After a wild and secret roadtrip from Berlin to Algeciras near the rock of Gibraltar, touching some of the most beautiful scenery and medieval towns Europe has to offer, we took a ferry to Morocco. That was three days ago, days I passed cherishing my status as new arrival on the African continent, adoring the life on the Avenue Mohammed VI here in Tanger. It has been a while that I had an urge to write, simply purely the raw experience pinched into a computer with my fingertips. The directness, unmediatedness of this fickle and formless material before our categorisations. Hearing the sound of the keystrokes as I play, once more, the role my love thinks suits me, here in the bustling and reputed port city where beat generation writers like Alan Ginsberg passed through or others like Paul Bowles lived long years, in this city sitting in the café Terminus de Nord because of its good café au lait, yes, I know writing will never betray me.
|Just a street in the Medina.
Romanticist musings aside, there is work to do. What is the experience of chaotic Tanger for a white boy spoonfed with Calvinism? I was here four years ago, briefly as a tourist and then I felt Africa for the first time. Now, three days ago, arriving with my wife from the ferry in Tanger Med, I felt magnificent. We took a taxi for ten box but halfway to the city (a thirty minute ride) two strange man showed up doubling the price, adding the classic “per person”. Annoyed and embarassed I didn’t see it coming I threw open the door and shrieked “police” just to test it out and to teach the driver to be more honest. That driver mumbled angry Arabic phrases then raced back to the port – just in time for us to catch the free bus to the city center.
Fencing off the hawkers wasn’t hard as I could deal them some proper Spanish and French vernacular. We decided to leave taxis alone for a while and hauled our luggage to the train station, an immaculous European style terminus amidst barely finished naked concrete apartments à vendre and a sad-looking themepark. A very well-mannered railway employee shared a piece of his pastry when he saw me and wrote down the names of some hotels. A comfortable taxiride away, it turned out, was the seaside avenue Mohammed VI, with enough hotels and bars to cater for the tourists. Following an old bearded, toothless man who hastily offered us to carry some of our luggage we arrived at a newly opened, clean and very affordable little hotel, with a friendly and trustworthy student at the counter.
We went out to have dinner that first night, and I felt very comfortable being here in this in-between world of a thousand wild odors and untamed faith.