Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Gates to the ancient city of Ibiza
What a wonderful vacation destination the island of Ibiza is. It lies off the coast of Spain and is one of Europe's real holiday destinations because it's full of Germans, Italians, Spanish mainlanders (of course), a smattering of French and no Americans. I was truly astonished by the latter reality, so used am I to encountering American accents.
Of course the dollar is performing so crap against the Euro and Pound this past few weeks that's it's hardly surprising Americans aren't flying overseas this summer--but while painful, this doesn't fully account for the paucity of my fellow countrymen I was told by some of the tourists residing at the hotel Larry and I stayed at. Apparently, while it's an open secret that it's a hotspot for Europeans, it really isn't known or been discovered by Americans...as yet.
A fascinating island, the main city bears the same name as the island and was established by the ancient Phoenicians who built the old city on top of the hillside. (Indeed, a friend informed me that the Phoenicians were marvelous traders who created salt flats using plumbing that is still in use today and that much of the salt is sold to Britain for use on their roads In many respects it's similar in outlook to Dubrovnek in Croatia--meandering streets, museums, Roman ruins, spectacular views of the shimmering bay below, but the restaurants are of a better quality and the buildings better maintained more vibrant in appearance.
We met up with our friends Niall and Poul who'd flown in from France for a 50th birthday party of a good friend and spent the following four days in their company. Days were spent at the beaches and, as a result, their friend David (the birthday boy) and his partner Domingo invited us to join in the celebrations, including a delicious Paella lunch cooked over an open fire by the seashore and a marvelous BBQ at their sunwashed 'Can' (which means 'house') just outside the city of Ibiza. There we met a great number of their friends who'd flown in from all over Europe (and even a few guests from Boston).
Only downer of the whole trip was the dispiritingly sour attitude of one of our middle-aged German hosts at the hotel. The chappie was a wee bit mutton dressed as lamb due to a foppishly boyish haircut and a penchant for clothing far too young for him. Constantly on unblinking surveillance, he prowled the common areas from morning to night as if expecting us to pee on the patio when present or perhaps move a table, umbrella or rickety chair out of precise alignment or even imbibe a second cup of cheap coffee over our unchanging continental breakfasts. (I never want to see another razor thin slice of fatty schinken (ham), grayish leberwurst or a previous night's hard-boiled egg in my life...at least for the next twenty years. What was most annoying was how his attitude changed when he knew a guest was German--then his face creased into an unnatural smile and he laughed and giggled and chatted, even joked in German, totally oblivious to the fact I could speak it, which I made him aware of on the last day. I also left him a little note in their guestbook. Maybe it'll work wonders--though probably not.