A Welcome Note: On Filling the Gaps

Dear Friends and Family:

Although I haven't added any posts since the summer of 2007, this blog continues to be a warehouse of my thoughts and experiences from my time abroad.


Sunday, March 4, 2007

Morocco: Day Nine

3.3.07 - This morning, we woke up in Tangier and quickly packed our bags and walked to the dock. There, a number of passport officials (often contradicting each other with their directions) eventually directed us to customs, but by the time we made it all the way to the gate, we had missed our boat, so we had to wait another hour for the next ferry. An hour later we boarded a boat to Tarrifa and already running late, when we arrived found out that we missed the free bus to Algezires (which only comes every 2 hours). Furious, Brent and I conversed with a Ferry Operator, explaining that there were a good fifteen other ferry passengers who had also missed the bus. Eventually the arranged for another bus to take us to Algezires. When we arrived there, we were supposed to take another bus to Malaga. At the station, we purchased tickets for a 5pm bus to Malaga (from where our flight to Madrid left) and since we had a good hour to spare, decided to grab a nice paella lunch at the adjoining cafĂ©. About 15 minutes before our bus was scheduled to leave, we made our way to the bus only to realize that we were still on Morocco time, an hour behind, and that the bus we paid for had left an hour earlier. We ran back to the woman who first sold us our tickets and when we explained our situation, she replied “this is not my problem.” “Yes it is your problem” we retorted and argued with her until she issued us new tickets without making us pay extra. When the next bus pulled up, the driver got out and opened up the doors. We boarded and Brent and I dropped our bags on the bus. Clearly upset about something, the driver began hauling off 800 km a minute in the most violent Spanish I’d ever heard. After a tense exchange, we finally understood that he wanted us off the bus and we had to disembark for him to check our tickets. A few minutes later we were on our way once again and drove alone the Spanish coast toward Malaga. The trip was beautiful and the landscape incredibly rich, spotted here and there with wind power plants. Finally we arrived in the Malaga bus station and bumped into none other than two hippies we had met on our Sahara Expedition trip. From there we took a city bus to the airport and checked in. We met up with Mimi and Dianna who had spent the past few days with Tall Ted and Awkward Andy in Seville and readied ourselves for the flight to Rome via Madrid. That night we boarded Iberia Air to Madrid and within an hour, landed in the beautiful terminal 4 of the capital city. Much to my delight, every time the plane landed the signature Iberia lute song and the Spaniards burst into applause. In most countries it’s expected that the pilots land the planes successfully (I mean that’s their job), but in Spain the people always get so excited when the wheels touch the tarmac. Maybe they just have less faith in their pilots. Anyway, since we had to take a flight from Madrid to Rome the following morning at 7AM and we landed already really late, we figured it didn’t make any sense to go all the way though security, get a hotel, and wake up really early to get back to the airport. Also our bags were all carryon so we didn’t even need to collect them and re-check them. We simply did dinner in the airport and after a few card games, passed out on the random couches in the terminal. Despite the incredibly annoying announcements in Spanish that literally said “We will not be making any announcements until the morning” that kept waking us up, we did get a few hours sleep.

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