Saturday, May 23: Tangier
Saturday morning my sister Debbie and I woke up early to take a day tour of Tangier, Morocco. We almost missed the bus because we got a bit lost but luckily flagged our tour guide down as he raced down the street. The way these folks drive in Gib is pretty interesting. (That's actually true of the whole of Europe and the world actually.) This bus was driving down cart path wide streets with old stone walls on either side at over 20 MPH which was 18 MPH too fast if you ask me. Well, we collected our other tourists and off we went to Tarifa to catch the ferry across the Straits of Gibraltar to Tangiers.
The straits of Gibraltar are very interesting. Only 7.7 nautical miles away, all the water in the whole Mediterranean sea flows into and out of this strait and the level of the Med is 1 foot lower than the Atlantic ocean. The saltier and therefore heavier outflow water flows along the bottom of the strait and the inflow flows along the surface. This is much different that under the Golden Gate where the tides flow side by side not above and below each other.
Tangier is VERY cool. I was expecting a fairly poor, very third world experience. Neither is true. It is a cosmopolitan city with europeans, mostly Spanish, and christian and jewish communities. Even the King of Saudi Arabia has a "house" here and spends more time in Tangier more than in Arabia. His property is next to the King of Morocco's palace and has it's own airport for Allah's sake.
"The multicultural placement of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities and the foreign immigrants attracted writer and composer Paul Bowles, playwright Tennessee Williams, the beat writers William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, the painter Brion Gysin and the music group the Rolling Stones, who all lived in or visited Tangier during different periods of the 20th century." from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangier
One of the beat generations most important writers, William Burroughs lived in Tangier where he wrote Naked Lunch.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_S._Burroughs
Of course the majority of folks living her are Muslim Berbers who are a diverse ethic group from north Africa. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berbers
Anyway, I bought a moroccan tribal rug for the boat (a runner for the main salon) and a hookah!
Oh, and Debbie and I took the ubiquitous camel ride along the way. Man those poor beasts are surly! Hahaha