Tom Nabarro had a snowboarding accident in Bulgaria on April 2 in 2012 which left him dependant on his wheelchair, his mates and his family. Still, getting married later this year, for a raver like Tom there was only one place to go for his stag do. Ibiza.
Mixmag met Tom, also a keen blogger, in the car park of Amnesia, crossing paths after a huge opening night at Cream. Here Tom shares his experiences and expectations of his ten days on the White Isle, where thankfully, most of the clubs are keeping it wheel.
"This is a recount of some of the experiences I had on my 10 day stag in Ibiza. As a C4 tetraplegic, I have no control of arms or legs and very little stability in my torso. I therefore rely on my head controlled electric wheelchair and assistance from others.
"We flew into Ibiza International with Monarch airlines and although usually I'm concerned about the possibility of my wheelchair being damaged in baggage handling, I was reassured by friendly staff (capable but understandably unfamiliar with manoeuvring such an immobile individual) that due care was being taken. After the customary awkward transfer back to my wheelchair from the aircraft seat, we were escorted all the way to the taxi rank by bubbly ‘airport wheelchair assistants’ wearing fluorescent jackets with large wheelchair symbols emblazoned on the back.
"Another concern was the availability of suitable transport, but this was alleviated as soon as two adapted Renault Espace taxis arrived promptly. Other accessible vehicles we encountered included the Volkswagen models Caravelle and Caddy (I have an adapted black VW Caravelle at home). To comfortably fit in the vehicles we needed to enter in reverse and steering the vehicle in reverse via the joystick occasionally required nerves of steel in the early hours of the morning.
"The hotel Hotel Sirenis Goleta* in Playa den Bossa was as accessible as we could have hoped with a walk-in shower, enough room to manoeuvre, understanding and friendly staff (who were also inquisitive but not rude in anyway) and entirely wheelchair friendly grounds. Although the pool had no specific facilities I still managed to get in for a quick dip.
"The first club we went to was ‘Space’, my personal favourite, and after talking to the friendly door manager and explaining we were looking to see how accessible it was because we had tickets to the next day's opening of ‘We Love’, he let the four of us in for free. This unprecedented generosity definitely gave me an instant liking of Space and the traditional club style layout definitely lends to a pleasant wheelchair experience as all the main areas being accessible. We visited Space until closing another four times that trip and experienced highlights such as Mark Knight, Forza, 2 Bears and possibly the set of the holiday from James Zabelia."
"We visited Pacha for Tiesto Clublife and apart from being blown away by the quality of the sound system, we were impressed with the willingness of the staff to find an accessible toilet. The accessible toilet was through an incredibly packed dancefloor in front of the DJ booth, getting us there was not an easy task for the security personnel. Of all the clubs we visited, Pacha was the least accessible but the helpful and professional attitude of the staff almost made up for it.
"At the Cream opening at Amnesia we had VIP access but unfortunately this was inaccessible by wheelchair. The lighting and soundsystem were second to none with Deadmau5 playing a cracker of a set. The sound was probably the loudest and my tinnitus lasted most of the next day. The majority of Amnesia was accessible although some of the chillout spaces were upstairs.
"At Privilege, Supermartxe was definitely an experience. The light show and dancing girls were incredible. Privilege was also all accessible, even the second room, and had a decent, dedicated wheelchair accessible toilet. It was the most impressively organised of all the clubs.
"Overall it was an experience to remember. I fell out of my chair, broke my three front teeth and got my first tattoo at 2 AM in San Antonio (which I only vaguely remember). All essential parts of one's stag do. The music and company was unforgettable (especially the Stringfellows dancer) and there was no damping of the experience due to the usual problems of inaccessibility and negative attitude.
You can catch up with Tom and read more from his brilliant blog here.
Tom’s top five tips for enjoying a wheel-bound White Island:
1. Plan impeccably with room for error
2. Organise reliable Transport through prior communication
3. Bring a backup wheelchair
4. Have a designated sober person
5. Leave room for rest time