From Malaga I head further south to the port of Algeciras
It is only about 150 km from Malaga to the port. I could do that in 3 hours of leisurely driving. I’ll stop somewhere by the sea on the way and I won’t be in a hurry. But I’m slowly starting to say goodbye to Spain inside. I’m getting a little nervous, I’ve never been to Africa before.
I stop by the sea. In 40-degree heat with a jacket and helmet in hand, in jeans and a black long-sleeved T-shirt, I head to the beach. Along the way, I buy strawberries and avocados as a snack. A strange combination, but one should be able to make oneself happy with absurd little things from time to time.
When I arrive in Algeciras, a feeling of uncertainty begins to engulf me a little. It doesn’t look much like Spain anymore. The streets are dusty, I don’t see many Spaniards on the streets, I rather feel a bit like I’m in Morocco. I arrive at the hostel, where he immediately points out the security risks: “Here, sir, you’re really more like a ghost in Morocco and you shouldn’t leave your motorbike unsecured just like that on the street.” Good start. I’m not in Morocco yet and people are already starting to scare me and warn me about what awaits me there.
I chain the motorcycle to a lamp not far from the bank and pray that a possible robber notices the camera pointed at the street besides me. When I’m already squatting next to the motorcycle, I notice that a piece of screw is missing from the brake system on the rear wheel. It looks like a screw that holds the brake pads together. Whoops…
At the hostel, I quickly google service and set off on my motorbike to a renowned mechanic in Algeciras. It had the best rating on Google Maps, everyone praised it very much.
I arrive at a small garage in an apartment building. There is indeed a mechanic and even a Spaniard 🙂 I try to explain to him my problem with the motorcycle and that I am leaving for Morocco the next day. I don’t have a ferry ticket until one in the afternoon, so there’s plenty of time. Maybe there would be enough time, but it shouldn’t be circuit racing in the city, and the mechanic Carlos had to take care of the bikes for tomorrow’s race.
In addition, he added that the repair will probably not be easy. Removing that screw will be an interesting job for at least one whole morning. But he just doesn’t have time for that.
I ask him how he would handle it. He advised me to go to Morocco like this and gradually check whether the rest of the broken screw is coming out of the brake. I can try to find someone in Morocco, but I have to count on the fact that they will use people’s creativity there. Back here in Europe, a classic mechanic may no longer be able to put together such folk creativity. You just have to take that into account.
I’m letting the whole thing go through my head… like a ladybug ass hitting the windscreen of a Skoda 120.
The next day I leave for the port and board with the injured motorbike. The journey takes a few hours, I relax on the sofa in the restaurant part of the ship. I fall asleep and the waiter wakes me up. They say we are already at the destination station. The cheapest ticket with a motorbike was to Tanger Med. It was clear that it was Tangier. It is the same. I had no doubts about that when I bought the ticket.
I get on my motorbike, ride out of the ship and the customs officer stops me, checks my passport, rolls his eyes and says that I don’t have a stamp in my passport. It doesn’t make me nervous, but I don’t give up. I hit back at the information that I barely got off the ship, so how could I have a stamp in my passport? The customs officer does not take my counterattack off guard and retaliates with the information that the stamp is obtained in the office on board the ship… hahaha…
Fortunately, some things sort of take care of themselves. Just as the official is coming out of the ship, the customs officer intercepts him and makes a point of putting a Moroccan stamp in my passport. In the end, I find out that there are more of us like me, and a queue gradually forms at Mr. Clerk’s. But I’m already riding my motorbike to the exit from the port.
I go through the last customs check and glance at my phone to see if the GPS tells me exactly where I am. Downloadable offline maps of Morocco has become a basic necessity of life at this point, just like drinking and breathing. Unfortunately, the GPS on the map shows a completely different place than I expected.
Tangier and Tangier are not the same thing. This harbor is in the middle of nowhere. There is no city, nothing, it’s just an industrial port. If you came here as pawns, you’re pretty much screwed. And so I patted myself on the shoulder, I said to myself Ondro it will be good, you are starting very well in Morocco, so let’s go to the next adventure…