Tangier Beer Fear. Oh Dear.
17 Oct 2004. Algeciras - Tangier.
You can ride all across Europe, looping in and out of France, Spain and Portugal without showing your passport once. Gibraltar is different. Having lugged my new tyres 40 miles across Andalucia to a 9am appointment at Gib's Motorcycle Pitstop without the document in question, I am refused entry at customs. Not even a photograph of it on my digital camera will do. I am already late for the tyre man.
Screaming vile blasphemies directed at Gib passport control, my own stupidity and the whole hollow, black, hate-filled moral desert that is the universe, I head back to Jimena to get it.
80 angry miles later I'm back in Gib. I'm allowed in without showing my passport. Too late - the tyre man can't do it now. But he knows a man who can...
Having left bike and tyres at Quick-Fit I spend the afternoon getting things photocopied, replying to emails and buying a year's supply of Lariam, all doable in Main Street, Gibraltar.
At 5pm I go to pick up the bike and find out the rear tyre is too big. A lot of tedious arsing about follows but eventually it's on. It's not until I'm on African soil that I notice that one edge is rubbing against the exhaust and melting the knobbly bits. Hope it's gonna be OK...
Saturday lunchtime is spent in the bar of the Algeciras-Tangier ferry with some councillors from Belfast and Glasgow and an Australian. We drink beer and laugh. It's the fast ferry, but there's a ferry-jam in Tangier harbour so it takes half an hour longer than the slow ferry.
By about 4pm I'm in Morocco, having dispensed about £20 to various people who have helped with form-filling, and eventually end up in a way-over-budget hotel with a great view of the port.
Unfortunately for me it's day 1 of Ramadan. My dreams of cocktails in louche bars turn to dust.
Posted by Simon Fitzpatrick at December 27, 2004 04:16 PM GMT
Never mind. I'm in Africa!