The Guiris are Here!

It’s time to finally face up to the fact that the summer is upon us once again. How do I know? Well these strange people have started to appear.

While I zip up my fleece, they walk past in vests, shorts and flip flops. I should be used to it after nearly 30 years on the White Isle but it still comes as a shock to the system when they magically appear. It’s 20 degrees and I’m still feeling the spring chill while they let it all hang out, basking in Ibiza’s beautiful weather.

The term ‘guiri’ is viewed by some as a slur but I rather like it, for me it’s a badge of honour. ‘Guiri’ (pronounced girry) is what the local Spanish call northern European tourists of a pasty/white skin nature who stand out in a crowd. I’ve been called it a thousand times and have never taken offence although I know some of my friends don’t like it.

When I’m called ‘guiri’ I usually respond by calling the perpetrator a ‘Payes’ or ‘Payesa’ which is like calling someone from Ibiza a ‘country bumpkin’. They usually give a ‘touché’ look and we move on quickly. There’s names for everyone after all, not just pale foreigners wanting to spend their hard earned money in your town.

Now that the summer flights have started it’s the official end of winter and the ‘guiris’ are arriving in their thousands, I have to admit that I sometimes have to stop myself from scowling when I see them, I’ve become that person but it’s more of a reflection on me than them. It’s not a personal thing, it’s just I’m not ready for the winter to end. I’m never ready for the winter to end.

As I see them walking around our empty April streets I also feel thankful that they are here. I live from tourism, I was able to buy the house I live in because of tourism, our island only has tourism and I try never to forget this. The scowl is about me not them, it’s about living in paradise for 6 months where I can park my car, drive without the fear of playing bumper cars, get a table at my favourite restaurant, talk to my friends without my phone going 24/7 and relax in the winter sunshine.

It’s now transition time where we get back into the swing of things. My first villa clients are round their Ibiza pools and it’s all systems go (well kind of). August is still a long way off even though it’s looming like a dark cloud in the distance.

This is life on the island and although I’m never fully prepared I love this time of year when we finally get our arse into gear and get ready for summer. I also love all the guiris for choosing to come to Ibiza time & time again, spending their hard earned money so we can work 6 months a year and then have another 6 months relatively stress-free in paradise.

So if you do see me or others scowl from time to time then please treat us with the contempt we deserve, it’s just a phase we are going through.

Author: Martin Makepeace

Englishman living and working in Ibiza since 1991. Entrepreneur with a passion for villas, boats, sunsets and San Antonio. Read my blogs, listen to my podcasts and catch me on Radio One Mallorca every Tuesday morning.

4 thoughts on “The Guiris are Here!”

  1. Greetings from a (not so pale) guiri who arrived in the White Isle on one of the first Summer flights. Fab article Martin, written with great empathy … John.


  2. Well put, I think a lot of us feel the same. I used to take offence at the derogatory term for foreigners but now I am quite thankful that they haven’t become so politically correct as the rest of Europe and hold on to some of their expressions whether they be terms of endearment or a tongue in cheek pop at the people who provide most of Spain their income. Nice article.


  3. I am a born and bread pagesa and I agree with you, you shouldn’t take it in a bad way as guiri means tourist. You can say, “putes guiris de merda “and it’s obviously offenssive or you can simply say “ anem a xerrar amb es guiris” and it just means that, let’s talk to the tourist.
    As usual, this article is more about bragging about how much you british work and deserve a holiday … rest of the world don’t? They also do and behave probably better while on holidays.


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