5.25.07 Ferry Station Málaga, Spain
My Gibraltar connection fell through in a nasty way. I got out there to the big rock yesterday with a whole busload of antsy young backpackers, all of them intent on getting a lift across the strait to Morocco so they could get royally stoned. They were surprised that I did not share their enthusiasm for the hash prospects, but then again, they may have figured me for a narc in my khaki-and-blazer getup. In any event, the number "Easy" Esa from the Vegas MGM had given me did indeed turn out to be a boatyard, so I went down there and told Esa’s cousin what I wanted. Dave (where do they get these un-exotic names? Whatever happened to Sallah?) assured me he had a boat available for the day if I wanted to go fishing. I told him--wink, wink--that I was going after the big fish over to the East, you know? The big ones off the coast of Lebanon? Dave thought that was hilarious and slapped me on the back a few times, which I took as a sign that he was hip to my caper.
Now, I may be dumb, but I ain’t completely stupid. I didn’t REALLY want to go ashore in Beirut and get my ass blown up by a RPG--especially since the case of bargaining Scotch never came through last week. But I did want to get close enough to the action to say that I was in the vicinity of the shit when it went down, like if Danny Rather had been holed up in Bangkok during ‘Nam or something. But since Dave acknowledged Esa and Esa said Dave was the man, I figured we might actually get somewhere. So I jumped on board the trawler with a gross of Snickers, two gallons of purified water and a case of warm San Miguel Lager.
Well, long story short, we never got out of sight of the port and when I suggested again to Dave that we might want to be heading in a more easterly direction, he laughed again and handed me a fishing pole.
Seeing the disappointment on my face (tinged with the creeping green tint of seasickness), Dave asked if what I meant was that I wanted something for my head, like some "Moroccan aspirin." What a shitty excuse for a pirate. Two hours, four vomits, and a weird-looking flounder thing on the end of my line later, I begged the captain of the USS Free Fire Zone to take me back to the dock, where I proceeded to throw up one more time and then take a nap inside Dave’s bait shop. By the time I felt capable of getting back on the bus with a group of blissed-out Econ majors from Georgetown returned from Morocco, it was almost dark. Dave was kind enough to refuse my offer of payment, so puzzled was he by my strange request--Beirut? By boat? I left him my candy bars and the beer as a sign of good will. I’m sure his cousin in Vegas will be getting a call in the very near future.
I’ve had enough of boats for the moment, so I’m going to go by land back to Barcelona and then try to hook up with an old college professor of mine who has retired out on the island of Mallorca. Maybe he’ll have some better ideas about to how to get to Beirut. He did, after all, work at the LA Times.
I’ll talk to you in a couple days when my head stops sloshing around.
Tony Perez-Giese, cutting bait