A money-saving device in Morocco
We have travelled overseas with an older family member several times with great success but have restricted it to the comfort zone of the US, with no language issues or complex cultural challenges. This time we are going to Europe, untouched territory, and how excited we are.
As usual I have the task of organising the itinerary and accommodation. As I become more emboldened I select a tour of Spain that to my delight includes a day trip to Tangier, across the Strait of Gibraltar, in northwest Morocco. So many pieces of paper are printed with information of how and where we are travelling and these are distributed with anticipation that at least the important features will be read. How wrong I am.
Not only are the pages designated to the pile of unread brochures, but the itinerary remains a mystery to everyone but me. So there’s shock when it is discovered that the whole trip is to be done on public transport and not a dedicated bus or private car.
The day for our trip to Tangier arrives. We are to catch a ferry from Tarifa and my sense of foreboding increases. I suggest to the older family member that perhaps remaining at the hotel on Spanish soil might, after several weeks of travelling, be of some familiarity and that Morocco might push things too far. I don’t know whether or not it is fear of being alone for the day but there she is, next to us on the ferry getting her passport stamped.
I am heady with delight in anticipating somewhere completely different and am not disappointed. The markets, snake charmers and even the carpet salesmen running down the street after us match the Tangier of my imagination, but it becomes all too much for the older one. The aghast look on her face says it all.
When the next group of trinket sellers swarms all overr her, one of our party leaps to her defence with the cry, “No! In Australia we have an evil leader who only lets old people out of the country once in 10 years and they are not allowed to carry any money!”
Once the laughter dies down, we cherish this memorable moment of a wonderful journey. Send your 400-word contribution, with full postal address, to: email@example.com. Columnists receive copies of Lisbon by Rebecca Seal and Dalmatia by Ino Kuvacic, newrelease hardbacks featuring sumptuous photography and recipes from the heart of Portugal and Croatia’s Mediterranean coast. $95. More: hardiegrantbooks.com.