Oct 20 Boat to Tarifa Spain

It´s 7:00 AM and those who know me, this is not my time of day.  My moto has always been ¨the best way to see sun rise is just before you go to bed.¨  It´s been one of those nights where walking the streets might have been a better option than trying to sleep.  At any rate I suppose in every venture, trip or activity, there comes a moment when (an Ah Ha?) when one realizes its time for a rest or change of scenary.  I woke up with the written plan that I was going to catch a taxi to the frontier, half an hour away, walk a couple of kilometers, pass through Moroccan immigration and walk through no man´s land, pass through Spanish customs and immigration treck a bit further and find a taxi to el centro to look for a hotel in Spanish Sebeta.   One of two Spanish enclaves along the coast of Africa in the Morrocan territory.

This all seemed quite rational at the time I was planning my trip but now seemed a bit tedious and more of the same.  While I had been assured ¨the Spanish do it differently” as compared to what the Moroccan´s or as compared to what they do in Europe.  I´m not sure.  It just seemed to be a bit overwhelming at the moment.

One option was to see if I could stay another night in Tangier and see if I was up to the challenge after another in a more or less familliar room.  I could visit the New Paris Cafe, have another cup of coffee and ponder the comings and goibngs of those around me and those who had proceeded me.  There are other places to explore if I check my map.  But the prospects didn´t seem all that inviting at the moment, I don´t think well in the morning.  I guess I´m tired and maybe a bit overwhelmed at the moment.  Maybe I need a change of venue.  The day today confrontational mood of this place does get tiring.  The sights, sounds and smells, theincident with the kids yesterday only enhance my sense of allienation here.

Before I burn any bridges I checked with the hotel clerk about extending my stay another night.  He said I could if I let him know by noon.  A quick browse of the internet and I found a hotel in Tarifa Spain where the ferry from the port leaves approximately every two hours.  A trip to the boat dock at the port and I had a round trip ticket to Spain on the noon ferry.  I went back to the hotel with a quick stop in a hanut and picked up some bread, water and yorgurt for a picknic lunch on the boat.  I went to my room packed, made a trip to the bank and paid my room and headed to the boat.

It was a fairly routine pass through immigration and an easy walk on to the boat and a window seat.  The fog closed in and we left a half hour late but it was an easy trip across the channel.  I explored the boat, three decks and about 20other passengers.  I found the restroom and settled infor the hour or so trip across the Medterainian sea to Tarifa, a small town on the southern point of Spain.  It is located abourt twenty kilometers west of Gerbralter.  There is a point in town where the sea to the east is the Medterainian and to the west the Atlantic.

The trip was uneventful and when I arrived Spanish immigration and customs was easy.  I checked on the return schedule for Sunday.  I have a night train Sunday night from Tangier to Casablanca and don´t want to miss it.  I asked the young lady at the booth about an ATM or bank, the reply ¨No ai in Tarifa¨ I will have to wait until the morning when the bank opens.  Surprized I asked again in English, my Spanish is a little rusty at this point, once again wait until tomorrow morning and go to the bank.

I also asked about the time as everything seemed a little scued as I looked around.  It turns out the time here is two hours later than Morocco.  Most of Spain lies to the East of here and most of Morocco lies to the west so I guess it makes sense even though my sense of direction ias that I came straight north.  All of a sudden it is 3:30 the middle of siesta time and belive me they take siesta time seriously here.  Everything including the police station and tourist office seems closed.  I decided to take a little familliarization walk and see if I could find my hotel and get my barings on the town.  Just about everything in view is CERADO.  I did manage to find a couple of Austrailians walking about who directed me to a row of a couple of dozen ATM machines and several, closed, banks.  At least the machines don´t take a siesta!  With spendable money in my pocket I felt a little more secure and figured I could at least buy my way out of most situations.  I managed to find a coffee shop that was open.  A cup of BLACK coffee is always a good way to revise ones faith in the world.     Two important milestones in the life of the traveler, money and coffee.

Oaky a little rest and I´m ready to explore a little more.  It is close to time for things to reopen and I head back to the tourist office to get a map and some directions.  Since this was an unplanned excursion I don´t have any maps, tour books or idea where I have landed.  There was a nice lady at the tourist office that had a map and a ¨guide book¨ for me to get some notions about things.  It turns out that my hotel is 7 kilometers out of town, something conveniantly left off the web site as far as I can remember.  During the summer season there is a bus to accomodate lonsome travelers like me but at this time the tourist season is pretty well over and the buses have stopped runing.  It´s taxi time.  13 Euros is a lot compared to what I have been paying for taxies but its the fare so away we go.  It is a nice ride to the country, along the coast line and pretty much isolated for the most part.  There are othert places along the route to explore.

The town had little to odffer and I was lookibng for peace and quiet so I think this will work out just fine.  It´s a half mile walk to the beach.  My first night here there was a band playing, Abraham Sevilla En Concierto along with a barbacoa of hamburgers.  I think you can find the band on line.  The band played in the front yard of the hotel, my wifi phone works and life is good.  The meals are simple but relatively inexpensive and convenient.

I appologize once again for the spelling, now it´s a Spanish keyboard and spell check in Spanish so evrything is underlined in red.  I will clean this up when I get home.  I am writing in long hand and trying to catch up on posting as I can.  Finding access to a computer is more problematic than I had expected.  I left my lap top at home as another  5 pounds just seemed like too much.  I have been enjoying the freedom of writing with a pen and pad for a change.  I can write much faster and I don´t have the instant chriticism of the spell checker and formating issues.  It takes me back to full page sentances and two or three page paragraphs.  Oh well I´m creative when it comes to the English language!

More to come soon.  El Vagabondo


About thaineha

I am a returned peace Corps Volunteer, North Borneo (Sabah) Malaysia 1962-64 I am making my first trip to Africa. I will spend two weeks in Morocco, and about three weeks in Senegal and Mali. I plan to travel overland from Dakar to Bamako. I hope to meet a few Peace Corps Volunteers along the way and learn how Peace Corps service has changed over the years. I live in California and spent most of my working life as a health economist working in rural health care development throughout the US, California and a variety of international projects.
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