On This Day 14th-April-2009

This week’s on this day post comes from the 14th-April-2009, and I’m in Spain, having just cycled around Morocco in the previous weeks. I remember this day well, or rather the night before. It was the first time I’d felt threatened while travelling. And to this day, it remains only one of three. The other two were on my world tour, once in Hungary and the other in Kazakhstan.

Tuesday, 14th April 2009. Tangier, Morocco to Tarifa, Spain. 20 miles

Haha! After praising the lovely people of this country yesterday, I encountered a very unsavoury character last night! After I’d eaten supper, I started to make my way back to the hotel, but instead of following the same route I took to get there, which was along the main road. I decided I knew best and took a shortcut down some back streets. As soon as I set off on my shortcut, I felt uneasy and thought that maybe it wasn’t the best idea after all.

As I walked along the dark street, I noticed somebody standing in one of the doorways. And as I passed, a voice called out, asking me if I wanted to buy any “hashish.”

“No, thank you”, I replied and continued walking,

“very good weed,” the voice said again,

“no, thank you”, I replied once more and started to pick my pace up!

The mysterious person started to follow me, and again I got asked: “hashish, very good quality, very cheap.”

“No, I’m fine, thank you”, I replied firmly, now starting to get a little worried!

He wasn’t going to give up; I could feel him directly behind me, keeping pace with me! My pace had picked up so much that I was nearly jogging now. Do I turn around and confront him, or do I keep going? I could feel my heart pounding. Thankfully it wasn’t too far before I could see the main road and the safety of other people. As soon as I reached it, I mingled with the crowd. I don’t know what happened to my drug-dealing friend; I just kept walking and made sure I was around other people. I even went to a different hotel in case he followed me!

Not a pleasant experience, and probably my fault for straying from the main road. But it was all fine in the end, and I don’t think he was very representative of Moroccan people, certainly not the ones I’d met anyway.

Arches flags car
Arriving at the port in Tanger
Time To Leave

I arrived at the ferry terminal with plenty of time to spare this morning and was just about to board the ferry when I realised that I hadn’t got an exit stamp in my passport. I looked around to see where passport control was. It was in a separate building across the way, and the queue for that was going out the door! Reluctantly I left the line of cars that I was in and went and joined the queue at passport control. It was now 9.25, and my ferry was due to leave in five minutes! But there wasn’t anything I could do about it; I wouldn’t have been allowed to leave Morocco without an exit stamp. Thankfully the ferry never sailed at its scheduled time, and I was still able to board it. In fact, it didn’t leave for another half hour.

I stopped nice, and early today at the first campsite I found. I want to clean my bike and tighten the chain, as I’ve decided to cycle home via Portugal. Rather than have all the aggravation of catching those trains back up through Spain.

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