Listen to this article
Do you ever wake up with that queasy feeling that’s not bad enough to keep you in bed but is just annoying enough to slow you down and question whether you should push on with your day? I rolled out of bed last Thursday with a turbulent stomach and immediately had to weigh up whether my condition was too bad to set out for the weekend and if I’d be better off staying home. After a brief self-diagnosis (would I be better off feeling yucky in London or under the sun in Formentera?) I pulled out my weekend tote from the cupboard and started packing my shorts, trunks, T-shirts and reading material for the weekend.
Thirty minutes later I was in the car heading for London’s City airport and as we slalomed through the streets of Holborn I was regretting my decision to chase the sun rather than staying in bed. Somewhere just past the towers of Canary Wharf the waves of nausea became too much and I started a desperate search for a box of Motilium (anti-nausea) tablets to quell my raging stomach.
Fortunately, I found a pack of pills in the bottom of my bag and before too long we pulled up kerbside at the airport. By this point I felt I had advanced too far down the track to turn back so I went through the remarkably deserted security control and searched for a place to sit down in the overcrowded, stuffy waiting lounge. Eventually, the information for the flight to Ibiza flashed up on the screen and we wandered down the corridor to the gate.
While I’ve been to Mallorca many times, I’ve never been to Ibiza and was intrigued by the vivid mix of fellow travellers – so much so that I forgot about my queasy stomach and marvelled at the parade of passengers shuffling and jostling on to the aircraft. By the time the dispatcher ran up the stairs with the final passenger tally I’d identified five basic food groups filling the fuselage.
Making the most noise and fuss were the Bromley party girls, with their Louis Vuitton bags, ridiculously high espadrille wedges, tight white jeans and spray-on tans. As they made their way down the aisle plans were already being drawn up for club nights, morning drinking sessions and hangover recovery on the beach.
I counted about three groups of men all decked out in similar polo shirts, too many tattoos and distressed denim. They were all part of a sub-species of British man who is able to board an aircraft with nothing more than a passport and boarding pass. I’m always baffled by this type of traveller as it’s absolutely unfathomable that you’d be able to fly many hours without a book, magazine, a pen and notebook and perhaps a toiletry or two.
Dotted around the cabin were families well drilled in the art of the two-week summer break and all of them seemed as if they’d be going straight from aircraft to beach as toddlers were already in swim shorts, mums had bikini straps peeking from under their T-shirt collars and dads had towels stuffed into rucksacks.
Gay party boys did a good job standing out from the crowd in bulging Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirts. (What’s the official age where it’s no longer acceptable for a male to wear something from this US retailer? Eighteen? Twenty-two? Surely once you hit 30 it’s time to trade up to another brand?) They also had inappropriate piercings and jeans revealing too much bum crack.
The final group, and I must confess I thought there’d be more of them, were wealthy wannabe hippies in drop-crotch trousers, linen tunics, cotton scarves from trips to India (or Liberty) and chunky watches. All of them looked like this was their summer shuttle and were quite familiar with the set-up on board.
Somewhere over France the Motilium kicked in but the nausea soon returned when the meal service started and salmon started coming out of the galley. After several trips to a too tiny loo we started our descent into Ibiza and were greeted by sunny skies and hot winds.
For the briefest moment I was happy we’d chartered a boat to make the short journey to Formentera as we’d save time boarding the ferry and it would be a more comfortable journey. By the time we made it to the port and boarded the handsome- looking Apreamare I’d had a change of heart. “Just to warn you, it’s unusually rough out there today,” said the skipper. Ten minutes later we were in a rolling, angry tide and I was doubled over wishing the sea would open up and swallow the vessel to put me out of my misery.
Fortunately, my condition changed in Formentera after a three-hour nap. This was the perfect venue for a last blast of summer heat and, as ever, I had fleeting visions of what it might be like to buy a place on the island. Back on Ibiza on Sunday evening the diverse crowd piled on to the aircraft and just as we were about to take off the temperamental Brazilian jet decided it wanted to stay in the Ibiza sunshine rather than return to London. It took a bit of gentle persuasion from the pilot to get her to co-operate but in the end she decided to thunder down the runway and up over the Med.
Tyler Brûlé is editor-in-chief of Monocle magazine