Lisa and I had big plans to be on a very early bus from Malaga to Algeciras to catch the ferry but we decided more sleep meant us being more savvy travelers. Always key! We got to the bus station by noon and were disappointed the 12:30 bus was already sold out. Thankfully there was another one an hour later and we were hungry. Perfect opportunity to fill our tummies and then we said our goodbye’s to Mary.
We boarded the full bus and started chatting with others who were making there way to Morocco. Turns out our bus was going direct to Tarifa, our original plan, so we stayed aboard. We arrived in Tarifa and went straight to the ferry office planning to catch the 5pm ferry (Lisa had meticulously planned all our possible ferries, which port etc.) so we were disappointed when the ferry company decided to change the schedule that day. Next ferry at 7m. Of course, they’d change the schedule. We’re in Spain. It was gloomy and rainy not a very great day for getting a sense of the surfing town so we found a tapas bar (that wasn’t closing) and chilled.
Passport control was simple but I had a laugh when the two border agents were sharing the stamp. Really? I know Spain is in an economic crisis but do they really have to share a stamp?
Our ferry was 35 minutes but funny enough we spent our entire ferry ride in line waiting to be stamped by the Moroccan border and in the end we were the last people in line. We could have just enjoyed the ride and then waited but we didn’t know. Worked out because we met a Moroccan guy who is living in Barcelona teaching Arabic but is from Chefcoean a town we were going to visit.
He helped us get a taxi and rode with us to the Tangier train station with a pit stop at the bank to get dirhams before going in the other direction his friend’s house! Nice guy. A nice way to start our trip. I was expecting a mass of people to come at us offering taxi’s, money exchange, hotels, you name it like I’ve experience when I off boarded the ferry in Zanzibar but not so. Maybe it’s because they were done for the day? I don’t know but it was nice to be left alone.
Thankfully Morocco is 2 hours earlier than Spain, which meant we wouldn’t miss the 21:30 train. We had our fingers crossed we would get tickets for a sleeping car and thankfully luck was on are side. There were only 2 beds left (fate?) but in different compartments. We didn’t care. Though it was my first introduction of not being able to communicate. There were two teens and an older Moroccan woman. Neither spoke English or Spanish and I didn’t speak Arabic or French. They had no reason to communicate with me and it was one of the strange moments of shit, I can’t communicate with them. Sure, I could play charades but they were enjoying chatting amongst themselves. I realized how much Spanish I know because I understand almost everything. But not more than 10 words of French and Arabic, well, it’s something else entirely. Sounds beautiful.
I don’t know why I was ever worried about traveling in Morocco solo. Morocco is a tourist paradise. I saw more backpackers in the train station than I saw in the first 4 months of traveling in Tanzania and Kenya. Ha. I should know that if I can handle traveling in Eastern and Southern Africa alone (and often off the beaten tourist track), I can handle almost anything! But before we boarded the train, we had a few hours to rest and eat. We tried Moroccans version of pizza and french fries and meet two guys from Malaga. Well, a Spanish guy and an auxiliar teaching in Malaga! We would spend the next 5 days with them…
And then all the fun and craziness began…
Stay tuned. Plenty more to tell. I’m just getting started.