Ibiza in the early 1990’s; the golden era of the clubber’s Mecca and yours truly was there on holiday. Dancing through the night to hypnotic beats, in an ecstacy-fuelled haze until the sun broke the horizon once more and everybody headed back down to the beach to continue the pure hedonism of the White Isle.
Well no I wasn’t doing that, because I was about fourteen and so completely oblivious to the Island’s status as the world’s club capital, also my mum and dad were there and I still thought ‘Anthrax’ were cool. I had a stupid haircut probably and was generally the sort of kid who would shit his pants were you to offer him a cigarette, let alone all drugs and stuff. Still though, two weeks on holiday is two weeks on holiday and I was having a pretty nice time dicking about in the pool and wearing my new shorts.
The trouble with being a teenager on holiday though is that eventually everything becomes either rubbish, or boring. You’re tired of swimming, you’re sick of playing cards with your new friends from like, Coventry or wherever, your parents won’t give you any money to play on the ‘Outrun’ machine in the bar for the eighth time that day and you have stopped trying to impress the hotel staff with your Spanish because they actually try to speak to you and it freaks you out, so what to do? It was this very conundrum that led me to explore the hotel and reveal its terrifying secret.
Now there is not usually a great deal to your average resort hotel; rooms obviously, probably a couple of bars and swimming pools, a restaurant, and maybe a shop, all linked by a marble-lined lobby with high ceilings and seemingly pointless seating areas (you’re on holiday for fuck’s sake; it’s scorching hot, go outside!).
Notwithstanding this lack of complexity however, I decided one afternoon to complete a full lap of the hotel grounds and to see what was to be seen. I set off clad in only a pair of swimming shorts, only to quickly scurry back to base to retrieve my trainers; the ground was too hot to walk upon barefoot and the grass was that weird stuff they plant around mediterranean hotels because it stays green all the time, it’s like walking on tiny knives.
I set off and passed by the swimming pool and outdoor bar area, I wandered through the ornamental gardens and looked for coconuts in the palm trees (none, what a rip-off), I stopped briefly to inspect the massively heavy-looking ping-pong tables made from cast concrete and painted green, I never once saw anybody playing on them. The nearby children’s play area held little fascination for me and I wasted no time there, I rounded one end of the building and crossed in front of the main entrance whilst at the same time observing the local coach drivers sitting alongside their transfer buses parked on the asphalt in front of the hotel; I paused. ‘I’m glad I’m not one of them’ I thought. ‘They’re at work and I’m on holiday. Plus they have to eat all the weird stuff you get over here; at least I know I can have proper sausages when I get back home’. I roused myself from my reverie. ‘They’re happy enough’, I told myself. ‘They don’t know any different, and they probably like the funny-tasting ketchup anyway’. I moved on.
The opposite end of the building was an area I hadn’t so far concerned myself with during my stay. A small hairdressing salon that seemingly never opened and a ‘bureau de change’ that was similarly undermanned (or underwomanned! #EverydaySexism) stood in the shaded part of the hotel grounds. I passed by without further thought and besides, something had caught my eye.
At the extreme edge of the hotel complex, practically alongside the road and about as far from all the fun bits as it was possible to be was a basketball court and alongside it a strange sort of patio paved in a glossy, dark green stone.
Now though I could see this curio I wasn’t able to reach it directly, the path I was following led to the working parts of the hotel, the kitchens and staff car park etc. I wasn’t about to trespass in those areas, the prospect of being told off in Spanish was infinitely worse than being told off in English and even that was bad enough. I cast about, looking for an easier route to the emerald plaza and spied a likely gap in the bushes.
You will recall that I had earlier had to restart my odyssey due to a lack of footwear, I was now thankful that I hadn’t simply pressed on without. I entered the thicket and peered about, looking for a route through to the other side. As I did so I became aware of the sheer number of white paper napkins lying about, embossed with the hotel chain’s logo. ‘There are a lot of those’, I mused. ‘Maybe they just blew i…..WHOA!’, what appeared to be a perfectly formed human turd lay immediately in front of me in the pine-needle strewn dust. Reeling, I stepped back and began to look more closely at my surroundings; the paper napkins were in the main screwed up, the crude brown smears all the more jarring against the pure white and in the same way that the hidden image in those crappy ‘magic eye’ pictures of the same period would suddenly leap out at you, I began to notice the lumps of dried excreta scattered about the area. A phantom shitter was in clear evidence, and I had wandered into his (or her! #Patriarchy) lair.
Realising that I was now way off piste and should the shitter return I may very well have to bear witness to the depravity, I legged it; shitting in the bushes! On holiday! Who were these deviants? I checked the soles of my trainers and was thankful to find no trace of south European ordure and having regained most of my composure I resolved never to venture forth again.
Later on during the holiday I joined up with a sort of activity group and it transpired that the glittering green patio was in fact an oversized shuffleboard deck that was easily reachable from near the pool and that it is actually quite an enjoyable game.
I didn’t tell anybody about all the turds in the bushes nearby. They might have thought it was me.