Thursday, May 24, 2012

Joooooder, Tangér

(Joder is European Spanish equivalent of 'fuck'. In Spain, its used like 'good grief'/'holy shit'/'that sucks'/etc.)

Remember when I went to Tangier, Morocco back in January? No? Well, here's a refresher: it was an experience, I'm glad I went, and I vowed that I would never go back. (To Tangier that is, not to Morocco in general.) However, when my friend Kaitlin decided to come visit a few months later, she told me that she wanted to see Gibraltar and Morocco. And I cursed silently in my head, because I knew I couldn't afford to do anything more than a day trip to Morocco, and Tangier is the cheapest city to get to.

My second experience in Tangier was no more wonderful than the first. The best part of the day for me (sadly) was when we crossed the border in a bus from Spain to Morocco. Our ferry landed in Ceuta, a Spanish colony in the northern-most tip of Morocco. It's a very Spanish city. We got on the tour bus and drove about 20 minutes to la frontera, the border. The Spanish side was neat and orderly, people were standing in lines and the buildings were nicely kept up. Then we had our passports checked and crossed onto the Moroccan side. Immediately, everything changed. Even the ceiling had a definite line on it. All of a sudden cars were parked chaotically  all over the road, the white paint on the cement walls was cracking and peeling, and there was sketchy looking barbed wire on the tops of all the walls. Welcome to Morocco!

(Actually, the best part was when we crossed back over the border back into Spain that night.)

The tour was a full day and included walking tours of the medinas and souks of Tetuán and Tangér.
The title, 'Joder, Tangér' was something everyone was thinking as we climbed onto the tour bus the final time in Tangier. We had just been followed across a parking lot by 4 older men and 3 boys, trying to sell us everything from little beaded bracelets to small wooden camels to giant-sized rugs, as we ran across to the bus. One guy even went so far as to yell up the stairwell, telling us that this was our last chance and we didn't want to miss out. Yeesh. As soon as we were in the relative peace and quiet of the bus, an old Spanish lady behind me let out a sigh accompanied with 'joder!!' Which summed up as any number of swear words. The rest of the bus laughed and vehemently nodded heads in agreement.

Ceuta, the Spanish colony.
Baby camel, meet little girl. Little girl, meet baby camel.
These next 4 pictures are from Tetuán.
Tangier medina.
 Free time to shop. The owner pulled us aside to show us pictures of him with Rick Steves, ex-President Zapatero, and John Malkovich, to name a few. He was very excited to have American visitors. 
Gibraltar in the background
Ceuta from a distance

Tangier, I sincerely hope I never see you again. 

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