Friday, July 03, 2009

Tangier

More than a decade has passed since I last visited Andalucía and worked at that shipyard over in Puerto Royal. It must have been in the winter of 1998 and the cliff of Gibraltar was wrapped in the fleeing morning mist. Barely visible, the Rif Mountains signalled to me from across the strait, and I remember how the vastness of the world literally dawned on me.

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After three days of coastal Spain and the burning inland heat of Granada, we left with the noon-ferry from Algeciras. Alta Velocidad, maybe a bit of cheating to take the catamaran but over the last days I have grown ever more excited about finally making landfall in this ash-white city known for its fading colonial ambience and Beat generation disillusionment. Having cleared the border formalities, we stepped outside the terminal and into what was instantaneously recognizable as a different world. An old seventies Mercedes took us up to the Neo-Moorish train station Tangier Ville where we made some enquiries for our onward journey with the legendary “Marrakech Express”. With the train due to leave first tomorrow evening, we are now preparing ourselves for our first night in Africa.

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