiful,” or “ugly” are subjective and open to interpretation. The use of the word “ugly” in this post will be within the perimeters of the widely socially accepted version of “beauty” and “ugliness“)

As we were walking around Dalt Vila in Ibiza Town, Erin turned to me and said, “People come here with their own reality of what they believe Ibiza is. And there is an entire part that they choose not to see.”

“Bus Stop” Photo: Allison Yates

In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s beautiful Ted Talk “The Danger of Single Story,”  she warns us promoting stereotypes and only half of what someone, or in this case, some place, does. While a “single story” dangerously tells one side, that doesn’t reflect reality, but rather the author’s false version of that story, part of the identity, the beauty, and the authenticity of _________ (fill in the blank) is forever lost.

However, reversing the trend to tell a single story rehumanizes us. Adichie explains, “That when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.”

For this reason, Erin and I would like to invite you to see Ibiza Town through our lens. And paradoxically, the “ugly” side, might just be paradise. At least according to Adichie’s explanation.

What is our lens? The Ibiza that is ignored. Some might refer to it as “real life,” or the every day life of a city that is inevitable. Ugly is a loaded term – especially considering when beauty could describe all of the photos, depending on how you look at them.

ibiza town
“Vara de Rey” Photo: Allison Yates

Therefore, we are not promising “the real Ibiza” in these photos; for that would be implying that there is one story to Ibiza. However, we are encouraging you to engage with these photos and notice what is ignored by those who walk through Dalt Vila’s cobblestone streets. Most importantly, many of what makes these photos “ugly” is the man-made destruction behind them. Tourists and locals alike (forget it, all creatures) are often unaware of their impact.

Critics and opinions welcome – leave a comment or tweet at me @yasminesoyyo

ibiza town
“McDonalds” Photo: Allison Yates

Just like any place around the world, Ibiza is full of chain stores and inauthentic consumerism.

ibiza town
“Tits Invasion”
Photo: Allison Yates

If you thought the boobs were only for the beach, you’re wrong. They are also for Graffiti.

“Electrical Dalt Vila”
Photo: Allison Yates
ibiza town dalt vila
“Trash in a UNESCO World Heritage Site”
Photo: Allison Yates
dalt vila ibiza
“Don’t Call Me Puta”
Photo: Allison Yates
“Taking Out The Trash”
Photo: Allison Yates
“Electric Ibiza”
Photo: Allison Yates
“Air Conditioners”
Photo: Allison Yates
“After Party In Dalt Vila”
Photo: Allison Yates
ibiza town
“Sell Me Something I Don’t Know”
Photo: Allison Yates
ibiza town
“Graffiti On Dalt Vila”
Photo: Allison Yates
ibiza town
“Business As Usual”
Photo: Allison Yates
ibiza town
Photo: Allison Yates
Ibiza Town
Photo: Allison Yates
ibiza town
“Trash Day” Photo: Allison Yates
ibiza town
“Calle Vicente Cuevas”
Photo: Allison Yates
ibiza town
“Precarious Housing”
Photo: Erin Morris
ibiza town
“How The Other Half LIves”
Photo: Erin Morris
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“Everyday Routines”
Photo: Erin Morris
Ibiza Town
“World Heritage Preservation”
Photo: Erin Morris
ibiza town
“Abandoned Bar”
Photo: Erin Morris

This project has reinforced the idea that in order to get a feel for the place, you must know all its facets. Similar to how in order to feel closer to people, we must know all of their ups and downs, positives and negatives.

I challenge myself, as I also challenge you, to try to get a feel for the next place you go; find out what makes it beautiful, find out what makes it “ugly.” Find its many sides, its positives and negatives, and there, you will find paradise.