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Sunday, May 15, 2011

A few hours in Africa...

Good spaghetti, Dad?
When we arrived to Malaga, we had some troubles finding our rental car company, but after a good hour of going up and down elevators and escalators, we found it. We also surprisingly found our hotel by luck (since we didn’t have a good map), checked in, walked along the boardwalk, and found a really good place to eat. We were the only customers since we ate on American time instead of Spanish time… but we had some amazing food there! And some pretty good Sangria, too. 

That night, Jeannie and I did some research (while Dad slept) on Tarifa, Spain and possibly taking a daytrip to Tangier, Morocco. Dad didn’t seem to care what we did (at THAT moment), so Jeannie and I made the executive decision to go to Morocco and take the guided tour. We left at 6am the next morning so we could get to Tarifa and take the 9am ferry to Tangier. As we approached Tarifa (the southernmost tip of Spain), the roads became curvier and it became a lot windier. (Tarifa is very well-known for windsurfing.) We bought our tickets to Tangier, Morocco and boarded the ferry. Before we knew it, we were in Morocco! 

Not sure whether to laugh or cry
We got off the ferry and saw a couple of other people with the same tour guide stickers as us so we stood by them until an older man who spoke very little English told us to follow him. He brought another man over to us and told us very slowly, “THIS… IS… YOUR…. GUIDE…” as he pushed the man forward towards us. Dad and I gave each other the same look that said, “Oh, crap.” It seemed as though he had just taken this man off the streets and gave him the job as our tour guide. We got into a sketchy van with about 6 other tourists and we rode around the newer part of Morocco as the tour guide would tell us what a random building was every 10 minutes or so and every time he spoke, the speakers blared right by my ear. 

We made a stop where we had the opportunity to ride camels. I was the only one who rode a camel and I don’t understand why. Who would go to Morocco and not ride a camel?! At the camel-riding “area”, there was a man selling some of his crap. He kept asking all of us tourists if we wanted any of his beautiful bracelets and we all kept saying “no” until Dad noticed that he had spoons (which my sister and I collect) and he said “Shea, he has spoons!!!” Seriously, Dad? So then the man told us he would sell them both for 20 euro or something ridiculous like that and I told my dad not to buy them. Then the man lowered the price and I still said no. Then he asked me what I would buy them for and I said I would take BOTH of them for 6 euro. After I said this, he laughed in my face like I was an idiot… then about 30 seconds later, he sold us the two spoons for 6 euro. 

Jeannie was a little scared that the camel was going to spit on her

Snake Whisperer
The rest of our day was spent walking around the older part of Morocco where we got to see a “snake whisperer”, rats and cockroaches roaming the streets, the street where they shot one of the Bourne movies, 7 year old children coming up to us selling Kleenexes, and as a part of our tour… we had the privilege of sitting in on two sales pitches (for rugs and spices.) The spices sales pitch was quite interesting… we got to smell all of his spices and try things like anti-snoring powder, different balms, and “magic lipstick” that was green but turned pink when you put it on. Pretty amazing stuff, huh? This was about the point when Dad had had enough of Morocco. Lunch was also included in our tour where we had soup, some weird kind of meat (which we never found out what it was), couscous, a small pastry, and the best mint tea I've ever had. Our tour guide took us back to the port where we were supposed to take the 2pm ferry back to Spain. After an hour of waiting, we found out that our ferry had been canceled because of the “weather conditions.” A nice couple from our same tour group went to go find out some information. A few minutes later, they called us down from the window so Dad, Jeannie and I ran down there to meet them. On our way out the door, a man stopped us and told us he worked for the tourist office and he knew about our ferry being canceled so he would take us to the ticket office. We got to the ticket office where our friends, Patricia and Miguel were and stood in line to buy our tickets. They told us that this was the last ferry of the day and they took our passports, collected our money, and also took our receipts/return tickets from the company in Spain that we had originally bought our tickets from. He gave us our new tickets, rushed us over to the ferry because it was going to leave in “5 minutes” and he asked for a tip from Dad. We got on the ferry, waited another HOUR for it to leave, then took a very bumpy ride back to Tarifa. The waves were so huge out in the middle of the sea and the boat kept rocking back and forth… I thought I was going to puke. Fortunately, I didn’t; however, unfortunately, the lady next to us did. When we got off the ferry, it was so windy that we could have easily blown into the Straight of Gibraltar. We went to the ticket office in Tarifa and explained our situation. The lady was sympathetic but there was nothing she could do since we didn’t have our receipts. We were a little frustrated that we were scammed, but it was almost to the point where we didn’t care anymore… we were just glad to be back on Spanish soil.

We drove two hours from Tarifa back to Malaga and when we got to Malaga, we went down the street from our hotel and had a very nice Italian meal with a bottle of wine. Just what we needed after the day we had.

This made everything better.


  1. Shea it was fun Skyping with you, Rich, and Jeannie during this part of your adventure. Keep posting, and enjoy the rest of your journey. Tom

  2. Thanks, Tom. I had fun Skyping with you, too!