Saturday, 11 April 2009

Day Ten - On the Road Around Andalucia

I heard that Tarifa has the highest suicicide rate in Europe - because of the strong wind apparently. It is hard to believe that the wind cancels out all the sunshine and relaxation but I guess it´s different if you live here all the time. I found it quite charming to see all the sails of the kite surfers in the sky. As a child I didn´t have a great deal of success with kites, except in landing them.

This morning I met a guy from the fellowship who had taken the trouble to drive to meet me as we had missed each other on the previousWednesday. It turns out we had quite a lot in common, including both being musicians, although he a far more experienced and recorded one than I, both having had a similar religious background, both having lived for quite a long time in the depths of south London and both being English language teachers. This is something of a conincidence, no? We chatted for a couple of hours and raised a house of very reasonable ideas that you could live if you put them into practice. He, let´s call him Ruperto, seemed very much the kind of man who does put them into practice too. He is a bit older than me and, in so being, indicated some kind of direction in which I might seek to travel; all those similarities describing the potential for grace and maturity I might aim for as I travel on.

In the afternoon I flew some more mental kites and kept a few in the air for quite a long time - much longer than I would have been able to a few years ago. Time passed pleasantly on the beach, ducking the wind in the hollow of the dunes, and being washed in waves by a hestitating but warm sun. Here, some old frozen pieces of the English winter got noticed in their little hidey holes and were compelled to make for the door, they being no match for the light.
He, Ruperto, put me in touch with a lady who was driving to an English meeting someway passed Gibraltar. She, let´s call her Angelica, agreed to pick me up from Tarifa and took me through the stunning hills and coast of Andalucia, through some of the white towns and villages to the meeting. She told me that Gibraltar has something of a twin on the other side of the straight - another huge great rock on the Morrocan coast - and that these two together formed what was known as the pillars of Herculas. They are both located at what is effectively the gateway to the Meditteranean. Apparently, Tarifa gets its name from the port at which you had to dock to pay your ´tarif´to enter safely past the pillars into the Med proper. It is quite a sight to see them there and makes you realise how long there has been a civilisation around the Med. Angelica was a bit of an angel, it´s true, offering true hospitality and the hand of the fellowship to a perfect stranger; and we parted friends.

Just enough time then to sit and watch the birds fly as the sun goes down back in Tarifa before moving on Grenada tomorrow. I´ll be sorry to leave though. The wind is strong round here - strong enough and warm enough, and with grit from the Sahara, to blow the cobwebs of the English winter clean away. I´d like to pack the birds and take them with me. Hey, why don´t we have flat roofs in the UK?

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