This Weekend, Part I: Arrival

So, I ended up going to Ceuta, the Enclave city on Morocco’s northern coast. It’s officially part of Spain, and the Spanish are pretty much using it as a bargaining chip, saying they’ll give it back if the Moroccans can get the British off of Gibraltar. I’m no international affairs expert, but never going to happen.

Anyway, I walk to the bus station and get on the bus. I’m psyched. I managed to convince myself that this was a vacation, and not a pain in my ass. I get about halfway there, when I realize that, because I’d gotten freaked out about pickpockets, I had taken my bank card out of my wallet. And left it in my desk. All I had to get to Ceuta on was a handful of Dirhams and a few emergency dollars. But to hell with it, I said. If I’ve got to go to Ceuta, I’ll sleep on the beach for all I care. Just get this shit over with. The bus ride was 5 hours altogether.

So I get to Tetuan, and have to get a cab from there to the border. About halfway there, there’s a 2-mile stretch of road that is flooded, because this whole trip has taken place in the pouring rain. So we slug along at like 3 mph and this supposedly 20 minute cab ride takes an hour and a half. By the time I make it through customs and am finally standing upon Spanish soil, it is pitch black and pouring out. Ceuta is on a hill, but all the surrounding areas are flooded. Everything is closed.

So I walk 3 kilometers into town in the light rain, along the ocean, so that means there’s also a driving wind and I’m covered with a thick layer of salt when I get to town. I try 3 different hostels, and they’re all full. Finally I try a gen-u-wine hotel. The man behind the counter, Jesus, says that if I leave $200 as a deposit, I can take my other money the next day, go find some Euros, and get my deposit back. “People change money in the street all the time here.” He says “The banks give you bad rates. Trade with people. Is perfect legal here.”

And that’s how I ended up in a cab with the strongest man in Ceuta, driving to an abandoned gas station so I could meet “a good man.”

I’m off to class. More later.

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