Cafe del Mar Heroes: Lluis Güell

If you are a friend of Café del Mar, you may have heard the name of Lluis Güell. Even if you don’t know his name, his dream is the same as yours, his hand has had his way in shaping your life. It is Lluis, maverick Catalan artist, who channeled eroticism, Christian mythos, il nomine Gaudi, et spiritus modernité, pop-art,  and visionary surrealism. Finally, Güell distilled these ideas into a tangible, earthly form.

The result, of course, was the origin of Café del Mar.

To sit inside the cafe is to be enveloped by the mind of a master artist. For regular people like you and I, it can be hard to understand. Lluis Güell didn’t care about money. He didn’t care about fame or fortune. He didn’t care about public opinion or whether he was considered a success. He didn’t even care if people liked him at all. As a result, I am reminded of the words of The Art of Noise referring to Claude Debussy, the French genius who arguably began modern music as we know it.

“He didn’t believe in the Establishment

He didn’t believe in Bourgeois Convention

He didn’t believe in Beethoven or Wagner

He believed…. in Debussy”

If you are reading this at Cafe del Mar right now, consider listening to Debussy. As Debussy understood the impressionism of music, being the subjective aspect of the art, so did Güell. Both artists grasped intuitively what Paul Bourget meant by the words:

“Il faut vivre comme on pense, sans quoi l’on finira par penser comme on a vécu.”

“One must live the way one thinks or end up thinking the way one has lived.”

 

 

Beginnings/Memories of Lluis Güell

Güell was born in Banyoles, Girona as the Second World War drew to a close. Franco’s Spain had been kept out of the conflict thanks to huge bribes from the British, and so was relatively unscathed by the destruction of global mechanised conflict- if not unscathed by authoritarianism and the civil war of the 1930s.

It’s hard for me to imagine what it must have been like for Güell. He was born twenty years later and a hundred kilometres north from where the great Gaudi died; in a time that politicised faith and suppressed his Catalan language. 

cafe del mar luis guell

We are left only with his art, memories of those that knew him personally, and a dwindling number of buildings touched by the hand of greatness. We are told that Lluis Güell was sometimes difficult to work with. We are told that he could be impossible to compromise with. Consequently, we are told that he could be hard to be friends with.

Isn’t that the case, with genius? It seems like an affliction as much as a blessing, to be surrounded by us mere mortals, placed on an unrequested pedestal and rarely understood.

Güell believed that in the postmodern era, that the disco had replaced the church as a venue for transcendental ecstatic moments.

It is in this mindset that Lluis shaped his architecture, the reflection of his talent.

reflections

Lluis Güell skinsadLluis Güell skinsad bar

The subterranean sexual stalagmites of Club Skinsad in Banyoles, a place that is in design a three-way split between the Moloko Milk Bar in A Clockwork Orange, Luke Skywalker’s House from Star Wars: A New Hope, and The Chauvet Cave in Southern France, documented by Werner Herzog in his 2010 documentary, Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Of course, the effect is astounding; at once a galaxy far away (with distinctly North African decor) a post-modern-futurist drug den, and an ancient religious site, the only record of a people who lived and died over thirty thousand years ago.

es paradis pillar

Lluis Güell es paradis

You might recognise the pillars here if you’re a seasoned clubber (or have been on the island for forty years!). What we are looking at on the right is an aerial shot of Es Paradis, Sant Antoni– before the roof went on. However, the interior that we see is also the work of Güell. Two years of his life went into what remains to many “the most beautiful club in the world”.

 

Lluis Güell summum

The DJ booth in (now closed) Cala de Bou nightclub Summum was a lectern-cum-angelic cloud-decked pagan altar. Overhead, cavorting cherubims sing hosannah in Güell’s new, hip-shaking religion.

A.G (After Güell)

Perhaps, as a culture, we have become more difficult to impress, less prone to fancy; treating whimsy as merely something to be done ironically. Maybe this is why we live in an age of amorphous blobitecture, backward looking and rigid neo-classical, and functionalist eco-structures. Maybe Lluis Güell could only have existed at the convergent point after the post-hippy depression and during the optimistic naïveté of the mid to late 1970s.

Consequently, it seems impossible that that Café del Mar could be built today. First of all, who would be brave enough to claim that an acid-trip ice cream shop of the high seas could not only be realised in three-dimensional space, but be one of the most beautiful examples of interior design of the century? 

In opposition to our current style since the turn of the millennium, immunecafe del mar interior to cynicism (except when working with it conceptually) Güell achieved what is impossible in the age of Facebook likes and Twitter followers. He changed the lives of millions while remaining virtually anonymous. Today people can gain huge wealth and status by playing video games on YouTube in our hyper-connected world, a deeper connection has been made between us all.

Modernity

It seems like todayoday people can gain huge wealth and status by playing video games on YouTube, in our hyper-connected world. What would Lluis have made of this? In any case a deeper connection has been made between us all, and through his art. How many likes for this post? How many shares for these fluted pillars and sexualised clouds.

Güell seems anachronistic in that context. His work is so non-digital and so sensorial, that to even try to put the two worlds together seems perverse. I think Lluis Güell might have enjoyed that juxtaposition were he here to see it. Lluis died on the 13th of December, 2005.

In conclusion, thank you, Lluis Güell. We owe you everything.

 

 

37th Anniversary Competition Terms and Conditions.

  1. Eligibility: This Campaign is open only to those who fulfill the competition requirements at the Cafe del Mar facebook page and who are over 18 years old as of the date of entry. Employees of Cafe del Mar Ibiza, its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, and suppliers, (collectively the “Employees”), and immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of Employees are not eligible to participate in the Campaign. The Campaign is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited.
  2. Agreement to Rules: By participating, the Contestant (“You”) agree to be fully unconditionally bound by these Rules, and You represent and warrant that You meet the eligibility requirements. In addition, You agree to accept the decisions of Cafe del Mar Ibiza as final and binding as it relates to the content of this Campaign.
  3. Campaign Period: Entries will be accepted online starting on 19:00 CET, 02/06/2017 and ending 19:00 CET, 09/06/2017. All online entries must be received by 19:00 CET, 09/06/2017.
  4. How to Enter: The Campaign must be entered by submitting an entry following the instructions on our facebook post. The entry must fulfill all Campaign requirements, as specified, to be eligible to win a prize. Entries that are incomplete or do not adhere to the rules or specifications may be disqualified at the sole discretion of Cafe del Mar Ibiza. You may enter only once. You must provide the information requested. You may not enter more times than indicated by using multiple email addresses, identities, or devices in an attempt to circumvent the rules. If You use fraudulent methods or otherwise attempt to circumvent the rules, your submission may be removed from eligibility at the sole discretion of Cafe del Mar Ibiza.
  5. Prizes: The Winner(s) of the Campaign (the “Winner”) will receive Dinner at Cafe del Mar Ibiza for 4 persons, and a Cafe del Mar CD. Actual/appraised value may differ at time of prize award. The specifics of the prize shall be solely determined by Cafe del Mar Ibiza. No cash or other prize substitution shall be permitted except at Cafe del Mar Ibiza’s discretion. The prize is nontransferable. Any and all prize-related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state, and/or local taxes, shall be the sole responsibility of the Winner. No substitution of prize or transfer/assignment of prize to others or request for the cash equivalent by Winner is permitted. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for Cafe del Mar Ibiza to use Winner’s name, likeness, and entry for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.
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  9. Terms & Conditions: Cafe del Mar Ibiza reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Campaign should virus, bug, non-authorized human intervention, fraud, or other cause beyond Cafe del Mar Ibiza’s control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, or proper conduct of the Campaign. In such case, Cafe del Mar Ibiza may select the Winner from all eligible entries received prior to and/or after (if appropriate) the action taken by Cafe del Mar Ibiza. Cafe del Mar Ibiza reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Campaign or website or violates these Terms & Conditions. Cafe del Mar Ibiza has the right, in its sole discretion, to maintain the integrity of the Campaign, to void votes for any reason, including, but not limited to: multiple entries from the same user from different IP addresses; multiple entries from the same computer in excess of that allowed by Campaign rules; or the use of bots, macros, scripts, or other technical means for entering. Any attempt by an entrant to deliberately damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of the Campaign may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such attempt be made, Cafe del Mar Ibiza reserves the right to seek damages to the fullest extent permitted by law.
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  11. Disputes: THIS Campaign IS GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF SPAIN AND ISLAS BALEARES, WITHOUT RESPECT TO CONFLICT OF LAW DOCTRINES. As a condition of participating in this Campaign, participant agrees that any and all disputes that cannot be resolved between the parties, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Campaign, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court located in Ibiza having jurisdiction. Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances shall participant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to, punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, including reasonable attorney’s fees, other than participant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. costs associated with entering this Campaign). Participant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.
  12. Winners List: To obtain a copy of the Winner’s name or a copy of these Official Rules, mail your request along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Cafe del Mar Ibiza Carrer de Lepant 27, Sant Antoni de Portmany,Ibiza – Spain. Requests must be received no later than 19:00 CET, 10/6/2017.
  13. Facebook: If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a contest or sweepstakes, include the following: The Campaign hosted by Cafe del Mar Ibiza is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.
  14. By entering the competition, You, the Contestant, have affirmatively reviewed, accepted, and agreed to all of the Official Rules.

Ibiza Hippy Markets Guide 2017 (And the other Markets too!)

Ibiza Hippy Markets are world famous.

I don’t know about you, but there are few things that are finer than trawling the markets of Ibiza.

Theoretically, you could go to an Ibiza market every day of your stay. All you need is some transport and a wide brimmed hat to protect yourself from the sun.

I suppose you could do what I do and just pick up a new one on your first day of browsing. At the start of the season, I pick up a trusty new hat for the summer and hope it lasts. You do tend to get what you pay for with headgear as with all things, but seven euro for a paper hat that lasts three months (if I’m lucky) is fine enough for me!

I digress already, and the blog hasn’t even started. Easy to do when you start thinking about getting lost in the markets. I am of course blessed to be able to take my time over my visits to the Ibiza Hippy Markets, the flea markets, and the farmer’s markets. All have a special place in my heart, for different reasons. Here’s the low down on the markets you can get to on your visit to Ibiza; there is honestly something for everybody.

Ibiza HIPPY MARKET PUNTA ARABI

ibiza hippy market punta arabi

Where is Ibiza Hippy Market Punta Arabi?  Es Cana
When is Ibiza Hippy Market Punta Arabi? Every Wednesday
– April, May & October from 10.00 – 18.00
– June, July & September from 10.00 – 19.00
– August from 10.00 – 20.00

We’ll begin with the big daddy. The world famous Ibiza Hippy Market Punta Arabi. For 44 years the market has been growing, from a small collective of arts and crafts-minded hippies to a powerhouse with over 500 stalls, live music and a multitude of food stands.

With such a huge site come demands beyond that of the average market. The revenues and the accompanying human traffic are massive, which means in August it can become too much for those of us with small children or movement issues. Nevertheless, there is no other market on Ibiza with such a wide variety of products. From leatherwork, hand –crafted jewelry and kitschy chintz to unique fashions. It’s pretty safe to say that the bohemian styles on Ibiza are inimitable, and you’re not likely to find such a large gathering of the signature Ibizan fashion anywhere else.

BEST FOR: Getting lost in the crowds and finding adventure.

Mercadillo Artesanal Dominical Sant Joan de Labritja

Sant jordi ibiza hippy market

Where is the San Joan Market? Main Street, San Joan de Labritja

When is the San Joan Market? Every Sunday from 10.00 – 15.00

Sant Joan is a sleepy village in the North of the Island, untouched by mass market tourism. This is the playground of the O.G hippies from the 60s and 70s, mixing with the agro-tourists, artists, and Ibicencans. You might suspect with this melting pot of residents that Sant Joan has an unusual hippy market. And you’d be right! As with most things in Sant Joan, it’s just a little more classy.

This is an artisans market with a cultured air, selling fresh fruits and vegetables, organic products, fresh bread, homemade olive oil- some of the best on the island- and of course the second-hand goods that are ever present.

An atmosphere of cool class awaits you. Not the brash nouveau riche styling that pretends to class, but the kind of dignity that comes from sincerity.

Handmade organic, wellness and aromatic goods, therapists of Eastern medicine, live music and second-hand stalls jumble along together with the sound of live music. You can walk from one end of Sant Joan to the other in five minutes, but don’t miss out on seeing the church. It is a beautiful example of the 18th Century architecture that features in most churches on the island. Stop in at The Giri Café for lunch and experience the North island culture with some great food.

Music starts at around midday after the morning mass has taken place, and the ambient sounds flow perfectly with the laid back atmosphere. Sant Joan is a million miles away from clubland.

BEST FOR: Stepping back in time.

IBIZA HIPPY MARKET LAS DALIAS

Las dalias ibiza hippy market

Where is the Ibiza Hippy Market Las Dalias? San Carlos

When is the Ibiza Hippy Market Las Dalias? – Every Saturday, all year round.

April to October from 10.00 to 20.00
October to April from 10.00 to 18.00

Once upon a time, back in 1985, gallery owner Helga Watson and Juanito Marí started the first Las Dalias market with five stalls of handicrafts, clothes and small treasures from the East. Today, 32 years later and with more than 200 stalls, this spirit is maintained: gifts made with great love and care for people who appreciate originality and entrepreneurial spirit.

Probably the widest variety of crafts available anywhere on the island – at least consistently – Las Dalias has grown so famous as to go on tour around Europe during the winter months. The market organization also sponsors a literary prize for Catalan writers, and is an active participant in the promotion and care of Ibiza abroad, cementing their pace in island culture.

As with the other hippy markets, music plays a big part with both live bands and DJs, and a great hippy party ‘Namaste’ every Wednesday throughout the summer months.

Since 2005 Las Dalias Night Market has taken place between 19:00 and midnight on Mondays and Tuesdays, from June. This inspired move enables everybody to get a chance to visit, and if you’re not a fan of crowds this more chilled sunset session is for you. Bring the little ones at any time and the Kids Space performers will entertain them with puppet theatre and games. I see many grateful parents taking a welcome break this way!

In the offseason for you all year las dalias night ibiza hippy marketresidents, Las Dalias arranges an annual Christmas Market, Holy Week (Semana Santa) and a great Easter Market too.

BEST FOR: the perfect evening shopping

SANT JORDI MARKET

San jordi ibiza hippy market

Where is Sant Jordi Market? San Jordi Hipódromo

When is Sant Jordi Market? Saturdays from 08.00 to 15.00

The Rastrillo or flea market at Sant Jordi will have forever a place in my heart. When we first moved to the island last year we lived a 2km hike up the road from the old Hipodrómo. Naturally, one of the first things we did was march back down, melting a little in the April heat, to lose ourselves in the chaos.

One part Bartertown from Mad Max (Beyond Thunderdome, the one with Tina Turner) and one part jumble sale with bongo drummers, Sant Jordi is always a surprise. Whether it’s people clearing their houses, traders with handcrafted clothes or art, even industrial and gardening equipment- there’s something for everyone.

If you’re around towards the end of the season you can find some real bargains. The summer residents sell off the things they won’t take home which means low prices! I picked up a snorkeling mask last year for two euros. As a Yorkshireman (famed for having short arms and deep pockets) that was a real delight.

BEST FOR: Finding the things you never knew you needed or wanted.

MERCADILLO HIPPY CALA LLONGA

cala llonga ibiza hippy market

Where is the Ibiza Hippy Market Cala Llonga? Cala Llonga

When is the Ibiza Hippy Market Cala Llonga? : May to October, Thursdays from 18.00 until Midnight

Cala Llonga is a great destination for a visit at any time, but take my advice and go and enjoy this great sheltered beach on a Thursday. After relaxing on some of the softest sand on the island, watch and wait.

Local artisans will bring their stalls, packed with handmade trinkets and artifacts from right here on Ibiza. There is quite often a stall that sells handcrafted beauty products, including a salt scrub made from Ibizan salt. Cala Llonga Market is one of the smallest ones on the Island, but it still has a great range of items. The Thursday night market is also the time when the locals come to gather to talk.

In addition, live music is also a frequent occurrence.

BEST FOR: Browsing under the stars

ES MERCAT DE FORADA

forada market ibiza hippy market

Where is the Forada Market? The parking lot opposite Can Tixedo.

When is the Forada Market? Saturdays from 10:00 until 16:00

On the road that winds East, past the vineyards and over the hill, there is a crossroads. North lies the almond groves of Santa Agnes. To the South is Sant Rafel (and Amnesia, of course) and further east is the villages of Santa Gertrudis and Sant Llorenc. However, if you go down to the crossroads on a Saturday, you will find the sweet art café Can Tixedo. This cafe not only has great tapas but also hosts a unique eco-market on the weekend.

The great thing about the Forada Market is that only local environmental and humanitarian groups participate. This means that only natural products are sold, and what a range! Carob chocolate, olive oils, Hierbas, bread and vegan paella casero. There’s even a stall that sells beauty products made from aloe vera and rosemary that grows right here on Ibiza. Organised by the Cooperativa Integral d’Eivissa, the entire concept is based on a philosophy of self-sufficiency to preserve the Ibizan environment for everybody. This makes Forada market great for the soul as well as the belly.

BEST FOR: Boosting your karma points

ONCE UPON A TIME market

once upon a time ibiza hippy market

Where is the Once Upon A Time Market? Boutique Hotel Las Salinas

When is the Once Upon A Time Market? Every other Saturday, check here for details

Once upon a time is something a bit different. With a focus on music and the coolest fashions, Once Upon A Time are also collaborating with party merchants Unusual Suspects for some daytime events at Benimussa Park. The theme is strictly handmade, high quality and eclectic, with jewelry, cosmetics, and clothing all boutique in style. And price.

A world away from the near-carnage car-boot of Sant Jordi, you can hobnob here with fashionistas, DJs, promoters… and of course regular folk like me looking for some new threads.

BEST FOR: Getting the look that no-one else has.

ibiza hippy market playa den bossa

Where is Playa D’en Bossa Street Market? Here

When is the Playa D’en Bossa Street Market? Every day from May until September, 18:00 -23:00

A relatively small market that pops up to capitalise on the ready supply of tourists in Playa d’en Bossa, this is sixty or so stalls with the usual range of goodies. Admittedly you won’t find the range of Punta Arabi. Or the class of Sant Joan, or the free-for-all of Sant Jordi for that matter. Even so, if you’re staying in the PDB area it is super convenient.

It’s like an advert to go to a bigger market or an opportunity to pick up something you forgot to buy when traveling further afield.

BEST FOR: Doorstep shopping

IBIZA TOWN MARKETS

ibiza hippy market medieval market ibiza town

Finally, we come to the big smoke. There are a few markets that serve the ‘city’, the most famous being the annual Medieval Festival and Fair. Inside the walls of Dalt Vila on the second weekend in May, the island celebrates her history and place on the World Heritage list. Over a long weekend, medieval costumed people fill the streets, selling suitably themed foods and gifts. The event is great entertainment for everybody.ibiza hippy market ibiza town

Ibiza Town Harbour also has an evening market throughout the summer from 18:00 until past midnight. The street market sells clothes, trinkets, and other goodies. My favourite? the real gem is the Old Market which takes place by the drawbridge to Dalt Vila every day except Sunday. This is the real flavour of the city, with incredible local flowers, vegetables, and fruits- it’s an explosion of colour and aromas.

Have you been to all the Ibiza Hippy Markets? Let us know your favourite in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

Best Beaches in Ibiza: Es Canaret

 

Everybody asks me at Café del Mar, hey, you live here- where are the best beaches? Well, good news, everyone! Today we’re going to look at one of the best beaches I’ve ever found on Ibiza. 

I was reading through some Diario de Ibiza articles the other day, brushing up on my Spanish, when I came across a story that really grabbed my attention. With a little bit of further investigation through Google Maps, I grabbed my camera and my trusty 50cc scooter and headed to the north of the Island on a great adventure. On a quest to visit them all, I search religiously for the best beaches, the secret beaches, and I’m happy to report my findings to you. No charge!

The article I read I will summarise for you here- hopefully, I get the story true enough. According to the writer in Diario, there are three types of man. The Essential Man, who lives according to nature, builds his own house and bothers little with the outside world. Then there is The Insatiable Man, who fuelled by ambition grabs opportunities and forges new paths. Finally, comes The Introspective Man, who reflects and works in metaphor.

Ancient History of One of the Best Beaches of Ibiza

What has this got to do with a secret beach, I hear you cry into your mojito, just tell me how to get there. Well, patience, I’m getting to that. First, we need a history lesson about Es Canaret.

Many moons ago when I was young and you were even younger, there was a farmer by the name of Bartomeu Torres d’en Marçà. He is The Essential Man in the story. In years past he owned the land close to the cove, growing vines, making wine and keeping chickens and rabbits on an islet a couple of metres off the coast. Why risk your animals wandering off when you can keep them on Rabbit Alcatraz? Practicality embodied. 

islet in the cove of Es Canaret
This island: inescapable if you are a chicken

After Bartomeu came a retired World War II army captain, who bore the preposterously archetypal German name of Siegfried Otto. Arriving flush with post-war currency, (he owned the business that printed Deutschmarks back then, and Euros today) Otto began construction with Teutonic efficiency. While Otto lived on the island for thirty years or more, he battled with the local authorities as he demanded sole access to Es Canaret- which was repeatedly denied. The robust Ibicencans also denied Otto his last wish, to be buried on his land, and so for the last twenty years, he lies in the cemetery at Sant Joan.  So ends the tale of The Insatiable Man.

Into modernity… and beyond

Cue the third and final tenant of the land, the famous architect Germán Rodríguez Arias. With a history of minimalist architecture, Arias reshaped the buildings to something more fitting for the cove, as well as installing gardens unlike any on the island. Reflecting and working in metaphor, Arias is the introspective man, standing between his predecessors and linking both. That’s how it goes in Diario, says a lot about the quality of Spanish newspapers- far superior to the English ones. It’s like poetry.

OK- enough of the back story. The beach of  Es Canaret is 60 metres of sand and gravel, overlooked by the white tower of Herr Otto. The waters are crystal blue, some of the most spectacular on the island. The natural protection of the cove ensures that the waters are calm and usually free of jellyfish. Doesn’t that sound like the one of the best beaches ever?

How to get there

From Sant Joan, take the road north to Portinatx for about 2 kilometres. After a very steep curve, you will see the entrance to the Ca sa Vilda Marge farmhouse on the right. In front of this, there is a paved road to the left- this is the road you want.

Follow this road and pass some dirt paths until the tarmac forks two or three kilometres later. Then, take the road on the right (the sign reads ‘Xarraca’) and then turn on the third dirt road on the left.

Still with me?

If you’re on the right path, the road has should have a low stone wall to the left, and forest to the right. As you near the coast you will reach the entrance of a house. There you have to turn right until you reach a parking lot next to a water tank, 200 meters ahead. Park your car or scooter, there is no road from here on.  

best beaches ibiza sendero publico peatonal

Behind the water tank is a path that leads to the cove, it will be marked with wooden signs reading ‘sendero publico peatonal’.  I had to look that one up, but I am reliably informed that this is ‘public footpath.’ Basically, you get to this sign, and you’re nearly there.

Remember to bring water, some snacks and sun lotion; the heat can be prodigious. When you finally arrive, you are greeted by a glorious, secluded and quiet beach even in high season. Es Canaret provides some of the best snorkeling on Ibiza. Even so, the only competition for spaces on the beach will come from other intrepid adventurers (who are kindred spirits and friends on your quest for the best beaches) and those who have simply sailed east from Bennirás and found the cove from the sea.

If you have fortitude and adventure in your heart this summer, go and find Es Canaret. It truly is a wondrous place to spend the day.

Get the directions

Spending Time, Earning Time. Ibiza Time.

What is time? To answer this, I will begin by using a sophomoric rhetorical device often used by writers to look smarter than we are. That means I’m going to quote from Aristotle.

He said “time is the most unknown of all unknown things”, which in a post-Donald Rumsfeld world has some odd and inappropriate parallels. We perceive time in part due to our cultural conditioning; in short, where you are from dictates how we experience time. It is not the case that we are oblivious to this phenomenon, where our cultures overlap we see the differences.

Because I am a British immigrant to Ibiza, I have my internal British Time which often conflicts with Ibicencan Time or Spanish Time. It’s a relic of the tangible past. My partner definitely considers her Polish Time to be the pinnacle when it comes to an accurate representation of temporal reality. Considering the number of times I have been late, you, dear reader, should agree with her.

Reality Tunnels

For all the times I have been thrown into confusion as to the exact format of a siesta, I could just as easily count apoplexy among my countrymen for our perceived inability to run a functioning rail network. Despite having over 4000 years experience with our sexagesimal timekeeping system, we all run on different clocks.

drums on benirras beach
Some human behaviours are beautifully anachronistic

So, the conclusion we can draw from this comparative experience of time is that time is in the mind- at least in the subjective sense. What is a long time? What is a short time? St. Augustine posed the conundrum in this most noteworthy way:  It cannot be what is past, since that has ceased to be, and what is non-existent cannot presently have any properties, such as being long. But neither can it be what is present, for the present has no duration. 

To borrow a line from The Smiths, how soon is now? 

When you say it’s gonna happen “now”

Well, when exactly do you mean?

See I’ve already waited too long

And all my hope is gone”

Miserable for sure, because Morrissey is from England.

Maybe we should read these words as an exhortation to live in the moment. In another revealing illumination of this writer’s incredibly nerdy music taste, the prog band Tool has this to offer on the subject:

“Feed my will to feel this moment urging me to cross the line.

Reaching out to embrace the random.

Reaching out to embrace whatever may come.”

Furthermore, there’s the quintessentially relate-able tale of how the fear of mortality and wasted years nibbles on the nerves, by Pink Floyd.

“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day

Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way

Kicking around on a piece of ground in your hometown

Waiting for someone or something to show you the way”

Time and Space, Space and Time

A sculpture of Time and Space, Ibiza
Time and Space, rendered in stone

So what are we talking about when we talk about time? Is it the mental theological cartwheels of St. Augustine, the Unknown Unknowns of Aristotle? The poetics of miserable English musicians? Lets see what the opposite view from the sciences of the mind can tell us.

Land of the Headshrinkers

One of the founders of modern psychology was William James. He contended that ‘the prototype of all conceived times is the specious present, the short duration of which we are immediately and incessantly sensible’ (James (1890). All well and good- but I for one am not immediately sensible at all moments; in fact the opposite, far from it. My mind wanders all over the place to be quite honest, as you have probably gathered from this piece of writing. 

Eckhart Tolle, a contemporary writer, distills much of the esoteric philosophies of religion into a suggestion to be present in the moment. Tolle is talking about being aware in the specious present, much as Gilmour reminds us to pay attention to our finite existence on Earth. As James Maynard Keenan tells us to expand our horizons. While St. Augustine considers the present moment to be timeless and never ending, only the past being measurable and quantifiable.

Café del mar
sometimes time stands still

And the Band Plays On…

I’m writing about time today as I’ve recently (if recently actually exists) been struck by the many-times and many-minds that experience Ibiza. The sun is the same, in a relative way, as Floyd sang. Probably because the relative experiences of all of us are unique. A product of the individual histories from our disparate cultures and the multitude of demands on our time. I wonder about if there is any hope that we can see time the same way at all. Is that even desirable? 

I look around at Café del Mar and notice how time works differently for all of us. The guests experiencing our atmosphere for the first time, I wonder if it’s different, this moment, to what is experienced by my friends who return day after day.

Objectively speaking, we are in the same place at the same time (whatever that actually means). As we know, the experience of time is subjective in the extreme. It may well be the most personally biased sensation we humans possess.

If the earth spins differently for you, can we see things the same?

The sensation that time is the enemy is quantifiable. Studies show that walking speed is directly correlatable to the size of the towns in which we live- a Madridista literally walks faster than a Rojiblanco on their way to the stadium. Maybe you have noticed this yourself, either being annoyed by the slow moving country folk as you try to get where you need to go, or bewildered by the city-dwellers who are surely rushing their lives away. The Madridista and the Azulgrana probably experience the 94th minute of El Clasico quite differently too, depending on the scoreline of the game.

Furthermore, when we are seeing and feeling the same things outside of ourselves, the internal story is subject dependent- the ultimate individuality. At the Café we are lucky, guests and workers alike. We are joined each evening by the resetting of the clock. A group of individuals united by external context, the collaboration between the Sun, a DJ and Ibiza’s shoreline.  As a result I feel those moments when we witness the sunset, that time itself slows to crawl. Not subject to our constructions of sexagesimal time or pressures of appointments.

And then, it is over- the night has begun, and the Café del Mar party begins.

Speaking of which, we have a lot of work to do in real-time. I’ll see you all tonight, or on the next post. In the meantime, let’s try to experience time in a positive way. Yet, pay attention to where we are, what we are doing, and who we are doing things for.

In Search of the Ibizan Wall Lizard

The Ibizan Wall Lizard. Cool as heck.

Lizards licking an ice cube

Ah, nature! Living on Ibiza has many benefits, but being surrounded by such a beautiful environment is surely in the top one or two. Those of you who have visited Ibiza before or live here year round will know the Wall Lizard well. These little neighbours are surprisingly confident unless startled, and are full of character.

If you don’t like these guys then I don’t know if we can be friends. I mean how cute can you get?!

We might think that humans own Ibiza, with our concrete and noise and clubs, but this is a lizard island.  It’s their backyard. We are relatively new arrivals. 

Image6

I make absolutely no apologies for being a total nerd for the Ibizan Wall Lizard. What stars these guys are. The fascinating aspect for me is how the Wall Lizard has adapted to life on Las Pituisas. By most measurements small islands are not good environments for non-aquatic lizards, the food supply can be scarce, and competition high.

Strange adaptations

The fact that these lizards are so numerous is an indication to us that something very peculiar has happened to a species that at one point would have been completely carnivorous.

They learned to eat fruit.

I have discovered through über-scientific trial and error tests in the field (I lie on the beach and throw bits of fruit at lizards) that this species is particularly fond of grapes, but will go for strawberries as well. Apparently these guys will also eat smaller lizards and lizard eggs if given the opportunity, along with their usual diet of ants and insects. While cannibalism is pretty grim, again this is an adaptive response to living on islands. When there’s less prey available, a smaller lizard starts looking pretty good.

Wall Lizards also dine on flowers, nectar and seeds when they can find them, which means that on Ibiza we have lizards that pollinate. Imagine that!

The lizards also help the plants spread out by eating fruits and then depositing the seeds far from the original plant. Isn’t that cool?

Don’t feed the lizards Cheetos though. They’re not good for anyone.

Evolution in Action

It is an evolved strategy of survival that is produced by the millennia long isolation on Ibiza and Formentera that these lizards have experienced. We see the effect of evolution in other ways too. The colours of the Ibiza Wall Lizard are more varied than the trinkets that bear the shape of the reptile at Las Dalias Market.

The Wall Lizard, sort of.
Pay attention class, this is NOT a Wall Lizard.

What will surprise you to learn is that the coloured lizards are geographically segregated. The lizards in the North and South are different colours, as are the East and West. The wall lizards that live on Es Vedra are a deep purple, for example.

On Formentera, the effect is astounding. The Formentera Wall Lizard is brighter and larger than its Ibicencan cousin, and the colours are astonishingly vivid. Separated only by short distances, what we see is dozens of sub-species of lizard scattered across the islands.

On Formentera the lizards show off bright colours.
On Formentera the lizards show off bright colours.

Amazingly, we don’t know exactly why these lizards have adopted such a wide variety of markings. Some theorise that large, bright lizards are broadcasting their prowess to other lizards, to stake claim on territory.  In an evolutionary sense, this works for smaller lizards too.  It would be a bad day indeed to fight a lizard that is much bigger than he looks. Much better for everyone to see from a safe distance who is a competitor, and who is simply going to eat you.

So what is the other lizard on Ibiza?

Through a combination of what I describe as interpretive artistic representation and simple ignorance, the lizard that appears on merchandise and throws and fabric bags and bumper stickers is the wrong lizard.

Not an Ibizan Wall Lizard
Just wrongness in every sense

 

What we have ended up with is a mish-mash of the Ibizan Wall Lizard and this guy. This is a Moorish Gecko, who’s name should tell you his origin. This guy is the one you might see skittering up your wall at night on his suckered toes, and while he is very cool he lacks personality, which the Wall Lizard has in spades.

Ibizan 'wall lizard' art
This is not a Wall Lizard. It’s a lizard that crawls on walls.

So, this is what is commonly thought of as the symbol of Ibiza. Compared to the other photos I’ve posted here, you can see that there’s been a misinterpretation of the brief. You can see that this silhouette is clearly that of the foreign invader, the Moorish Gecko. Note the splayed feet with rounded toes, compared to the slender claws of the Ibizan Wall Lizard.

Why this has happened is easy to understand. The Ibizan Wall Lizard acquired it’s name because it likes to hide in the nooks and crannies of walls. The Moorish Gecko is more likely to be seen on the walls of your apartment as it hunts for mosquitoes.

A Wall Lizard, despite its name, is actually incapable of climbing vertical, smooth walls like the gecko, and so the confusion has arisen. Probably. I’m not a lizard expert.

Sympathy for the Reptile

I don’t think the Wall Lizards mind too much that we draw them wrong, though. They seem above such petty concerns as that.

There’s something I’d like to finish with that occurs to me when I meet the lizards on my travels. The Wall Lizard is cold blooded, which we think as being inferior to our internally regulated, mammalian temperature.

In some ways for sure.  There’s a lot to be said for being a mammal, we have opposable thumbs and Netflix for a start. There is another perspective to take though. The lizards are far more in tune with their environment than we are. They allow themselves to respond to the world rather than struggling in vain to bend it to their will.

In this way, the Ibiza Wall Lizards are able to tolerate much higher levels of internal heat than we are, absorbing the energy for use in movement. Is it because of this that you never see a stressed Wall Lizard? Lizards might move quickly sometimes, but always with that knowing smile on their faces.

They get the Café del Mar mentality, instinctively.

Maybe we could learn a thing or two ourselves, about ourselves.

Perhaps we could stand to be like the Wall Lizard in our day to day lives. Adaptable to our changing environments, never letting the heat get to us. Understanding that when others misrepresent us or paint us inaccurately, it’s usually not about us at all, it is more likely to be a lack of understanding or a misconception.

Taking a tip from the Wall Lizard, it might be good to remember it’s no big deal, and there’s still plenty of sweet fruits in the world.

 

Ibiza 2017: Catch-up with Café del Mar! The season behind us and the season ahead.

So here we are once again my friends! It’s the new season at the legendary Café del Mar in San Antonio Bay, Ibiza.  

On the 12th of April 2017, we celebrated our opening to herald another season of sun, sand, sea, and the best of times with friends and family.

Café del Mar
These guys know their way around an Aperol Spritz

I thought I’d open up the first English language blog by giving you my perspective on the island in winter. When the clubs close and most people go back to their homes around the world, what happens on Ibiza?

I live on Ibiza all year round- which is of course super tranquil and beautiful during the off season. As a part time writer (when I don’t have tables to serve at Café del Mar), the quieter months give me breathing room to put pen to paper. I try to experience all the things I heard about during the summer, but never found the time to discover.

The winter here is almost deserted. There’s hardly any tourism. Many Ibicencans also leave for a while, to holiday or visit friends and family on the Spanish Peninsula.

Café del mar
The easiest time to visit us without reservation? When we’re closed. Always book ahead!

The result is truly amazing. A village island almost to ourselves. The few people that remain gather at St Jordi market on a Saturday, and the half empty hipodromo becomes the city centre.

The airport diminishes from a plane landing every minute to some deserted length of tarmac that a tube of screaming metal falls on sometimes. Noisy giants dropping through the winter clouds and disgorging maybe half a dozen humans from inside. Including the crew!

A year on Ibiza changes your perspective. A year ago  we were stunned by the calm of Ibiza. My fiancée and I arrived on the island, on the 2nd of April 2016 after a pan-European adventure in a van that was at best a death trap. At worst it was a malevolent entity, a possessed, demonic machine with a cracked radiator who was determined to strand us in France.

New Beginnings

Our first rental room was in Ses Salines, a short hike through the bushes to the Torre de sa Sal Rossa and the very southern tip of Plat’ja den Bossa. Time then felt like the calm before the storm, since the beach was essentially empty.

We walked from one end of the beach to the other and saw perhaps two people. At the time it was strange, like the feeling of being somewhere secret, like being a child who has sneaked into school when all the teachers had gone home. But it was so tranquil. Like the sea, the tides of Ibiza mimic breathing itself. Hot on the heels of this tranquility the intensity of the high season crashed in, and so we were submerged in a blistering schedule and surrounded by chaos. 

The summer races by so fast it feels like each month is a week and each week is a day.

Across the island of Ibiza spring is a season of change. The almond blossoms in St Agnes start to fall, and this always tells us that the days of wearing woolly jumpers are over. It might surprise you but Ibiza does sometimes get cold; well, relatively speaking. 

Café del mar
This place actually exists, and it is amazing.

Island Duality

This time of year is a peculiar feeling on the island, as you see the streets slowly become busier as the hotels and apartments start sprucing up. Men in hi-vis vests are more numerous. The sounds of heavy drills and saws fill the air as repairs and new buildings are completed.

Yet as I write this blog we’re coming into the time of rebirth. As the energy is driven by the rising temperature returns to the Mediterranean, the cloudy days become less frequent. The flamingos at Ses Salines get a little noisier before flying off to the mating grounds in Europe.

Those of us who are here all year round feel the changing of gears. The streets are no longer deserted and the temperatures are creeping up. For many of my friends, it’s a bittersweet moment because they already miss the winter tranquility. I can understand that perspective.

Those brave Season Workers who are reading can tell you, summer in Ibiza is unique, challenging, and exhausting.

Give thanks!

But then, I remember gratitude. I am lucky to be here, at Café del Mar Ibiza. Even in the bustle of a peak season, surrounded by many people, we are all united. The tranquil, enervating and near tribal experience of witnessing the greatest sunsets on Earth.

Café del mar sunsets
You never forget your first time, right?

 

Are you joining us for your first sunset and Caipirinha or Mojito? or are an old friend coming back to the family? We all live for the summer season. As much as I was glad for the winter break at the end of Ibiza 2016, I’m now looking forward even more to my second season of sunsets at Café Del Mar.

The season ahead of us

So, what can you expect from our blog this year? Well, between you and me I thought that this season we’ll change it up a bit. The first and most obvious change is that now, since we have changed writers, we’re writing in English! My Spanish is improving, poco y poco, but I’ll stick to my native tongue here.

This blog will take you through what it is like to live full time on Ibiza, and of course how it is to work at Café del Mar. Mainly because I want to explore the history of this Café that has treated me so well, and brought such happiness to the world.

I’ll bring you some great interviews with the cool people I work with (and some DJs if I can grab them at Café del Mar) and talk about the secret history of the White Island. Then I plan on getting out with my camera and exploring Ibiza for myself. Look out for me on my little black scooter and say hi!

I’m also going to to see if I can get some secrets out of our bartenders, so maybe they will show us how to make Café del Mar’s secret mojito recipe to enjoy in your home, or hotel, or beach… or in the office.

mojito cafe del mar ibiza
Drink in your office responsibly

Finally, I’m so looking forward most to getting to know you all; Encantado y mucho gusto.  I’ll be back here next week with a new article, and every week through the summer and beyond. 

I’ll probably be sitting down soon with the legendary El Chino, resident DJ Ken Fan himself in the near future. So, any questions you want me to ask him, let me know in the comments!

Peace, Sunsets, and Never-Ending Café del Mar Cocktails to you.

Los orígenes de la música Chillout (I)

Regularmente los chicos de Café del Mar Music os van presentando sus compilaciones en Spotify con los ritmos chillout que más están sonando en los últimos meses. Muchas veces nos dejamos llevar por el ritmo y no nos paramos a pensar sobre los orígenes de este género musical que tantas alegrías y momentos nos ha brindado en el pasado. Continue reading Los orígenes de la música Chillout (I)

Vivir como los árboles

En Café del Mar hemos pasado muchas etapas, algunas han sido inolvidables, otras mejorables, ha habido grandes momentos, momentos tristes… pero así es la vida, ir concatenando etapas e ir afrontando retos. En Café del Mar, aunque vivamos en el paraíso de Ibiza, nos enfrentamos, como cualquier grupo de personas, a situaciones complicadas y, con el tiempo, se aprende a capear los temporales de la mejor forma posible. Continue reading Vivir como los árboles

Aceptar los cambios para vivir mejor

En Café del Mar hemos visto y vivido miles de situaciones. Por este rincón de Sant Antoni de Portmany pasa mucha gente, entre turistas, locales y trabajadores. A veces, en Ibiza también hay mala mar, porque que sea un paraíso, no es excusa para que el mar algún día se levante revuelto. Continue reading Aceptar los cambios para vivir mejor