Ibiza Beaches

An excerpt from my Ibiza freewrites that captures the shades of summer on the island.

Photo 25

The sand varies in texture, colour, quality, from beach to beach.

Talamanca, a useful, pretty but overall unglamorous beach, is a very pale grey (not white). It is overburdened with posedonia, always smells stronger early in the year and any passing storm kicks up a fuss, requires late-night backhoe visits to restore it to tourist-friendliness. Dried scraps remain, along with dense, hairy tufts of golden dried grass, like rabbit’s feet.

Aguas Blancas is dark, mixed with volcanic (?) black. A foreboding hue (coarse-textured, too) that fits with the brooding shadows of its cliffs.

Cala St Vicente (less hip) is far more beautiful – white sand and a bay that, seen from above, looks like liquid turquoise into which blue-black ink has spilled, leaving lustrous blots of colour.

Benirras (northwest) is grainy, goldish, mixed with crushed shell and pebble. Walking on it is a vigorous massage, exfoliating tired feet. The little coves on the west side often have small, sharp pebbles. Cala Jondal, arsehole magnet, is a genuine pebble beach with large, smooth round stones running into the sea.

Salinas is white sand. Es Cavallet, the most beautiful, boasts fine white sand with a fringe of pink (crushed shells? Pebbles?) at the water line.

The sea is magical, changeable. The posedonia is what gives the inkblot effect and makes for the dramatic changes from silken pale turquoise to intense navy blue. It is impossible to feel anxious or unhappy by the sea, which is probably why the clubbing coterie avoid it – unless there is a party and they can bring their noise, chaos, impatience and artificiality.

The beach, the sea become staging grounds for conspicuous consumption. Another arena to scrap over. The Zodiacs ferrying champagne to the hired yachts. The supermodels, footballers, City boys, whores and pretenders each striving to outshine each other; ignoring, obliteration the luminescence of nature. Going out to see and be seen, rather than to learn or absorb.

There are (at least) two completely different layers in Ibiza. The light and the dark.
The same beaches where the septum-challenged self-appointed elite play one-upmanship games via the size of their (or their girlfriends’) fake breasts and the price of the drink they’re sipping, are the same space where German pensioners in thick-soled sandals stroll along wearing bum bags. Where tiny Iberians romp naked in the shallows, building and destroying sand-heaps then shrieking and circling like baby birds. There are civilian tourists too, young couples – strapping blonde Dutch, wiry French, meaty pale-skinned English like sides of uncooked ham – walking hand-in-hand, reapplying sunscreen, playing paddle ball, drinking tins of shandy and eating crisps. These people all exist in the same space, yet pass each other without intersecting, as isolated from each other’s reality as if each were alone on the island. Reality, here, is what you make it; the world you choose. Each is self-contained and all-consuming.

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