Elevator music for boats is playing on the Tarifa to Tangier ferry. I didn’t know this genre existed until now and if it were playing on my last watery trip from Devonport to Melbourne then I don’t recall.
I’m over-warm in my thermals but less to carry means I’m content to perspire away. I take in a distant, hazy vision of Tangier and ache for the 3-D version.
Aboard the ferry this pulled-together crew: Dean from Vancouver, Robbie from Scotland, Andy and I in front of them, Chris and Grant just behind us, Chompy and Caly next to Stabby.
Robbie borrows my pen to fill in paperwork for the customs officers and within minutes the pen is missing. Travel pens. Now that I’m home there are 42 in my desk drawer but while travelling, all pens disappear into a quantum warp field.
Waves send us rocking and lurching about as I surf down the aisle toward the ferry toilet, obeying the internal nanna-logue that implores: ‘Go! You never know when you’ll next get the chance’.
Back to my seat, I fondle the leather of my freshly-polished boots and twiddle my laces, a tactile meditation.
Dean, handsome rugged type and worldly too, hands me this address with a been-there-before nod: CHECAUEN. Hotel Salema. Hotel Rif. At the foot of the mountains, southeast of Ceuta and Tetuan.
By 6pm I am with the crew on a train bound for Fez. With a maroon and gold kaftan-thing and with a carpet reminiscent of Peter Hack’s house in Brisbane but without that pen.