The Tap Dance – Mallorca, Spain
My first time working overseas at the age of 20
So, 2008, the start of my adventures. After a tough break up and being a young free woman, at the grand young age of 18, I remember researching jobs abroad. I looked at law firms in Spain, Australia, volunteering in Africa, however most of them have a system where you are required to pay a certain amount before you can go and being young and not really earning great amounts of money that was a no go for me. Although that’s still on my to do list for some time during my life! Anyway, so yes, after a brief search I found a job in a restaurant/bar in C’an Pastilla in Mallorca Spain – “C’an” is part of the Catalan dialect in Mallorca meaning “house of” and Catalan is the language spoken in the Balearic Islands as well as parts of Eastern Spain
“Ricky’s” was and still is its name. It is now a French cuisine, adults only restaurant ran by the family’s son, as far as I am aware – https://www.rickysbistro.com . It was a family run restaurant – lovely family from Scotland, and yes, I struggled to understand the accent! I applied for the job online, got the job and went home to my mum that same day and broke the news to her that I was buggering off to live in Spain and who knew when I would be back. Handed my notice in at the solicitor’s office the next day and started the process of saying my goodbyes and packing. I remember being at the airport in Manchester, whole family in tow. One thing myself and my family always laugh about, still to this day, is that my suitcases (yes, plural!) were overweight and so I had to empty them at the check in desk. I had not expected this and opened one of my cases and not only had I taken my sisters clothes, but her favourite shoes were sitting right there, right on top! They never made it to Spain!
A month after handing my notice in at work, I arrived in Palma airport and was collected by the restaurant owner and we made our way to the lovely little restaurant on the beach front in C’an Pastilla. I was introduced to everyone and was shown my room on the roof of the building – I guess for effect let’s call it a penthouse! At this point it became apparent I was, in fact, sharing a tiny room. Sharing. With the chef. A guy! And not only was it a tiny room but there was a tiny bathroom in one corner of the room. My immediate thoughts were “Nah this is not going to work!” A girl needs privacy you know! Anyway, I did what I do best and just got on with it. Lived the experience!
My first shift started the next day and that beach working holiday I had hoped for became a wish whilst I stood looking at it from the window and it was clear that it wasn’t going to happen. My working days started at around 8am until 3pm, then siesta time, with the guy in the single bed next to me(!) and then back to do the evening shift from around 6pm until the early hours. It was a great experience; my legs didn’t think so, but it really was. I was serving customers from all over the world and learning from them and opening my mind to all their life stories they had to share. I had a day off a week and took that day to explore the area and enjoy the beach that I woke up to every morning.
The area was beautiful, peaceful and quiet. If you’re looking for a lovely, quiet beach holiday close to Palma then I highly recommend C’an Pastilla https://www.abc-mallorca.com/can-pastilla
C’an Pastilla pronounced “Kan Pastiya” is close to the airport and not far from the city of Palma – around 30 to 40 minutes by bus. Palma has a beautiful cathedral and a long promenade along the sea front (which I dragged my 30kg suitcase along for miles!) and a lovely harbour and cafes and restaurants. The promenade cafes are known as ‘Balnearios’. Palma is also well known for a great shopping trip if that’s your thing! I avoid shops at the best of times, never mind when I’m traveling! My shopping trips consist of knowing what I want, missioning into the exact shop where I can buy what I am looking for, pay and leave as quickly as possible! A little further down the coast (a short walk) were the nightlife scenes in an area known as Arenal, with its popular clubs and bars, known to mainly attract a German crowd and is well known amongst German travellers and I have even met tourists from Germany in other destinations and they have mentioned Arenal!
I didn’t last too long at Ricky’s. The hours and the whole room sharing thing wasn’t for me! My high school friend Zoe then came out to do a summer season with me and she arrived in C’an Pastilla and we gathered our belongings and headed out on a bus, to the only place we knew we would find work, and quickly… Magaluf!!! Also, I say gathered my belongings; I had to leave a suitcase full of possessions in C’an Pastilla. I couldn’t manage two massive 30kg suitcases all the way to Magaluf. I have, since that day, learnt to pack light!
Zoe and I arrived on the bus in Magaluf and had absolutely no idea where to go or what to do! We had no accommodation booked and no job and had never been there before! However, we very quickly discovered we weren’t the only ones. By the end of the first week we were sharing a one-bedroom apartment with roughly 10 people from all over the world all looking for work. Lilo’s and towels became beds!
Zoe and I set out the next day in search of work in the crazy tourist party town of Magaluf. With its crazy hen and stag parties, groups of guys and girls on fun, drunken holidays. We both started work at BCM club https://www.bcmplanetdance.com selling shots. Jelly shots. Which consisted of a plastic cup full of jelly (which I later discovered were made in a bath tub) topped up with vodka. Zoe got out of that job pretty quickly and became a cow girl at Buffalo Girls on the strip. I, on the other hand, spent the majority of my Magaluf days selling the jelly shots for €5 a pop in BCM Planet Dance. I mean, I can’t complain, it was free drinks at the bar every night, which sometimes resulted in me highly embarrassing myself, but what 20 year old working in Maga doesn’t?! I’ll get on to the stories just now.
In any case, after myself and Zoe had found work, we parted ways. I lived in an apartment right outside BCM, and right outside the morning breakfast workers café (ideal!) with an Italian guy, Andreas (hot by the way!) and then two girls moved in. My lifelong friends Lisa, and Hazel from Chester UK. The most down to earth, loveliest and funniest girls you’ll ever meet. I remember them having full on conversations just quoting movie lyrics, in particular, Ace Ventura! I met so many amazing people in Magaluf. It was my first adventure and the first time I’d left the UK as an adult and so it was pretty much the first time my mind had been opened to meet others from around the world. I made it my mission to have a basic conversation in as many European languages as possible when I was selling the shots – it was a good selling technique!
Ok, here goes, kaxi (I don’t know how to spell it – Bulgarian for how are you), come estai (Italian), mita kuluu (Finnish), the obvious Spanish come estas, hur mar du (Swedish). There were so many languages and so many people! However, being in Spain I made an effort to learn as much Spanish as possible. Now this was a difficult one, most of my friends were from South America and so spoke different dialects of Spanish. My nickname quickly became “Zanahoria” amongst the Spanish workers, meaning carrot in Latin American Spanish – for those of you that haven’t seen me, I am a redhead and I embraced the nickname! I have since learnt from Urban Dictionary online that it is “used by Spanish speakers all around the world to call their friends a dumbass”! Got to laugh at that hey!!! As well as Lisa and Hazel I made many other friends, Natasha, who worked in BCM square (she comes into my story many years later and is now one of my closest friends), Cara (who also comes into my story many years later). Who else, many others I have kept in touch with, a guy I will never forget, from Mexico, who actually gave me the name I now know means “dumbass”, and of course my friend Mila from Argentina, who at some point I will definitely go and visit. And then there were Hannah and Nadia from Bristol, they were the highlight of most of my nights before going to work as they used to PR for BCM and had the funniest of conversations with tourists. The accent though! Lovely girls.
Getting carried away there. The point of all that is that it was my first adventure overseas and I made friends for life. Some of the most amazing people I have ever met, and thinking about it, everywhere I have lived I have met so many incredible people.
Now, for Magaluf stories – I love my stories. Ok, so Maga stories:
We have the time I slept on the beach with my suitcase, between looking for somewhere to live, not good for a redhead. I was sizzled. Pink. Red. Burnt!
Oh, and there were the cockroaches in the apartment… which resulted in three grown women jumping on beds shouting and screaming and a 6 foot 5 German “shed” with a broom shouting “I kill you”. Did you know cockroaches can climb up walls?! Some even have wings! Ergh!
Wet t-shirt competitions (not me!). I just enjoyed the view!
Foam parties. Don’t ever go into a foam party thinking its clean…
Living in an apartment with about 6 Spanish/South Americans that didn’t speak English. After a few beers apparently my Spanish was enough to have full conversations for hours, and yes, using a version of sign language.
I also sold laughing gas at one point. A lesson learnt from that was when you’re told you’re “too ugly” to sell something, take it in your stride, and carry on. Oh, how I love a challenge!
My kissing who I thought Was DJ Eddie Halliwell and it wasn’t, it was just me being gullible! Stu is a super talented DJ having had residency DJ spots in Dubai and Switzerland and is currently DJ’ing in Mallorca – go check out his music at http://soundcloud.com/Stulauriemusic
I also fell over in a flooded bathroom in BCM. Now, any shots that were stolen or spilt had to be paid for €5 per shot – I earned €1 per shot. Picture this, walking into a bathroom, flip flops, flooded floor, me on my arse…I fell over, knocked my head on the floor, actually cut my head open, vodka on the floor and the shots empty of all liquor. I decided to fill the shots with water. Genius right? I mean what option did I have. It was either that or not eat for days.
I can’t forget the DJ Tiesto fiasco. Right, who on earth knows what these massively famous DJ’s actually look like? I don’t – clearly. So, I had sold all my jelly shots on this occasion, bar one, and we refilled them in the VIP bar. I remember making my way through the curtain, marched proudly up the stairs with one shot left. I saw a potential “victim” on the stairs. I stopped the guy mid stairwell. The most common Manchester accent ever “Hiya d’ya wana buy a jelly shot?”. I literally got swept away – physically. I thought wow, how rude are you dude. Only I turned around, I had walked across a whole red carpet and through barriers, girls were screaming, paparazzi snapping, flashes of light, and this dude that said no. I quickly came to realise, it was only bloody DJ Tiesto. Like wow. I actually met the guy but didn’t know. He clearly didn’t want my awesome jelly shot!!
Things I learnt from a summer season in Spain:
- Traveling is addictive.
- Be forever open to meeting new and good people.
- Jelly shots don’t taste great.
- Spanish is a beautiful language.
- South Americans are awesome people.
- Towels and Lilo’s aren’t comfortable.
- Never let your husband to be, go abroad for his stag do.
- One-bedroom apartments actually have capability to house many people.
- Always carry sun cream.
- Avoid bars with free alcohol.
- Swedish women are stunning.
- Pack light and don’t take your sisters shoes to live abroad. In fact, just don’t take them!
- I will never eat two minute noodles again.
I want to write these blogs (my memoir), not only to share my life lessons and experiences but also to give advice of where to go in the places that I have had the enjoyment of being in. However its been 11 years since I have been in Magaluf. I can say, that it is a fun cheapish holiday destination for 18’s to say 25 year olds. BCM is still open, after quite a while of closure I have been told. DJ Sammy still has his residency there too! Back then I think he was Thursday nights and those were the best, now he seems to have his slot on a Saturday night! There’s also Mambo’s and Alex’s Bar, Boomerangs (I also worked there briefly). I haven’t been back since, probably because I’m old now, haha, and my travel taste has changed, but it would be nice to go back some day for old times sake!!