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2003-07-11

The giants of the sea

After about eight hours of sailing, we finally arrive in Tanger. We saw more dolphins, I was sea-sick again… You know the story.

The African coast had been looming ahead in the mist for quite some time, and when it finally appeared, the rocks and hills were higher than expected. There it is – Tanger – the hell-hole from William S. Burrough's Naked Lunch – a quiet little town between the hills, a big harbor. We come closer and Bernd steers us into the harbor… Approaching Tanger

To the left, we see dozens, maybe fifty or more old fisher boats, tied to each other. It looks like a car-park with zero space wasted – when the ships leave, they have to leave in exactly the order they are lying there. The ships are both colorful and shabby, painted blue and red with brown and black patches.

Bernd is looking for the yacht harbor – it seems to have gone! Instead, there is a tiny pier with 10 motor boats and no place to moor. A man on the pier waves; I point him out to Bernd. Ok, we'll just tie our ship to some of the buoys here… A bit later the customs guy comes aboard, examines our papers briskly, and goes. Bern gives him a pack of Malboro on the way out, but really it would have worked without one – the guy was nice, efficient, quick, what else can you ask for? Tartaruga and wooden dinghy

Bernd doesn't want to use the Zodiac dinghy in the harbor waters and decides to use the little jollyboat instead. No motor, just an oar, to cross the 10m from the Tartaruga to the pier. Unfortunately, the jollyboat leaks, and we have to use a bucket and an old empty maize can to empty it before crossing over.

We had a maize can available because dinner tonight was canned tuna, canned maize, onions and fried potatoes, all in one.

Enough customs, boats, canned food – we are finally in Morocco!

Setting foot on land!

Into town Sitting in a café in the medina

We spend the night walking through the old town, the Medina, drinking mint tea at a coffee shop in the middle of the bustling old town itself, where you can see about fifty people now matter where you look, walking about, waiting, kids running through the streets, shouting and waving their arms, mothers watching them, old men watching us, open doors where you hear people having dinner, shops, shopkeeprs inviting us in… Thé à la menthe

Nobody pulls us along, nobody gets on our nerves, the salesmen are quiet, they try to get our interest, but don't bother us, respectfully presenting their stuff, interested in talking to us, asking us where we come from, they all speak French, some English, some German, one or two have been in Switzerland – Geneva, for example. It is warm, the lamps shine on the little winding dirt streets, some of them have the ground torn open with works going on – new infrastructure for the old town.

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