A money-sav­ing de­vice in Morocco

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - NANCY TELFER WEST LAUNCE­S­TON, TAS­MA­NIA Su­san Kurosawa (02) 9288 2464 Sharon Fowler (02) 9288 2419 Chris­tine McCabe Ju­dith Elen Stan­ley Ste­wart, Vi­jay Vergh­ese Penny Hunter, Mark South­cott Bob Rickey (02) 9288 3659; bob.rickey@news.com.au

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: travel@theaus­tralian.com.au. 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.

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