MALLORCANS AND IBICENCOS:
LOVE BEHIND THE SCENES
FROM A MALLORCAN POINT OF VIEW
MALLORCA LOVES IBIZA
IBIZA LOVES MALLORCA
What do Mallorcans know about Ibicencos? Not that much, it turns out.
For many Mallorcans, an Ibicenco is like what a Mallorcan is to a German, an endangered species that is rarely if ever seen.
But if Mallorcans know precious little about Ibicencos, perhaps the latter like it that way.
The average Ibicenco is surrounded by an aura of total mystery (which can even be sexy). Do they go to discos every night? Do they eat ensaimadas like us? What does the Ibicenco actually sound like when he or she speaks? Then there’s the fact that the Balearic Islands couldn’t be more different from one another, and as we are isolated geographically, we know next to nothing about our equally cut-off neighbours.
This summer I discovered a restaurant that serves bullit ibicenco (Ibizan fish stew), and my first reaction was outrage. What do you mean, bullit is not exclusive to Mallorca? Beloved fellow-Mallorcans, not everything is ours and ours alone.
Another of the clichés we Mallorcans love to trot out: In Ibiza during winter there’s nothing to do, poor things…. And as a good Mallorcan I never fail to bring the subject up among the few Ibicencos I come across:
“Listen, what exactly do you do during the winter?”
“Well, we hide ourselves away in a cave and don’t come out until May… What do you think we do? Just the same as here in Mallorca: go on trips, visit restaurants, meet up with friends.”
In fact, for those of us from the ‘big’ (major) island, Ibiza simply ceases to exist when the summer is over.
Those of us from Sa Roqueta (‘The Little Rock’, as we Mallorcans refer to our home) may not know much, but it’s known all over the world that we love to share our corner of the Med with the Pityuses. How many times have we found ourselves in a foreign land trying to explain where Mallorca is? And when we see that they have no idea, we end up saying proudly: “Do you know Ibiza? Well, it’s near there!” The reactions are usually astonishment and envy, because that island is known all over the world – how could it be otherwise, given that it’s mentioned in more than a hundred songs and the crème de la crème of Planet Earth spend their summers there?
So we could say that the relationship between Mallorcans and Ibiza, up until now, has been mainly one of expediency and mystery. We like to boast that we are right next door, we love to head over there come summer, and if we meet an Ibicenco we know once on that island we shout it from the rooftops (and invite ourselves into their house while we’re at it).
Dearest Neighbour, why don’t we hear more from you? I’m sure it’s our fault, because just like you we find it very hard to leave our own island.
With these words I make a call for discovery, to get to know the Ibizencan people better, to learn about their cuisine, their customs and traditions, and to destroy those tired old stereotypes. I challenge the more adventurous of you to go and explore Ibiza during its mysterious winter, and to tell us all about it on your return!
From a Mallorcan who wants to be Ibicenco.
Author: Lorena de Ferrá