Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Rabat to Malaga via Tangier
Guess whose turn it was to be ill today? Ma pauvre petite El now has the same stomach problems I had for three days. Unfortunately today is a planned travel day so there is not much we can do but make a stop at the corner pharmacie and head off. It is a beautiful day and we travel through rolling hills that seem to get greener as we head north. We passed down this same road on the way in two weeks ago, but in the dark; it is nice to see it in daylight.
We attempt to get some photos of locals on the donkey or pony carts as we pass through a series of small towns. I haven’t taken many of this kind of picture as I don’t really feel right treating them as some sort of exhibit. Never-the -less our Moroccan journal would be incomplete without this quintessential image.
We manage to get ourselves into Tangier with little trouble and head for the ferry dock where we have arranged to meet Adnan and return his car (which we felt obliged to give a good wash on the way down). With my bad French and his bad English combined with my inability to figure out the local payphone, it took a while to establish that he was already waiting for us just a couple of hundred feet away. We handed back the lovely little Peugeot 206 with thanks. It was comfortable and reliable and I believe I returned it with most of the same gears it came with.
We were once again accosted by a helpful sort who did point us to the right ticket office and help us with our bags which by now add up to about 250 lbs (I got an incredible deal on a set of camel hoof decanters I couldn’t say no to). There was the expected nonsense about his fee. I was tired enough that I would have given him whatever he asked but that turned out to be so outrageous I had to say “Non, non, mon frère, ce n’est pas acceptable!”
Somehow I thought that as the boat was already loading it wouldn’t be long before we were off. I was wrong. Trucks had to be laboriously backed into the ferry one at a time and there was a major kafuffle when one of the ship’s cables broke causing the rear loading ramp to misalign with the dock, a strong side wind not helping. I deliberately chose the slow ferry as I thought it would be a smoother crossing than the fast boat and it has been but this tired old tub makes the Queen of Alberni look like a luxury cruise ship! Anyway I see the lights of Algeciras outside so it is time to find our luggage and prepare for the remainder of today’s trek, the bus ride up to Malaga.
We arrived at Algeciras around 8 pm local time (Spain is one hour ahead of Morocco) and got to the bus station. Despite being multilingual I struggled with the switch from French to Spanish after such a long day. We were in time to take a 9 pm bus but this is the slow one that comes off the highway to stop at five or six towns along the Costa Del Sol. We would arrive at the same time by waiting for the later express bus, and this also gave us time to have a cup of tea in the station cafeteria and of course work on this blog. Neither of us has eaten anything all day but my appetite is back so I had some nice Serrano ham on a plain bun, in some ways the best food I have had in two weeks!
Finally, around midnight we arrive back in Malaga and fall gratefully into our room at our Lola RoomMate hotel. El can fill you in on the décor tomorrow!