|An hour south of us is the small town of Tarifa, which sits at the southernmost tip of continental Europe. It has supposedly given us the word tariff by virtue of it being the first port to charge for docking facilities. |
The land approach to Tarifa isn’t especially attractive, much of it being given over to hostels and facilities to support the windsurfers and kiteboarders who flock here to take advantage of the Atlantic winds. The area around the port seems rather dilapidated, perhaps caught short before renovation money came through.
Not long after we arrived some kind of parade of civil militia was being enacted. I hope something was achieved from it, but these functions seem like the macho equivalent of synchronized swimming. I remember being bored to tears by broadcasts of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo when I was a kid – and this Tarifa Tattoo was the small-town version minus bagpipe accompaniment. Now I’d like to see a Tango Tattoo – that might be a fitting follow-up to Tap Dogs – are there any choreographers reading this? Oh, and apparently men have been banned from Olympic synchronized swimming events since 1952. A big deal was made this year that with female boxing, women are now eligible for all the men’s events – but this and rhythmic gymnastics are denied to men. This might change before Rio. Oh yeah and the Tarifa civil guard units here had quite a few women in their ranks.
If I’d been aware of the opportunity before embarking on this roadtrip I would have taken advantage of the short ferry trips to Morocco. Munson would have had to stay back in Medina-Sidonia with Peter, but it would have been a tremendous opportunity to sniff out Burroughs’ Interzone up close.
While the civil guard were getting into sync, we wandered off to the walkway to the Isla de Las Palomas. On one side of the walkway lies the Mediterranean Sea, and on the other, the Atlantic Ocean where we could see many kiteboarders off the long beach running northwest.
After Munson and Gustav had dipped their toes in to the Mediterranean, we went back to the old town for lunch at Cafe Babel, and listened to a rather good guitarist busking in the street. Gustav bought some cheap sandals, having discovered that thongs are not optimal for walking up and down steep cobbled streets.