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June 21, 1997

Out with Mark

So Im driving along the Esplanade in town & someone flashes their lights as they pass me - its Mark, who I havent seen since the evening I left. We stop & decide that going out drinking on a Saturday night has to be done.

June 22, 1997

The Golden Monkey

Anyway, to continue the story... So we meet up & head out into town. We start to consume huge amounts of alcohol & pretty soon we are both having vision problems. Off to the Golden Monkey we go & continue our drinking session. We do some serious grooving to the dance music & as usual when out with Mark, drink far too much.

December 1, 2001

After Launch Hangover

Neither of us feel too good today after last night's celebrations. Nina has a theory that they must add something bad to the beer in the US to put people off drinking it and from now on she's promised herself that she'll only drink Carlsberg.

December 17, 2001

We've been kept pretty busy

We've been kept pretty busy for the last week or so hunting down parts, working on the boat, and drinking in the evenings. There's something about being on boats that gives you the irresistable urge to drink, and on the evenings that you don't, you invariably get invited over to someone else's boat for cocktails. There's just no way to fight it. Or maybe we're not trying.

Zamindar is now looking fairly good again, and this week an engine mount and regulator turned up, I fitted them, and the engine is now running again. We're probably going to leave the marina and head out to anchor in the next few days, but we haven't decided whether to stay around in Titusville for Christmas or move on.

March 22, 2002

We're suffering again today from

We're suffering again today from the chemicals that America puts into it's beer to stop you drinking too much. Chris and I went out to a club last night that would have been good if we were still into music from 1986 and the dj didn't talk across all the songs all the time.

We've been told the Dockwise are loading tomorrow afternoon, and the port is only about 3miles from here. At the moment we're getting everything onboard sorted up for the crossing, and we're due to fly back to London on Tuesday afternoon.

April 20, 2002

I've been fairly hungover today

I've been fairly hungover today after dinner onboard another boat called Duva last night followed by too much wine. I was then woken up at 0700 as workmen decided to dig up part of the marina right next to the boat and earplugs and pillows over my head failed to keep the noise out.

June 5, 2002

I seem to have developed

I seem to have developed dog ears as whenever I go swimming they fill up
with water and it's days before I can hear anything again. I spend all my
time shouting at people and telling them to speak up. Today, I caught the
bus to Palma and enjoyed a lovely day in civilisation, but came back to
Porto Colom to find the boat rolling like mad in the bay. After a brief
session of bouncing around inside, I decided to seek refuge in a local bar
and took the dinghy ashore. It wasn't the roughest dinghy trip I've ever
had, but it was bad enough for a fish to jump out of the water and into the
boat to escape from the sea.

In the bar, however, I met a new chum, Lucas, an Argentinian (don't mention
the (Falklands) war!), who is unable to pronounce my name and instead calls
me Bernie. He told me many happy stories of typical days growing up in
Argentina; of being robbed at gunpoint for one dollar as a fifteen year-old.
Apparently, his car was stolen recently and having discovered who took it
he's off to kill the person tomorrow and hence was out celebrating tonight.
All in all it was enough excitement for one day, and so I'm about to climb
into bed and hang on all night to avoid being thrown onto the floor.
Goodnight.

November 8, 2002

Liquid Lunches

I met Ged today for lunch, as he was working in the Glasgow office, but I was feeling pretty rough from being out with Colin and Andrew last night. It turned out to be a fairly liquid lunch, however, and so I had the pleasure of a double hangover this evening. I'm now in Edinburgh, staying with Ged over the weekend, and he appears to be planning a big night out tommorrow. The last time I went out drinking with Ged I fell out of a taxi.

November 10, 2002

Edinburgh

I managed to survive last night's ten hour drinking binge with Ged, and tried to be careful getting out of taxis. Tommorrow I'm meeting up with Kevin, so it'll probably happen all over again.

November 12, 2002

Glasgow night out

Colin and I went out to the Czech styled Bier Halle last night and while sitting there we were most surprised when one of the waitresses offered us free beer. It seems we'd timed it perfectly for a beer tasting that was on there, so we ended up staying longer than we expected and drinking more than we planned. It's hard to refuse free beer. We finally did manage to leave as we had to meet Andrew and Kevin in the Chip, but as you can imagine we were well lubricated by the time we arrived. It was very good to see Kevin again, and we all spoke about going on a lads trip down to the boat sometime. We carried on drinking in the Chip till closing time, though I have no recollection of taking the picture below of Colin leaning against railings that turned out to be a gate on the way home. The first pic is Colin, Andrew and Kevin, though Andrew isn't really as small as he looks in it. The second one is Colin drinking with his 'safety beer goggles' on.

Sadly, this is my last day in Scotland, though I don't think I could have survived the pace of drinking for much longer. I'm flying to London tonight, putting my pyjamas on and spending the night in lovely Stansted Airport, then getting up very early to catch a flight back to wonderful Copenhagen. I was trying to get down to Menorca, but the logistics of finding flights that connected with each other was a nightmare so I've given up on that idea for now.

My flight times are below...

Continue reading "Glasgow night out" »

November 19, 2002

Drinking and Sailing Videos

signofcross.jpg
I've just uploaded this video (3.37Mb) taken last week in the pub. In it Colin is re-enacting the day Mr Burns, one of our primary school teachers, taught one of our classmates to do the sign of the cross with a sharp piece of chalk.

Also new in the video page are a couple of videos I took in the summer of dolphins swimming at Zamindar's bows. They're here (2.14Mb) and here (2.14Mb). Add a comment if you have any problems running these videos.

December 6, 2002

Bunny Girls

I've really no idea what it was all about but I passed this bunch of Tuborg bunny girls in Copenhagen today on my way to the station... and missed my train home. They were all jumping up and down wearing very little in the freezing cold next to a couple of Tuborg limousines. I guess they were probably all pissed. Here's a Tuborg advert called 'Can Roulette' from Danish television.

January 15, 2003

Satan's Hangover

I've had a hangover of biblical proportions today as we were out with Jesper and Lisbeth last night. Nina did well in her IT Security exam so we went out for an Indian and a few too many drinks. Here's a video from it that I don't remember taking (3.55Mb).

Here's a good link... bushorchimp.com. Thanks, Colin!

February 7, 2003

Whiskey

Waking with my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth and a thumping headache, I couldn't remember what had caused it. Andrew and I had only gone to the pub for a few beers then come back to the flat, so surely I shouldn't be feeling so bad. But then I recalled the whiskey we sat and drank when we got back and then Andrew going to bed and leaving me drinking it, and then I realised why I was feeling so bad.

Chris flies in tomorrow morning and we're going over to Edinburgh to meet up with Ged and visit my house in Fife. In the evening we plan to go out in Edinburgh but unfortunately Ged won't let us stay with him so Chris and I will just have to drink all night.

February 16, 2003

More Lunches

Just about to go out for Sunday lunch with Andrew, Cathy and Alice and tomorrow evening I fly down to Bristol to see Chris. It's been really pleasant being back in Scotland, however, and the weather's even been lovely (at least for February, that is). I met up with Ged and Kevin in the Bier Halle the other night and drank a bit too much. The following morning I felt fine, having just the slightest hangover that made me feel fragile rather than in pain. That was until Andrew and I went out for a big lunch of haggis and more beer. Then I didn't feel too well at all.

February 28, 2003

I Chose Vodka

Blue lemonade for one
...and blue lemonade. Feeling a bit rough today due to drinking far, far too much last night then being very ill.

April 7, 2003

Muscat Taxis

We just got back from another night of drinking in the hotels of Muscat. While trying to catch a minibus back, I managed to flag down a police van. So the van pulls over, a policeman in uniform jumps out with a gun, and I shake his hand and ask him if he's a minibus driver. He of course looks at me like I'm either very pissed or very stupid and replies that no, he's a policeman. In the end we caught a minibus being driven by someone completely insane who couldn't understand a word we were saying. He stopped and kicked us out twice, then pulled into a deserted petrol station where I fully expected him to bring out a Kalashnikov, but in the end we all managed to understand each other somehow, he didn't kill us, and we got back alive.

April 14, 2003

Paul Oakenfold at Narcissus, Bangkok

I managed to get out of Banglamphu district as clean and dry as I could, defending myself as I went, and running across some of Bangkok's famous 16 lane roads firing at on-coming traffic. Ok, so I was maybe a bit pissed. I managed to make it down to the river boat stop which takes you into town. These are the long-tail boats that Roger Moore ended up in a high-speed chase in through Bangkok in one of the Bond films (which one? answers in comments please!). There I chatted to some young locals who go to the university here. They spoke perfect English and had all spent time studying abroad in the US, Singapore or Hong Kong. They were getting on the same boat so we sat and talked as it flew through Bangkok's canals with about six inches of freeboard.

I was in a bit of a mess - soaking and covered in white talcum stains so I bought some new clothes in town and went off to find Narcissus. After a trip on the skytrain (Bangkok's overhead metro system) and a walk through one of the dodgier areas of the city, I finally found it down a side street off another side street. It looked like a truly impressive place, housed in an old Georgian style mansion. Security managed to find the water pistol I had hidden down my trousers and confiscated it, but they still let me in. Narcissus is arguably the hippest of Thailand's nightclubs where Bangkok's models and the rich and famous hang out. A beer cost about as much as a room for the night, but it was worth it. The interior is still Georgian, but with a wonderful sound and lighting system fitted - truly a world-class club. I grabbed a couple of drinks and waited for Paul Oakenfold to come on. When he started the crowd just erupted and the energy in the place was incredible. It was all a seriously good night, everybody seemed to be having a great time, and due to the Thais being such amicable people there was none of the drunken violence that you so often feel in clubs in Europe. I had a chance to meet up with the Paul Okenfold afterwards, though he wasn't too big on conversation.

April 17, 2003

Tonight's Mantra

Tonight's mantra for dealing with soo many USA backpackers...

These people do not have informed opinions
These people are good people
Take deep breaths
Violence is not the answer
Getting too much?
Ok, leave the building
Leave the building now...

...am probably too pissed to be blogging ;o)

April 19, 2003

Ministry of Sound Bangkok

Ministry of Sound turned out to be pretty cool last night, and has really good sound and lighting systems - I ended up sitting close to speakers for a while and my shirt was moving to the bass. One of the nice things is that if you sit down at a table with some people then security will keep those seats for you for the rest of the night and move anyone else who sits at it. It's lacking more ambient lighting though and it has something of a bare 'student union' feel to it than the opulence in Narcissus, but it's a huge club.

May 1, 2003

Sars Bar

Due to a crackdown recently on after-hours drinking in Thailand it's quite difficult to find late night bars and clubs to have a beer in. Colin and I therefore decided to re-dress the situation by opening our own bar in front of the hotel. Naming it the 'Sars Bar' we've spent the last five nights drinking there with an ever changing collection of customers and the hotel staff until the sun comes up or later.

Last night, however, the police turned up and closed us down (at least temporarily) so we had to move the business to the magic carpet (a carpet lying on the pavement around the corner reputed to accentuate the affect of alcohol). We've ended up drinking and partying all night every night for the last six days, which I put down to being an extended birthday celebration (it's only one party if you never sober up), and Colin's only seen daylight in Bangkok once since he arrived.

Yesterday after drinking until noon with a particularly dedicated Kiwi girl, we grabbed a few hours sleep then got up at 5pm to go and teach English with one of our new Thai chums, Peter, an English teacher at the university. Still pissed and shaky, our native English conversation consisted of complex phrases such as, "Beer good", "You like Jackie Chan?", and other random drunken thoughts that were flying around our brains. I think we may have found our calling.

May 4, 2003

Bed Supperclub, Bangkok

time to go to bed
We'd heard that Bed Supperclub was rumoured to be another of Bangkok's ultra-hip nightclubs so we went out last night to check it out. The most impressive thing about it is the pod architecture - oval in shape, steel framed, and steel skinned, with a futuristic all white interior and padded pvc panels. Half of the building is a restaurant with huge padded sofas around the room which you take your shoes off and climb onto. There the staff wear all-white uniforms and furry boots and there's an ice sculpture as the room's centrepiece and lovely TAG McLaren loudspeakers on the walls. On the other side of the building, through huge sliding padded doors, is the club. Unfortunately, it doesn't stand up to being very impressive apart from its design. With a badly mixed selection of old house music, average sound (cheaper speakers), and a disappointing lighting system, it's clear why the hip of Bangkok have abandoned it and the main clientele are fat expense account tourists falling around the small dance floor. We left early after the staff took our half-finished drinks while our backs were turned.

We returned to the guesthouse, opened the SARS Bar, recognised some people passing by who'd been in the club, invited them over, and spent a very enjoyable night drinking with them until 07:00.

May 13, 2003

Laos Whiskey

Vientiane has to be the most laid-back capital city I've ever been to. You can easily walk around it, the people are incredibly friendly, and the food's lovely.

The other night we got truly lost in town whilst trying to get back to our hotel after drinking lots of Beerlaos and toxic Laos rice whiskey. I have no idea how we managed it as I knew that the bar was literally just around the corner.

Whether it's true or not I don't know, but I've just been told that the Laos government is cracking down on drinking and lots of drunks have recently been shot. Time to leave the country I think.

August 16, 2003

Fame

clubbing in pacha
Carita and I were sitting on deck yesterday afternoon having a deep and meaningful conversation about the origins of french fries when Maxime came over from Manic, one of the nearby boats, carrying a stack of print-outs from my website having recognised the boat from it. It was quite bizarre to talk to someone who knew so much about me even though we'd never met before, and we sat and had some beers together and a really nice chat then arranged to go out at night. Carita has VIP cards for most of the clubs on the island so she managed to get everyone onto the guest list for Ministy of Sound at Pacha and we headed there at 4am.

Pacha was packed full of people, so much so that there was hardly space to dance, so we went upstairs, and sat out on the terrace, chilling out and drinking. The club itself is pretty cool and manages to have a rustic, Mediterranean feel to it even though it's huge. When the sun finally rose and people began to leave we headed back to Zamindar and continued drinking and talking with everyone from Manic until we finally went to bed at 9am, very pissed, but having had a lovely night.

August 31, 2003

Underground Trance Party

Today I'm feeling how a lot of people spend their days in Ibiza feeling - fairly rough. Carita knew some people who were holding an underground trance party last night so we did some drinking then went there at five o'clock this morning.

Most of the clubs on the island are sticking to playing house exclusively this season and the illegal trance parties that first put Ibiza on the clubbing map are now rare events which the locals keep to themselves and are very much underground, closed off to tourists. After a long, confusing conversation with the taxi driver, he finally dropped us off in the middle of nowhere and we walked down a dirt track to an old, abandoned arena. The guys on the entrance opened up the door and suddenly the dark Ibicenco countryside was bathed in UV light and filled with sound. We walked in slightly stunned. The air was so thick that you could have cut through it with a knife, and the stars above and the pumping bass gave the place an atmosphere all of its own. It was the classical Ibizan experience, but far too soon the police turned up. They'd already closed it down for a while earlier in the night, but this time it was the turn of the Guardia Civil who confiscated the decks and were somewhat more determined to put an end to the party. Undeterred, a dedicated core moved on to another venue on the island and set up again with more equipment. We, however, headed back to the boat and drank well into the morning with a couple of pharmacists we'd met.

September 23, 2003

Privilege, Ibiza

in Privilege with Carita Ketola
We went out to a trance party in Privilege, the worlds biggest club, the other night and had a really good time. A lot of the local hippy contingent were there and the atmosphere was more chilled than in any club Id been in for a long time, though this could, of course, be something to do with the huge amount of drugs going around in Ibiza. We, of course, stayed till close and staggered back to the boat wasted at 0800. Photos from the night

September 25, 2003

Pacha Closing Parties

In the face of more sober judgement we ended up at the Underwater closing party in Pacha the other night until sunrise. Now that the island is getting quieter only the hardcore, dedicated clubbers and people with nowhere else to go are left in Ibiza and everywhere is more relaxed and enjoyable because of it. It was interesting to be in Pacha and actually walk around and see the club rather than pushing through crowds of people the whole time. It feels slicker inside than most of the other clubs in Ibiza (especially with a beer costing ten euros) and it has something of a maze-like design due to being extended repeatedly over the years. It's also big enough that at one point someone with a confused look stopped me and said, "How do you get out of this place?"

With closing parties going on all the time, however, you can't escape the fact that the island is winding down, the season's finishing, the beaches are emptying, and winter is coming. We're going around wearing sweaters these days - it only got up to 28c today, and everybody seems to have a cold. Another week or two and everyone will either be hibernating or emigrating.

October 1, 2003

See You Next Year...

Circoloco had their mammoth closing party on Monday which started at 6am and went on for almost 24 hours. Thousands were queueing outside, some of whom had been partying non-stop for three days and nights, and as the party went on a constant stream of ambulances ferried people away every five minutes.

In the days since, however, most of the young, trendy, beautiful people have either left the island or are still hospitalised on it, and they've been replaced by a new type of tourist. It's almost as if Britain has emptied the old folks homes, kicked the cripples out of hospital, the fashion police have released the chronically badly dressed, and they've all been put on Easyjet flights to Ibiza. Sitting at my regular cafe this morning the usual, pleasant parade of lovely, tanned, near naked bodies had been replaced by obese, pale, wrinkled shapes wearing skin-tight shorts and sweat soaked t-shirts. It was a truly harrowing experience and most of them, embarassingly, were British. It's impossible to walk down the streets they're so clogged with wheelchairs, people on crutches, and those too fat to walk, and you can't even sit at a restaurant without someone nearby removing their teeth so that they can slurp down some soup.

But I suppose it is October. Most of the clubs are in darkness. El Divino no longer blasts Ibiza's heartbeat across our harbour anchorage through the night, and every day more shops and bars in town close for the winter. It's inescapable. Maybe the people who went home from Circoloco in an ambulance knew what was coming.

November 2, 2003

Cyberdog

Colin and I went out for a quiet drink last night which inevitably ended up as a drunken night of clubbing. I was wearing my Cyberdog rave pants which were terrific as MAS, the club we went to, was really dark and they light up and flash, though thankfully no-one tried to beat me up for begging attention and I only attracted people asking where I bought them. Should have worn the t-shirt as well but I probably would have been electrocuted in the torrential Scottish rain.

November 4, 2003

West End Bars

Colin and I met up with Andrew last night in Bar Brel in the West End of Glasgow and ended up having a few too many Belgian brews under his medical guidance. Andrew then took us back to his lovely new pad where we woke up Catherine and started on the whiskey, which in hindsight was, once again, a mistake. Colin and I were then unable to feel the biting cold (or anything else) and set off on a long hike back across Glasgow to his flat.

This morning I now have to get a train over to Perth and go to the dentist with one of those anaestitised hangovers that only Scottish whiskey can bring. Must manage stay awake on the train or else I'll end up in Aberdeen.

March 2, 2004

In Search of Bangkok Trance

At the weekend we took a taxi to Minitry of Sound Bangkok to discover that it's now called Dbl-O. It was much quieter inside than previously, the upstairs gallery was closed, and the entire downstairs section appears to be permanently shut. Apparently, it's been sold to new owners. Still it was good to be back in a club, but we soon began to notice that none of the trendy Bangkok people were there, so, feeling that we were somewhere that had had its moment, we left and caught a taxi over to Narcissus on Soi 23.

Narcissus didn't disappoint us. It was as packed as usual, and with it's oppulent setting in an old mansion, wonderful marble interior, and valets parking expensive cars outside, it immediately makes an impact on you as you arrive. It's far more impressive than any of Ibiza's clubs, which sadly don't seem to feel they need to look good to get people in.

It was a really good night, but still, I suspect that there's another good club somewhere in Bangkok that must have taken over from Ministry of Sound.

March 15, 2004

Bangkok Clubbing

On Saturday night we went out to continue checking out Bangkok's clubs. We'd just walked out of Koh San Road, however, when a police motorcycle drove down the pavement and the police got off and came over to talk to us. Thailand has seriously been cracking down on drug use over the last year or two with over 1200 suspected drug dealers gunned down in the streets by police, and they asked to search us. They were very polite about it, and gave me in particular a thorough going over, but we didn't have anything to hide and once they realised this they laughed and went on their way.

We walked across to Cafe Democ, a bar with a laid-back, chilled atmosphere next to the Democracy monument. It's a fairly small place but they tend to have some reasonable dj's at weekends when it becomes more of a small club.

Later in the evening we caught a taxi and went looking for Faith Club, which is supposedly on Soi 23, but after several passes appeared to be either invisible or very, very small (reports we've heard since suggest that it's nothing special if you do manage to find it).

Instead we went to Q-bar, which I'd read a good review of. Entry was a very steep 600 baht (about 12) each (with only one free drink) so we were hoping not to be disappointed. As soon as we walked in, however, it was obviously just a sad ex-pat's hangout. It was cramped inside, walls painted black, a predominantly 40-something crowd at the bar, whilst the dj played uninspiring sounds. We left within 60 seconds, and caught a taxi outside, the fat bastard driver of which, attempted (and failed) to rip us off.

We went to Narcissus, which was packed as usual and seems to be the best choice for dance and trance music. We'd been hoping to find a successor to Ministry of Sound, but from what we've seen and heard so far, nothing has really taken over from it in Bangkok. Paul Oakenfold is once again spinning at Songkran (21st April) in Narcissus this year, but sadly we won't be here for it unless we get arrested.

May 30, 2004

Formentera Nightlife

It's our last weekend having a berth in Formentera marina as it expires in the next day or two and so we went out to Casa Paco, one of the bars in town, last night. Although tourist season is now well and truly under way, few of them seem to make it into Sabina at night and so the bar turned out to be deserted with only about ten locals milling around trying to dance flamenco to the house music the dj was playing. So it wasn't long before we left, came back to Zamindar, and continued drinking here until early in the morning - and suffered for it today.

June 21, 2004

Midsummer in Ibiza

We decided to celebrate midsummer last night in true Finnish tradition - drinking huge amounts of alcohol. Carita works until about three in the morning but when she finished she brought back a lot of cold beer and we sat in the cockpit until dawn drinking - a fitting way to spend the longest day of the year. Today, however, has not been quite as pleasant, as you can probably imagine.

September 9, 2004

Simon's Visitation

Simon flew in on Monday & we've been busy doing the Ibiza legends; Cafe del Mar, Mambo, and last night Pacha, hence the pathetic lack of updates here. Promise to stop partying & start writing again... soon.

September 15, 2004

Privilege Trance Party

Friday was the big trance event of the year in Privilege. Bigger, busier, and more commercialised than last year's, it was nonetheless still a good night. GMS played most of the event, putting much more effort into the dj'ing than most of Ibiza's famed spinners, their Powerbook sitting prominent centre-stage.

Pictures from the night are here.

January 7, 2005

Return of Sobriety

Have been feeling a bit rough over the last couple of days until I realised tonight it was simply the last traces of alcohol leaving my body from the new year partying. So this is what being sober again feels like.

February 11, 2005

It's All Gone Pete Tong

tong_s.jpg
The Glasgow World Film Festival has just started and tonight I went along to see a pre-release showing of It's All Gone Pete Tong, set on location in Ibiza. Based on the true story of legendary dj, Frankie Wilde losing his hearing, it's a truly enjoyable film that manages to capture the spirit and vibrancy of life in Ibiza and the infectious energy of dance music. Between taking you to some of Ibiza's most beautiful locations and featuring Frankie's daily fights with the evil Coke Badger, after watching the film all you really want to do is head off to Pacha...

July 3, 2005

San Juan's Day

Carita and I caught a taxi to La Mola in Formentera and met up with Jorge, Jean-Pierre, and Claire, in a restaurant for San Juan's Day celebrations, the Spanish equivalent of midsummer. After a couple of bottles of wine, however, nothing seemed to be happening. We asked around, and sure enough, we were one day too early - the celebrations were the following night. Rather than put the party off, however, we all piled into a rental car and went off to Casa Paco to continue the drinking and festivities with some lovely mojitos before Jean-Pierre invited us back to their boat, Buenaventura for some more drinks.

I'd noticed their distinctive, big, pink catamaran earlier when we'd gone past it in the dinghy and it was truly impressive inside. Custom built in France to their own design, it was more like a floating apartment than a boat. It's best feature, however, was a 5:1 hi-fi system that outranked most bars and clubs. Jean-Pierre works in the music industry and had set it up with a true professional's ear - adding a 4ms delay between speakers to create the kind of sound system that most people can only dream of. Carita and I were stunned by it.

After lots of whisky and listening to music, we said our good-byes about 05:00 and got into the dinghy for our long trip back to the boat in Espalmador, full of good intentions to go to bed. Instead, when we got back to Zamindar, we sat around drinking beer in the cockpit, watched the sunrise, and finally fell into bed around 08:00.

July 5, 2005

Flower Power

On our last weekend in Formentera, a big party called Flower Power was taking place at La Mola so we just had to go. Jorge's girlfriend, Elizabeth, had just arrived from Barcelona so the four of us took a taxi to the other side of the island and arrived just as things were getting into full swing. Flower Power's a hippie style party where everyone's supposed to wear something flowery or 70's. Carita refused to go with me if I wore my cool, black, shiny Terylene shirt (which is apparently now called Dacron so they can sell it to post 80's people) so I had to opt for a flowery design instead.

The pine forests of La Mola were one of the birthplaces of the hippie movement and it took some time to realise that many of the people at the party with long hair and afros were not, in fact, wearing wigs, but had just stumbled out of the trees with their last tab of LSD from the 70's. Now that we've spent so much time in Formentera we know quite a lot of people there - finally making us feel a bit like locals, just, as always, the time comes to leave. The atmosphere was friendly and buzzing as they played music too old to be spun at any of Ibiza's clubs, but this was a real Formentera celebration; outside, under the stars, in a small square, with people smoking joints in the church doorway and dancing across the main street in town.

October 9, 2005

Pacha Marrakech

pachamarrakech.jpg

As Pacha Marrakech opened up last year, I knew I had to check it out while I was there so I jumped in a petite taxi late on Friday night, told the driver the address and off I went.

The club is built just out of town and stands on it's own, surrounded by desert. Built in the style of a kasbah with high, red earth fortress walls, it looks really impressive and has burning torches lighting it. The entry fee of 150 Dirham at the weekend (€15) makes it a fraction of the price of getting into Pacha Ibiza, but unfortunately the crowd inside just don't compare. Once inside, the main entrance corridor has a fountain in the middle of it and water tumbling down a channel in the centre of the steps, immediately giving you some idea of the amount of money which has gone into the construction of this club. Directly ahead of this is the one and only dancefloor, to the left is the chillout bar, and to the left of that is the exit to the gardens, swimming pool, and restaurant area which are beautifully landscaped with palm trees.

As their website listed the opening hours as 1800-0200, I arrived around midnight to find the place fairly empty. The pool and restaurant seem to be for evening use, and this area was closed off by this time. About thirty minutes later a dj appeared at the decks of the main room, which until then had only been playing a recorded mix, and gradually people began to dance.

The people there were not your typical Pacha types. There was a mixture of fairly old people who appeared to be expats, some rich Arabs, and a few guys who looked like drug lords, wearing white suits and several girls with each of them. The VIP area had more people in it than the rest of the club.

As the night progressed, however, and it passed 0200, the club stayed open, the old people went off to bed, the music improved, a few younger, trendier people appeared, and some French gays dragged me down to the dancefloor. The sound system was impressive; ranked as the most powerful system in Africa, if you stand in the right place the bass is powerful enough not only to move the clothes you're wearing, but also to make the end of your nose vibrate to it! The dj didn't seem to put much effort into the mixing though, and at the end of the evening when everyone shouted for an encore, he just picked up his stuff and walked off.

Overall, the club is very impressive, however, building a Pacha club doesn't guarantee a Pacha style crowd, and this is what really lets the place down. It's worth seeing, the interior is fantastic, but without the trendy crowd the club's atmosphere just can't cut it.

October 10, 2005

The Beer Run

beer runWhen we first arrived in Morocco I was intent on getting into the local Muslim vibe, deciding that I could exist perfectly happily without alcohol, content with the country's fantastic patisseries and mint tea for the duration of the trip. This state of nirvana lasted two days.

The only bar we could find was a depressing hole with old tourists drowning their sorrows, so, unable to handle another night in the heat without a beer, Colin and I set off on a quest across Marrakech in search of an alcohol shop. Once again we made the mistake of trusting the Lonely Planet's crackhead authors and their hallucinogen inspired maps so what should have been a quick trip across town turned into a three hour, traffic dodging epic.

Most cities in Morocco have a shop that sells alcohol somewhere, but invariably it's hidden, unmarked, down a side street, in the bowels of the town. In Marrakech this means risking your life dodging, Frogger-like, through manic traffic until finally arriving at the shop to find that it closed ten minutes earlier. After much more searching we eventually found somewhere that was open, stocked up with two black carrier bags of Heineken cans, and made the long trek back to Hotel Afriquia. There, relaxing on the tiled roof terrace and looking out at the floodlit Koutoubia, warm beer never tasted so good.

January 24, 2006

Changover

According to backpacker lore Chang beer has amphetamine in it, and though this probably isn't true, strange things do tend to happen after drinking it.

The other night I ended up having a few Changs with some Thai guys on the street, then returned to the guesthouse, and fell fast asleep. Some hours later Carita woke to find me hunting for something in the dark room. I apparently told her I was looking for the air conditioning remote, then walked out of the room with her hair balm in my hand.

As far as I know I don't have any history of sleepwalking but the first thing I remember is standing in the corridor in my underwear, clutching some hair balm and having locked myself out of the room.