The tram ride back from Arcadia Beach just may’ve been the unexpected highlight of my stay.
After spending most of the afternoon sipping vodka on the sand with our new Russian friend Sergei, Peder and I were perfectly “In The Zone” – we had great energy and, despite not getting to bed until 8am the previous evening, somehow didn’t feel even the slightest bit tired.
So when we found ourselves on a tram surrounded by like-minded young vacationers, it wasn’t long before things spontaneously transformed into your typical party bus environment (thanks in large part to the best addition to my travel gear this year, a portable minispeaker). What started as just a couple nearby youths smirking at our ears ended up as crowds of people dancing, cheering, giving hi-fives, and rushing to be in our photos. Even the little old lady collecting tickets seemed to like it, shooting us an ear-to-ear smile each time she squeezed her way by.
I said it before, I’ll say it again: “And people wonder why we wear them” 😉
By the time we got off we’d exchanged phone numbers with half the tram – on their request, not ours.
Later that night, a Sunday, we headed to Arcadia once more – once more with the intent of ending up at Ibiza. And once more getting caught up with various unexpected encounters out on the promenade.
Man, this place is just too much fun – I’m starting to wonder if we’ll ever make our way to the clubs for which Arcadia is so famous!
The main group of the evening consisted of a few guys who we happened to notice socializing down on the beach; from afar it sounded like they were having the time of their lives, so we approached to say hi. They invited us to join without a second thought.
Oh yeah, and I shouldn’t forget to mention: tonight we repelled Bribe Extraction attempts numbers five and six 😛
The first occurred with the group in the park shown above (4th photo). None of us were drinking, but a couple of cops – upon hearing our English – strolled by and immediately demanded to see our documents (what a shocker). When they were disappointed to find everything in order (apparently it’s not uncommon for travelers to forget their passports), one of them actually started shining his flashlight on an empty beer can on the ground, accusing us of drinking and littering. But thankfully our friends handled it and the police soon moved on to harass someone else.
The second close call took place down on the beach. Here, the guys we met actually did have a few open alcohol bottles. None of it was ours, but that hardly matters – when Ukrainian students and “rich” foreign travelers are involved in the same fineable offense, I’ll let you guess who ends up taking the rap. It was only thanks to our “kei” warning that we managed to duck into the shadows and shut our mouths, so by the time the police arrived there wasn’t an English word to be heard. The actual owners of the alcohol ended up paying the bribe to get rid of them.
We pretty much spent the rest of the night on the beach, until somewhere around 5am when – unbelievably – this group started up with the exact same “Go Home” routine as the guys we’d met on Saturday!
OK, now this was just getting weird.
Once again, whenever we approached anyone they’d warn us “Don’t talk to them,” and whenever we tried to escape them they’d chase after and try to usher us into a cab back to our hotel. It was total déjà vu, and we really were not liking it.
“Look,” we told them, “if we hadn’t talked to you then we never would’ve become friends, right? So why the hell are you preventing us from talking to anyone else??”
“Because, you don’t know. Many dangerous people here now. It’s late, look, most people gone home. So GO HOME! Don’t talk to people. Just go home.”
We told them we’d leave soon enough, and eventually they gave up and let us be.
Moments later we befriended an extremely nerdy-looking guy with three well-dressed, young Ukrainian girls. Okay, now there was definitely something fishy about this unlikely crew:
First, the guy kept on trying to get us to buy his girls a pizza. How many times have you gone out with three single girls, met two random guys on the street, and immediately started trying to convince them to buy your friends a pizza?
Then he went up to a kiosk to buy himself a pizza, and I just happened to notice that his huge roll of bills included not one but two American $100 bills. In a country where the average monthly income is around $180.
Okay, maybe we really should go home now. We said goodbye and that was the end of our night.