Ferry squeeze

Trip Start Jul 08, 2005
Trip End Sep 10, 2005

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Thursday, August 4, 2005

We caught a bus early the next morning to Algeciras, a busy port town specializing in ferries across to Morocco. We thought we were in like Flynn when we breezed off the bus and into the terminal, got tickets and went through passport control in time to catch the 9:30 ferry. Piece of cake!!

But then when we got to the departure area, there were hundreds of people milling around and no signs to point us in the right direction--and no ferry going to Tangier to be seen. Everyone was confused and there were no officials to help clear the confusion until about an hour later, when some beleagured ferry staff told the aggravated crowd that there would be a ferry there within 30 minutes.

An hour later, those same hundreds of people were literally shoving their way to get onto the ferry--I started thinking that this is how people got trampled to death in crowds, but thankfully I think everyone stayed vertical due to the lack of any kind of airspace between bodies pressing through ticket control, down the gangplank and into the vessel.

We didn't leave for at least another hour, but spent the time waiting in line to have our passports stamped on the boat. What a cool concept--passport control on water!! But the line was also very chaotic with people pushing and weasling their way into the front, causing more grumbling. I'm normally all for a bit of chaos and confusion, if nothing else just to mix things up and to have a reason to use your brain and be creative, but sometimes cool German efficiency could be a welcome addition to processes like this...

Getting off the ferry was like an instant reply of the boarding crowd frenzy fiasco, but this time people were more tired, hot and testy and we witnessed two women screaming Arabic insults at each other beacuse one with a baby stroller was elbowing her way none too gently through the crowd with not so much as an excuse me please (sometimes you don't need to understand the local language to know what people are calling each other). We eventually got swept thru the door and up the gangplank to arrive in the hot, sunny, chaotic port area in Tangier(s).
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