Mi vida en el sol

Trip Start Feb 18, 2004
Trip End Dec 05, 2005

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Flag of Morocco  ,
Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Yo estoy en Espana! (I put for the update that I'm in Tangier, Morocco, 'cuz that sounds cool...more on that later.)

On Saturday (April 10) my alarm was supposed to wake me at 5:30am, but never went off. Luckily, I woke up at 5:53am and looked at my watch. D'oh! I took a shower and got ready super quick then met the taxi outside the pub at 6:15am. Took the taxi to Chester station, then train to Manchester then train to Manchester airport. Once there I got to relax a little while waiting for the flight...it took off about 30 min late. Arrived in Malaga late and took the metro into town and found the train station (and also had to re-adjust to traffic being on the right-hand side of the road). I knew I didnīt have time to go to Cadiz before Sevilla to meet my friend, Karla, so I just went straight to Sevilla (about a 2.5 hour ride). I looked at the map of Sevilla in the station and compared to that in my guidebook, but they looked opposite (flip-flopped). I wandered out of the station briefly but with time short I decided it best to catch a taxi. So I took a taxi to El Parque de Maria Luisa and wandered around there trying to figure out where I was...eventually got my orientation and made it to the Museo Arqueologico at exactly 8pm to meet Karla (Iīm punctual even when traveling hundreds of miles). We went for some food and got some tapas quick. Her return bus ticket to Cadiz was for 9pm so we didnīt have long. I went back to the train station, got my stuff and took the 9:30pm train to Cadiz. A little lost getting to the hostel, but made it at 11:45pm. Yes, it was a very long day of traveling. (You may be asking why I was wandering lost in various places - īcuz my Lonely Planet book is VERY lacking on maps!!! especially if itīs not a big city) I got dos cervezas and Karla and I went up to the terrace hammocks to hang out. She told me about the Semana Santa processions she got to see the previous night...I wish Iīd got to see those too. While chatting, she pointed out what she thought was a shooting star but it didnīt burn out and started zig-zagging. "...thatīs odd," we thought. Then we started seeing others. And a couple came from different directions then met. We decided they were UFOs. After watching a bit more and altering our perspective, we realized they were really birds with the lights of the city reflecting off their bottom (with that initial thought of them being shooting stars, our perspective was set to thinking these were objects really high up). A long day was capped off with alien birds trying to abduct me.

Sunday I actually got to see Cadiz during the day. Itīs a neat little city. Karla and I decided to just have a lazy day at the beach. It was clear and sunny, but not exactly really warm (maybe 70). I still managed to get sunburnt in a couple spots where I missed with sunsreen. Despite the beach area being popular, there werenīt that many restaurants and shops in the area (whereīs American commercialization!?!). Not being fluent in Spanish makes any restaurant experience a bit of a challenge...trying to decipher the menu then ordering. Plus many places just sell tapas so itīs not really a meal. We decided to look for something more "normal" and found a restaurant with pizza. They were probably just frozen pizzas thrown in the oven, but at least it filled me up. We hung out on the beach more then returned back. The streets of Cadiz (like many Spanish cities) consist mostly of small, narrow streets (more like an alley). Along these, are small shops and bars. I found a small shop right near the hostel and got un grande cerveza por €1.20. Karla thought that was a good deal and did the same. We went over by the ocean and watched the sunset then wandered back through the narrow streets (we ran into an older fellow enjoying a beer too and had to cheers him - Salud!). I stayed up a bit that night putting music on the hostel ownerīs computer.

Karla at sunset

Yesterday we caught an early bus from Cadiz to Tarifa and arrived a bit before 9am. Tarifa is southeast of Cadiz and known for windsurfing. We got checked into a hostal (nice one - €15 for my own room!). We had decided to do a day tour over to Tangier, Morocco, so found the ticket office and got tix before sitting down to breakfast. Explored Tarifa a bit. You can see Africa from here...itīs cool to just say, "oh ya, thatīs another continent over there". The ferry was late leaving and we got to Morocco around 1pm Europe time and were worried weīd only have a few hours there (4pm return) but found out Morocco is 2 hours behind. The people got split up based on what language they spoke (the organization was a bit chaotic) then we went for a walking tour through Medina and Kasba. I kept singing "rock the casbah", but the spelling is different so I donīt know if it refers to a different location. Anyway, it was mostly small, dirty alleys that were being fixed with a few vendors along the way but nobody harassing us. We went for lunch (which was not anything like the Moroccan restaurants back home - no washing of hands, no sharing large plates of food, no belly dancer...though there was a strange lady with a raggedy Anne wig, sombrero and kimono doing a weird dance). After lunch we started getting more hounded by the locals. Our tour guide took us to a place where they sit you down and try to sell you carpets then to a place where they sit you down and try to sell you spices. I thought this in very poor taste since we paid for the tour. Karla bought a cushion chair thing so had a bag in hand - this made her a target for vendors. We proceeded to make our way from the shops through the alleys and had all the people following us along trying to sell jewelry, clothing, etc... Actually, they didnīt bug me too much...I just didnīt pay them much attention so they moved on. It would be good to wear sunglasses and bring a blind manīs cane...then theyīd probably leave you alone. The guide took us on quick bus ride around Tanger and we stopped at a place with camels so people could get pics. Back to the ferry for our ride to Tarifa. Karla and I decided to see the sunset again though she got ice cream instead of beer (loco!). We went to Tijuana for tex-mex food and met up with Stephan (we met him on the Morocco tour). Afterwards we went for a drink, but Karla and I were tired after a long day so went back to the hostal.

view of Tarifa

Today I slept in and went to the post office. Wow! Actually, I managed to ask for international postcard stamps and respond to the workerīs question all in Spanish! I wanted to go to Gibraltar for the day and thought I could get there from Algeciras. I took the bus to Algeciras and found the main buses donīt go there, the trains donīt go there and the ferry doesnīt go there. Youīd have to take the local buses which I had no clue which bus to take or where to catch it from. So I just wandered around the city for a while and came back to Tarifa. Several people have already stopped me and asked me questions in Spanish. I want to say (pardon if this is not quite right Spanish), "Vea me! Yo estoy blanco-pasteo (pastey white)! No soy de Espana!" I would think theyīd just be able to look at me and figure out Iīm not tan enough to be from Spain. Maybe I have the look of someone that knows where heīs going when I wander around. Tonight, I think the plan is for another sunset and beer evening followed by dinner.

Tarifa is an awesome little town and the beaches would be great too if it wasn't windy. I'll be sad to leave tomorrow. I havenīt decided where Iīm going...probably west towards Portugal. No more set schedule for me. I just need to get back to Sevilla by the end of the month for Feria.
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